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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

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.…

The City of Ember

by Jeanne DuPrau

Overall Book Review:

The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPray is a post-apocalypse book which some may recognize from the film of a similar name. At the risk of sounding cliché, the book was better than the movie. Readers will instantly be drawn into the intriguing and well-depicted world known as the City of Ember. It is a city that is familiar yet different. A place where pineapple is a distant memory, and colored pencils are bought individually at high prices. And there are problems in the city; problems that no one seems to acknowledge. With the help of a mysterious, partially destroyed letter Lina Mayfleet and Doon Harrow may be the city’s only hope. DuPray does a nice job of making Lina and Doon rich characters with personal struggles of their own, even as they struggle to find out what the letter says. The book is written for younger ages so the mystery unfolds quickly, and in a captivating way. It also addresses a variety of topics without feeling disjointed.

While being the first in a series of four books, this book can be read as a stand-alone novel. The setting for this book is unique and captivating, making it great for hesitant young readers and adults as well.

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  None

Violence/Gore:  Character gets angry, no physical harm to self or others; death of family members by natural causes with three brief reports and one lasting about three pages; three instances of characters in complete darkness with resulting fear; extended scene of characters hiding from, being chased and apprehended by police figures, no physical harm, about 16 pages; two crowd situations escalate into mob-like mentality, brief with no physical harm; dangerous travel scene with no physical harm, about 6 pages.

Sex/Nudity Rating:  None

Mature Subject Matter:

Death of family members, aging of loved one, greed, government conspiracy, deprivation, fear of darkness, pride.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

Medicine mentioned.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

Please note that reviews dated prior to February 1, 2012 came from and had a more informal content review process. Those reviews have been added to our database because they have a lot of great content information, but their format will look different and there may be wider variation in those reviews.