The City of Ember – Jeanne DuPrau

The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrauThe City of Ember – Jeanne DuPrau – 5 Stars

Blurb: Many hundreds of years ago, the city of Ember was created by the Builders to contain everything needed for human survival. It worked – but now the storerooms are almost out of food, crops are blighted, corruption is spreading through the city and worst of all – the lights are failing.

Soon Ember could be engulfed by darkness-But when two children, Lina and Doon, discover fragments of an ancient parchment, they begin to wonder if there could be a way out of Ember. 

Can they decipher the words from long ago and find a new future for everyone? Will the people of Ember listen to them?

I watched the film adaption of this book for the first time a few years ago and I really enjoyed it. I had a vague memory of having read the book, or a story like it before, so I really wanted to read it again. I was shocked to see that there were four books in the series!I enjoyed reading this book. I would class it as a Young Adult book but it’s towards the younger end of YA. Not only is the font size quite large in the paperback copy that I have, the language leans towards a younger audience too, but still, I enjoyed it.

Now that I look back, I can see that not a lot actually happens, but that never stopped me from wanting to read on. I think the slowness needed to be there to fully explain the danger that Ember was in and for me as the reader to empathise with the characters more.

I like Lina. She has taken on the role of carer to her grandmother and mother figure to her little sister, Poppy. For a girl of such a young age, she shows a lot of maturity. I’m not so sure about Doon yet. He seems to be quite a troubled child, but there is no reason for it.

A few things that I wasn’t so sure of – why would 12 year old kids be working? I get that Ember is only a small community so everyone needs to pull their weight, but wouldn’t it have benefited everyone more to have better educated workers?

Also, as I said earlier, Lina is Poppy’s mother figure, but she’s more than happy to leave her behind in a dying city. In the end, she makes the choice to take Poppy with her, but that should have been the decision she made in the first place, not as a last resort because she felt guilty.

A lot was said about the dark space beyond Ember, but nothing really came of it. I wonder if that will become more relevant in the future books.

I definitely prefer the book to the film. I think the film went too far with giant bugs and a man-eating mole. Definitely not needed.

Until the next time,
Lauren x

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