book review: the city of ember

I’d known the storyline of Jeanne DuPrau’s The City of Ember from my time working in the children’s department, but I hadn’t read it till now. There’s a lot less to it than I imagined.

Lina and Doon are twelve, so they’re assigned jobs in their underground city called Ember, which is all the world anyone knows exists. Lina gets to be a messenger and Doon is working in the Pipeworks. The thing is that the city is undergoing a crisis: they’re running out of supplies and things are breaking down more and more. Doon wants to save the city by figuring out how to fix the generator. Lina keeps dreaming of another city out beyond the darkness. The story follows these two kids dealing with the growing crisis that no one else seems to be handling.

It’s a simple story with much less urgency than you would think. There’s a chewed up message the kids are trying to interpret so they can be the saviours of everyone, but it’s more difficult than they’d first thought. There’s a none-too-subtle environmental message to the story, and kids rebelling against terrible authority, which is always fun. Good book with an easy straight-forward storyline. There are (necessary) sequels.

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