|The City of Ember, book 1, |
by Jeanne DuPrau and Chris Reily
Written by Jeanne DuPrau
Cover by Chis Reily
Random House Books For Young Readers, 2003
Ages 8-12, Lexile 680L
60,000 words, 288 pp
The prologue begins
"When the city of Ember was just built and not yet inhabited, the chief builder and the assistant builder, both of them weary, sat down to speak of the future."
Chapter 1 begins
"In the city of Ember, the sky was always dark. The only light came from great flood lamps mounted on the buildings and at the tops of poles in the middle of the larger squares. When the lights were on, they cast a yellowish glow over the streets; people walking by threw long shadows that shortened and then stretched out again. When the lights were off, as they were between nine at night and six in the morning, the city was so dark that people might as well have been wearing blindfolds.
"Sometimes darkness fell in the middle of the day. The city of Ember was old, and everything in it, including the power lines, was in need of repair."
Let's be frank. I hate prologues. I think this one was decent and mercifully short, but probably unnecessary. OK. Enough about that.
I adore this book. From the time it first appeared on the bookshelves I knew I had to read it. It just emanated that certain something. And The City of Ember does not disappoint.
Though not a fan of dystopian world-building, this novel had all the cool elements: a unique setting, immediate stakes, interesting characters, underdogs, solid voice. I love the main character (s) and their families. I love the element of mystery, of puzzling out the clues to save the world. And I really didn't know how this story would finish. I hoped for a happy ending, but it often seemed out of reach.
At the risk of sounding cranky and negative, I wish I had stopped this series at book one. My absolute love for this book is nearly crushed by the succeeding novels. I'd love to hear your opinion on this.
1. I found this interview with the author rather sweet, available on the Secret Files of Fairday Morrow.
2. Looking for more dystopian books for middle graders? Other MMGM bloggers recommend Margaret Peterson Haddix's many books, like Children of Exile, Sabotaged, Among the Imposters, and Found.
Or sample one of the MG adventures below.
|Bot Wars, by J. V. Kade|
illustrated by Steve Stankiwewicz,
Heise Reads & Recommends.
|The Age of Miracles, |
by Karen Thompson Walker
Reviewed by Writer's Alley
The Artic Code,
by Matthew J. Kirby,
cover art by Paul Sullivan,
reviewed by Reading Nook Reviews.
by Lana Krumweide,
cover by Maryellen Hanley
reviewed by Lucky 13s
Check out the Summer Drive-In review of the City of Ember movie, from July 14, 2017.
View all the Summer Drive-In reviews for 2017.
Visit all the recommended titles for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday for July 17, 2017 available on Shannon Messenger's Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe.
Feel free to leave your MG recommendations in the comments. Thanks!