- Age Range: 8 - 12 years
- Grade Level: 3 - 7
- Lexile Measure: 0680 (What's this?)
- Series: Ember
- Paperback: 144 pages
- Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780375867934
- ISBN-13: 978-0375867934
- ASIN: 0375867937
- Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.5 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1,527 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,244 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The City of Ember Paperback – September 25, 2012
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Starred Review, School Library Journal, November 2012:
“Lina and Doon have spent their entire lives surrounded by darkness. Lina is an optimist and a dreamer who just knows there is something beyond the city of her birth. Doon is much more practical. He knows that if he can just get a good look underground, he can fix the city's constant blackout problem. A chance encounter on Assignment Day allows the two children to meet and exchange jobs, essentially giving the other what they've always wanted. They start to unearth an evil plot by the city's obese and greedy mayor to steal away precious resources from the people who live there. Using clues left behind by Lina's late grandmother, they travel beneath Ember's tunnels in a desperate attempt to find a way out. Based on DuPrau's novel (Random, 2003), the story brings the city of Ember to life using many muted yellows and earth tones. While the interior vantage points from Lina's and Doon's perspectives make Ember's public buildings and homes seem large, advanced exterior shots surrounded entirely in black give readers a sense of just how isolated Ember is. Lina's wonder and Doon's frustration are easily visible through Asker's skill in detailing facial expressions, helping to visually elevate a story literally besieged by shadows. Dystopian stories can be dark, and this one is literally so, but its ultimately hopeful message will resonate.”
Booklist, October 15, 2012:
"The city of Ember, the only light in a vast world of darkness, is dying and two young teens might be the only ones who can find the way out of their darkening town--if they can escape the machinations of a corrupt mayor. DuPrau's well-received dystopian and postapocalyptic middle-grade novel is ably adapted into graphic-novel form by Middaugh and Asker. The result is a streamlined work that moves quickly while retaining the heart of the original story. Readers new and old will appreciate the muted colors of Asker's artwork, which clearly shows the dinginess of Ember and the generic quality of people who have bred past specific races."
Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2012:
"Effective use of light and shadow in the art give this graphic adaptation of the 2003 novel a properly spooky look. The tale is told in a visual, cinematic way with an admixture of quick reaction shots and wordless action sequences that allow readers to race along almost as fast as they can turn the pages. Asker's penumbral scenes underground and broad, grassy Eden above are strongly atmospheric and depict both settings and the clearly delineated cast (particularly the grossly corpulent Mayor) in tellingly crisp detail."
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
JEANNE DUPRAU is the New York Times bestselling author of the Books of Ember series.
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Read this dramatic and climactic book to find out!
Until their 12th year, the children of the City of Ember go to school. But at the end of that year, they are assigned the jobs they will do for years after, perhaps to the end of their lives. Lina yearns to be a Messenger, running free in the streets, learning the secrets of the city. Doon wants desperately to be an electrician's assistant or a pipeworker, because he dreams of fixing the ancient, failing generators of the city.
When each receives the assignment the other wants, they switch jobs, and begin a conspiracy that will not end until they learn how to save the entire city. Along the way, they solve an ancient puzzle, defeat the greed and subterfuge of the Mayor and his minions, and discover a much wider world than either had ever dreamed existed.
When I read children's literature, I look for more than a tale well told. Juvenile science fiction is not hard to come by, especially today in the age of Harry Potter. But fiction that lauds heroism (particularly the kind of courage which every child will have an opportunity to demonstrate), extolls the value of friendship, and shows when adult precepts and rules are worthwhile, and how to tell when they are not - that is uncommon. (Those qualities form the foundation of the Harry Potter stories, too, and explain the widespread appeal of the boy wizard and his friends.)
The City of Ember has that same appeal. Doon and Lina are courageous; they do things children would do, yet also show judgement, persistence and intelligence. These are kids who love their parents, and still see that they must take extraordinary steps outside the regimented life they have led. In the end, they do save their city, and if they do not battle great evil, they do encounter and overcome the kind of petty nastiness that is far more common in the world.
On Kindle, the book loses none of its original charm, with the possible exception of the maps and notes. Where these extend across the page, they are difficult to enjoy, even in Zoom mode.
The book works best in tandem with its sequel, The People of Sparks: The Second Book of Ember (Books of Ember). Together, they are an interesting story - even for an adult. I recommend it highly for boys and girls who want something better than comic-book heroes and video-game battles, and for readers who are no longer children, but still yearn toward the hero we can each become.
The plot takes place underground. Readers discover that a city was built within mother earth's womb, beneath the outer surface of our planet. It was built by “builders.” The builders are central to the premise of creation. It was the builders who constructed Ember City. They did this to protect members of mankind after some kind of catastrophe took place. Catastrophe required mankind to have shelter.
The book includes three principal characters. There is the shy LIna, the child Poppy and the explorative boy Doon. These three individuals are the principal individuals in a community of people in a science fiction city that oscillates around dark and light.
A grandmother provides an education about compassion as readers learn about memory loss within a cherished family. Doon’s father gives his son knowledge about being inquisitive. These positive traits exemplify positive family potential.
There is nearly nonstop mystery. The mystery is correlated with adventure. This is a book which not merely stimulates reading skills in children, it also elicits excitement, in both adult and youthful readerships. Ember City is a positive type of tool that can be passed on from one family member to the next. It teaches about responsibilities, concern for others and the value of exploration. it’s about how to bring light into darkness.
In addition to sections containing moral values and hope, there are aspects about to the vile of evil. This book is not only a teacher, it can kindle a love for reading. It’s a win-win item.
The reader is exposed to children. These kids are in the age bracket of 12. That’s when they are faced with something like a graduation; jobs are being handed down with titles. The reader learns that they will labor at their job classification until old age. Lina and Doon switch job classifications. The girl becomes an messenger. This enables her to extract more news and information than otherwise would be possible. The boy gets to work fixing piping that runs throughout the underground city. The boy is able to explore various underground tunnels and search for salvation.
It is here where readers are also introduced to the mayor of Ember City and his disciples (or cohorts). At first one simply thinks they are typical politicians. Later, it is discovered they hoard and steal precious food. This is completely immoral because the city’s food supply is being reduced. In the meantime, the rest of the citizens are facing the calamity of reductions. The reader is witnessing a potential future society, or at least the give-and-takes within community.
Further, the generator that produces lighting for society is starting to malfunction. As a result, there is a reduction of lighting. Citizens of that unique underground settlement are sporadically left in the dark. It makes a person wonder what can be done. This can also make readers appreciate all of our electrical benefits. Also, it is here that the reader ponders about solving the problem of simple meals.
Moreover, Ember City provides food for thought about what to do when you are left in the dark. You’ll have to read the book to discover the trail of tunnels that lead to the ending. However, can you possibly imagine not knowing that there’s a sun that provides light?
This book demonstrates how people can be afraid, brave and also extraordinarily curious. It provides food for thought about the circumstances of choosing job professions, changing environment and society. In a way Ember City is more than an exciting book that can rekindle a love of reading; it not only provides entertainment and is a fun read, it has popular ratings by both adults and children. It can be a cement for family togetherness, understandings and open communique.