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The City of Ember: The First Book of Ember (Books of Ember) [Kindle Edition]

Jeanne Duprau
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (856 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $6.99
Kindle Price: $4.01
You Save: $2.98 (43%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

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.


Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

It is always night in the city of Ember. But there is no moon, no stars. The only light during the regular twelve hours of "day" comes from floodlamps that cast a yellowish glow over the streets of the city. Beyond are the pitch-black Unknown Regions, which no one has ever explored because an understanding of fire and electricity has been lost, and with it the idea of a Moveable Light. "Besides," they tell each other, "there is nowhere but here" Among the many other things the people of Ember have forgotten is their past and a direction for their future. For 250 years they have lived pleasantly, because there has been plenty of everything in the vast storerooms. But now there are more and more empty shelves--and more and more times when the lights flicker and go out, leaving them in terrifying blackness for long minutes. What will happen when the generator finally fails?

Twelve-year-old Doon Harrow and Lina Mayfleet seem to be the only people who are worried. They have just been assigned their life jobs--Lina as a messenger, which leads her to knowledge of some unsettling secrets, and Doon as a Pipeworker, repairing the plumbing in the tunnels under the city where a river roars through the darkness. But when Lina finds a very old paper with enigmatic "Instructions for Egress," they use the advantages of their jobs to begin to puzzle out the frightening and dangerous way to the city of light of which Lina has dreamed. As they set out on their mission, the haunting setting and breathless action of this stunning first novel will have teens clamoring for a sequel. (Ages 10 to 14) --Patty Campbell

From Booklist

Gr. 5-7. Ember, a 241-year-old, ruined domed city surrounded by a dark unknown, was built to ensure that humans would continue to exist on Earth, and the instructions for getting out have been lost and forgotten. On Assignment Day, 12-year-olds leave school and receive their lifetime job assignments. Lina Mayfleet becomes a messenger, and her friend Doon Harrow ends up in the Pipeworks beneath the city, where the failing electric generator has been ineffectually patched together. Both Lina and Doon are convinced that their survival means finding a way out of the city, and after Lina discovers pieces of the instructions, she and Doon work together to interpret the fragmented document. Life in this postholocaust city is well limned--the frequent blackouts, the food shortage, the public panic, the search for answers, and the actions of the powerful, who are taking selfish advantage of the situation. Readers will relate to Lina and Doon's resourcefulness and courage in the face of ominous odds. Sally Estes
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
181 of 196 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ingenious invention August 18, 2004
Format:Paperback
Plot descriptions have already been done, so I'll offer my commentary.

The (barely) three page prologue sets a splendid dramatic tension for the story. We know that something is afoot, that there is more to Ember than Ember, and that empowers us, to a certain extent - like when you're watching a movie and you know something that the characters don't.

We see the development of this through the eyes of two twelve year olds, both very different children. Doon has a temper and is rather sullen, and Lina is a bundle of hope and joy. But their depth goes beyond that. These are three-dimensional characters, a rarity in children's books.

Also rare is the sturdy, clear writing. It never felt rushed, always felt poised. The only thing that wasn't handled with perfection was humor. I should have laughed when Doon threw a shoe heel and it hit his father in the ear, but I didn't. But that's OK. Eoin Colfer can be funny, and Ms. DuPrau can simply be a better writer.

I found a few plot points strained: 1) Lina being the great-great-great whatever of one of the mayor's mentioned in the prologue; 2) Her own grandmother's mad search for something that now, in her dotage, she remembers is of the utmost importance; and 3) Poppy getting her hands on the thing that is important and rendering it nearly indecipherable.

