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The City of Ember was written by Jeanne DuPrau and published in 2003.
Lina Mayfleet desperately wants to be a messenger. Messengers spend their days outside, running from one corner of the city to the other. Instead, she draws the dreaded job of Pipeworks laborer, which means she'll be stuck in tunnels deep underground. Doon Harrow draws messenger - and wants to trade with Lina! Doon wants to be underground. That's where the generator is, and Doon has ideas about how to fix it. For as long as anyone can remember, the great lights of Ember have kept the endless darkness that surrounds the city at bay. But now the lights are starting to flicker... When Lina finds fragments of an ancient parchment, she and Doon put the pieces together to discover a message that seems to be directions out of the city. Is there something beyond the endless darkness? It will take all of Lina and Doon's bravery and ingenuity to find out - before the lights go out on Ember forever!
Plot Summary Edit
This story takes place in the dark city of Ember, a decaying place with no natural light surrounded by the vast Unknown. Although ancestors had arranged for information on leaving Ember to be made available after the inhabitants have spent 200 years there, a corrupt mayor lost the information many years ago. Two hundred and forty-one years later, Ember's electrical lighting frequently fails, supplies are dwindling, and the populace is growing increasingly frightened. Twelve-year-old Doon and his acquaintance Lina are intent on finding a way to save Ember. After Lina finds a mysterious and fragmented paper titled "Instructions for Egress," they think they have a way out. Can they escape from the villainous mayor and his soldiers? Can they figure out the missing letters and words in the message? Do they find their way out of Ember and up to a post-apocalyptic Earth?
Main Characters Edit
- Lina Mayfleet - A 12-year-old girl who finds a secret document in her apartment that might save her dying city.
- Doon Harrow - A 12-year-old boy who knows that the city is dying and desperately wants to help save it.
- The Mayor - The leader of Ember, who doesn't seem to think there is anything wrong in the city.
- Lizzie Bisco - Lina's best friend, who is hiding a big secret.
- Granny - Lina's elderly grandmother who lives with Lina.
- Poppy - Lina's little sister who discovers and chews on the secret message before Lina can see it.
Memorable Quotes Edit
"So the first Mayor of Ember was given the box, told to guard it carefully, and solemnly sworn to secrecy. When she grew old, and her time as mayor was up, she explained about the box to her successor, who also kept the secret carefully, as did the next mayor. Thinks gent as planned for many years. But the seventh mayor of Ember was less honorable..." pg. 2
"In the city of Ember, the sky was always dark. The only light came from great floodlamps mounted on the buildings and at the top of poles in the middle of the larger squares...." pg. 4
Teacher Evaluation Edit
I bought this book originally because the back of the book caught my eye, but once I started reading, I could not put it down. This book seemed very similar to The Giver in some respects, but was very mysterious as to why the world was dark and so on. I was drawn into the characters and their quest to help their city very quickly and each chapter seemed to end with suspense that kept me wanting to read. I think that if you really enjoyed The Giver but want something a little lighter in content, you would really enjoy this book. It has a great message and keeps the reader reading all the way up to the end.
Additional Information Edit
A movie of The City of Ember is being developed and will come out in October of 2008. There are also two sequels to this book, called The People of Sparks, which takes place right after this book, and The Prophet of Yonwood, which takes place long before The City of Ember. A third sequel is also in the works, and will come out in August of 2008.