Book Review: The City Of Ember (The Ember Series #1) by Jeanne DuPrau

The city of Ember was built as a last refuge for the human race. Two hundred years later, the great lamps that light the city are beginning to flicker. When Lina finds part of an ancient message, she’s sure it holds a secret that will save the city. She and her friend Doon must decipher the message before the lights go out on Ember forever! This stunning debut novel offers refreshingly clear writing and fascinating, original characters.

While this is more of a middle grade book, it is enjoyable.  It's a sweet little story about two kids saving their city from the big bad bureaucrats.  Have we read something like this before?  Yes, but The City of Ember puts a little different spin on the popular theme, though, what with the city being underground.  It is basically like a huge bomb shelter, and it reminds me of that Brendan Fraser movie Blast From the Past a little.  This is the first in a series. My library doesn't have the other books, so I probably won't be buying them, but if I could read them for free, I would.

Just One Gripe:
The darkness described in this book made me want to upgrade my light bulbs to brighter wattage.

The Best Thing About This Book:
It was a fast read with some cute characters.

Appropriate for a younger audience:
Yes---probably ages 8 and up.

As this is more of a children's book, I am scoring it against other children's books. A five star children's book is not equivalent to a five star adult book, in my opinion.

Characters:  3/5
Plot:  3/5
Setting/Imagery:  4/5
Originality:  3/5
Ending:  4/5
Total Score:  17/25

The City of Ember was a 2 star book for me personally, but I am rating it against other children's lit and it deserves 3.5 stars for that genre.

Also Recommended:


  1. I actually want to read City of Ember. I've been reading Incarceron and won Inside Out. And I'm really getting into these stories where people live in some place and want to get out. It's a new obsession I guess. =D

    Which is weird because I randomly started watch The Island at a friends house. Reminds me of Incarceron with the prison building people and such and them wanting to escape. It was an odd yet good movie. Didn't see the endign though. =/ xD

  2. I enjoyed City of Ember, but I thought Incarceron was better. City of Ember is more of a kids book, I think. It was good, though. There are more in the series but I haven't read any others (my library didn't have them and they weren't shelf-worthy to me).
    New obsessions are great...that is what makes reading so fun for me.
    How is Inside Out?
    Wasn't The Island a recent movie? I haven't seen it yet, obviously. :)

  3. I teach City of Ember to my students. They love it, but they are also 6th graders! We do a lot of code working with this novel which heightens the suspense for them and do a lot of reading by flashlight to simulate being underground/blackouts, etc. I would agree it is more suited for a younger audience, but still enjoyable.


Word verification stinks--- but spammers are worse. Thank you for your patience!