But those are minor points. They exist to move the story from one point to another, and the story isn't really about the discovery of the Instructions for Egress, it's about the city of Ember itself, how its inhabitants have adjusted to living in a city where there is no light after nine (because the only light the city has is electricity and it knows nothing of the Sun), deciphering the Instructions for Egress, and the action of egress itself.
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84 of 93 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not since Oz has a city been more intriguing September 11, 2003
Format:Hardcover
The city of Ember is in trouble, but the complacent citizens seem to ignore the food shortages and frequent blackouts. The Builders, when they created the city some 241 years ago, made provisions for its citizens in the form of a note called "The Instructions." Unfortunately, The Instructions were not handed down through the generations as they were supposed to be, and suddenly 12-year old Lina, a city Messenger, has discovered them. After trying to tell her friends and even the Mayor about the discovery of the partially destroyed Instructions, Lina turns to a one-time school friend, Doon, a worker in the underground Pipeworks, whom she believes will understand their importance. But what can two children do with such important information, and who would even believe them?
The City of Ember is a clever novel which tells the unique story of two unintentional heroes who fight the status quo in order to bring hope to their city. The descriptions of the world of Ember are fascinating, leaving the reader to appreciate the incredible imagination of first-time novelist Jeanne DuPrau. The narrator thoughtfully informs us of the setting-the unusual and self-contained world of Ember-slowly throughout the novel, and not all at once in the first chapter. It's only in chapter 8 that we even realize that there are no animals in Ember and the words "heaven" and "boat" have no known meaning. The characters are outstandingly original yet touchingly familiar in their pre-pubescent views of the adult world. The deaths of Lina's parents and then custodial grandmother create a sympathy for her that causes us to, all the more, wish for her triumph.
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely breathtaking... March 5, 2004
Format:Hardcover
I read this book straight through in one sitting, because I simply couldn't put it down. It was quite simply one of the most beautiful stories I've ever read - I place it in the ranks of Pullman's His Dark Materials.
Its deceptively simple writing style builds a vivid world around you as you read, and hurtles you headlong into the story - and promptly embeds the characters inextricably in your heart. The main character, Lina, is as beguiling as they come - spirited, determined, and far, far too nosy. Her friend Doon is adorably scowly and moody, her grandmother delightfully batty, and the mayor of the town so vividly painted that by the time he'd finished his third sentence he stood fully formed in my mind. Although characters aren't this book's only strength...
The plot played out almost like a song, lyrical and swaying, full of the stuff of life. I was filled with humor, curiosity, terror and joy in rapid succession, only to start the cycle again at the next turn of the page - and by the end of the book I must confess I was a bit misty eyed. And, without spoiling anything, I'll say that the last couple of paragraphs filled me with bubbling anticipation, and now I think I'll explode if I don't find out what happens soon!
Come on, Duprau, give us the next book!
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great read for kids and adults December 8, 2003
By .
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I just finished City of Ember and I was amazed at how good it was. I've been reading science fiction and fantasy my whole life and was still very impressed with this good read. I picked this up because of the appealing cover design as a gift for my nephew. I thought I'd read a little to see if it was interesting. I read half the book that night and the rest the next day. If you like Harry Potter or John Christopher's Tripods series you will definetely like City of Ember. The book moves along very quickly and smoothly with engaging characters. The solutions that the characters find to the (clever plot device) shreddded instruction sheet puzzle keeps you turning back to page 94 to check and double check your own guesses. Although this is the first book in a series(?)it has enough closure at the end that you feel fulfilled and don't feel cheated. I'm looking forward to the sequel to this very satisfying read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow
Absolutely fantastic! I love the detail, and the characters. If you're looking for an awesome book to dig into and read every night, this book is for you! Read more
Published 2 days ago by tom decker
4.0 out of 5 stars A quick read
Great young adult book for grades 4-6, it has 2 heros like the hunger games. Makes u want to read the second book
Published 3 days ago by Judy Van Nostrand
4.0 out of 5 stars Great adventure for kids of all ages
I can't wait till my granddaughter reads this story. Filled with wisdom and suspense to be enjoyed by children of all ages. A great and fun read.
Published 5 days ago by Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars The city of ember
Amazing book is a winner. Can read it another time to. You should read it to yours truly princess Luna
Published 9 days ago by Cortland haresnape
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
This book is one of my absolute favorite books ever. You should at least give it a try. I think you will be amazed.
Published 11 days ago by AnimalKid
5.0 out of 5 stars Great!
At the very end, it is so exciting. You'll want to pick up and read the 2nd book right away...
Published 13 days ago by Andy Z.
3.0 out of 5 stars Meh.
Conceptually I was really interested in the book's story, and while I knew it was written for younger readers, I still hoped that the post-apocalypse theme would pull me in. Read more
Published 15 days ago by JustSharKey
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this book
One of the best books I ever read! I Had a great time reading it! I loved this book I recommend it
Published 16 days ago by Jan
5.0 out of 5 stars great!
My students love this book! Thank you for putting it onto the Kindle app, they can all have access to it now
Published 16 days ago by Mrs. George's Class
4.0 out of 5 stars Bookworm Speaks! City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau
Post Apocolyptia is certainly a fruitful area of literature, especially in the going into the second decade of the 21’st century. Read more
Published 17 days ago by El-Jorro
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More About the Author

Jeanne DuPrau is the author of The New York Timesbestseller The City of Ember and its companion The People of Sparks. She lives in Menlo Park, California, and drives a hybrid car that runs on a combination of gas and electricity.



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Recommendations for my 13 year old daughter. She loved Hunger Games,...
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Mar 1, 2010 by Hoblet |  See all 7 posts
recommendations for my 11 year old daughter -- she likes the Clique Books
Hi Nancy,

I was browsing around and found your post. My book, "Portia's Ultra Mysterious Double Life" might interest your daughter. It's targeted for her age group and I thought she might like it.

Thanks!

Anna Hays
Oct 28, 2008 by Anna Hays |  See all 5 posts
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