Review: City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau






Title: City of Ember (Book of Ember #1)
Author: Jeanne DuPrau
Pub Deets: Random House 2003
Source: Purchased on the Kindle
Challenge: TBR Challenge



Amazon | Goodreads | Author Blog






In a sentence or so: Lina and Doon both know there's more to life outside their failing city with constant power outages and dangerously low supplies. Will they be able to decipher the map and keep away from the corrupt mayor to bring their people to a new life?

Lina wants nothing more than to be a messenger. At 12, she loves feeling important and running and being part of the central nervous system of the city. She's adventurous, brave, and fiercely loyal to her baby sister Poppy.

Doon wants to do something to help fix Ember. He knows the power outages are going to get worse unless someone finds a solution, and he thinks that just maybe he can be part of that solution. When Lina approaches him with instructions that are partially decayed and partially eaten by her sister Poppy, Doon knows this is his big chance. With Lina, they will find hope for Ember.

This book reminded me of why I adore middle grade so very much. The characters are straight forward, but not simple. The plot is direct, but mysterious and exciting. There's a great pace that keeps your attention while developing a greater world and characters and all the exciting stuff you hope for in a book.

There's corruption with the Mayor. There's mystery as to where the instructions will lead them. There's hope in Lina and Doon and their companionship together. There's also very interesting social commentary that's sprinkled in that as an adult reader, I absolutely adored. Lina and Doon want to do the right thing and it takes getting busted before they realize that not everyone WANTS to do the right thing. Such is life, no?

I'm excited to continue moving forward with this series. City of Ember flows so well that it seemed to fly by. Nothing felt rushed or unexplained, mind you, just had that awesome pace that I adore in middle grade books. If you're looking for a middle grade dystopian series with two main characters that are inspiring and a world that has depth and intrigue, give this book a try! And then let's talk about it because it's awesome.

Fave quote: "Lina felt as though a lid that had been on her all her life had been lifted off." (pg 256 Kindle)

Pairs well with: Reading in the dark! I read this on my Kindle Paperwhite and it was the BEST because Ember is dark and I could read in the dark and so you know. It was awesome.

Fix er up: I mean, part of me gets a little too cynical with this and is wondering why NO ONE ELSE thought to look for a different way of life. But maybe that's the social commentary in a nutshell? That we get complacent and there we are.

Lisa is a gamer, crafter, fangirl, mother, wife and unabashed nerd who is pretty ridiculous and it's best you know that up front. When she's not binge watching Netflix or crafting into the wee hours of the night, you can find her spending a lot of her time on Pinterest and Twitter.

15 comments:

  1. Hooray for middle grade books! It's been a while since I've read an MG book, but this one sounds spectacular. I've honestly not heard of this series, but you can be sure I'm checking it out now!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hadn't read a MG in awhile either, so this was an extra awesome surprise!

      Delete
  2. I LOVED this "The characters are straight forward, but not simple. The plot is direct, but mysterious and exciting. There's a great pace that keeps your attention while developing a greater world and characters and all the exciting stuff you hope for in a book."

    This is one of my favorite books for the very reasons you mentioned them! I the books as they were published (City of Ember actually a year after it was published) and I couldn't wait to read more. I always find it interesting how Middle Grade had so many dystopian books but they weren't as popular until The Hunger Games came along.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's so cool that you read them as they were released! I definitely want to continue on with the series and it sounds like that's a good idea!

      Delete
  3. Just DON'T go watch the movie. Even though it's Saoirse Ronan and Bill Murray. Don't do it.

    I was actually pretty disappointed in this one, I still enjoyed it, but not with the enthusiasm that I was hoping for. Perhaps I was just burned out on dystopians at the time--would love to see what you think of the next book since I never continued on with the series!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I've heard the movie sucked. Same with Percy Jackson. Book only for this girl!

      I'll let you know how the rest of the series is!

      Delete
  4. I really need to read this one. I have looked at it for YEARS and never read it. Other people say such great things about this one. YAY!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You'll read this in no time. It's a blast!

      Delete
  5. I think I actually read this back when I was in middle school (looking at the publication date, that is a possibility) and I remember liking it but not loving it. Wonder what my much more versed in YA and MG self would think of it now?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would be interested to know what you think now that you're a YA pro!

      Delete
  6. I think middle grade can be underrated because people think it's skewed too young or too simplistic. I love it because middle grade gets rid of all the unnecessary complexities that plague other genres and all boils down to a quality story and engaging characters. It sounds like this is the case here. I look forward to reading this one!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly! And not all MG is this awesome and but this book is a great reminder of why I adore it so!

      Delete
  7. I can't remember if I got this from a free book program at school or if I got it from a book fair, but the point is I got it. And I loved it. I actually still have my copy. It's all beat up because I let a friend borrow it (who left it in the bottom of her locker for months) but I still have it because I adored it. The sequel was actually the first book I ever put a hold on at the library. What's funny is I can't even remember what the book was about, but I remember the feeling it gave me.
    City of Ember was one of the first dystopian-esque books I'd ever read. Before that it was mostly realistic mysteries and such because...well, I don't really know why. I think I just didn't really know anything else existed. I'm so glad I found City of Ember when I did because it opened up a whole new world of books for me :]

    And thus concludes my weird rambly commenting :P

    P.S. Awesome review, and like Heidi said, the movie did kind of suck.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds like this book holds a special place in your heart! I love that! Ramble anytime. :-)

      Delete
  8. I saw this movie a few years ago and was surprised by how much I liked it. I had forgotten it was a book! I don't read much MG but this one sounds GOOD, so perhaps I'll look into it at some point. Thanks for reviewing it, Lisa!


    Molli | Once Upon a Prologue

    ReplyDelete

Hey you! What do you have to say?