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The City of Ember (Book of Ember #1)

3.84  ·  Rating Details  ·  177,286 Ratings  ·  8,182 Reviews
NOW A MAJOR motion picture starring Bill Murray, Tim Robbins, Martin Landau, Saoirse Ronan, and Harry Treadaway! This tie-in edition of The City of Ember features a movie-art cover and an 8-page photo insert. Jeanne DuPrau’s instant classic tells the story of the great, underground city of Ember, designed as a last refuge for the human race. But when the storerooms run out ...more
Paperback, First Movie Tie-In Edition, 270 pages
Published August 26th 2008 by Yearling (first published May 13th 2003)
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Community Reviews

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Dec 03, 2013 Eric rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The City of Ember is a young adult novel that is a fantastic allegory for spiritual awakening, though I have no idea if it was intended as such. The story is of a girl who lives in an underground and completely self-contained city created by the “Builders.” The population of the city knows of nothing outside the city, in fact, though they speak English many of the words in it like “sky” are not understood in any terms but metaphorically. The problem is that the city is falling apart, the lights ...more
Mar 28, 2010 Jon rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: young fans of distopian novels
Shelves: young-adult
DuPrau makes a typical first-time novelist mistake throughout this book: she doesn’t trust her reader to infer. In other words, she often over-explains, following up dialogue and action sequences with redundant descriptions of a character’s take on what just happened. Another disappointment is that the mystery of Ember unfolds in an entirely predictable manner. There are no great surprises.

DuPrau's characterization of Doon is one dimensional. His spurts of rage create the only complexity in an
Cait Grace
Okay, but excuse me...I THINK MY BOOK WAS MISSING THE FINALE?!?! *collapses screaming* Just so you know, this has a really INTENSE cliffhanger. I have so many questions!! I need book 2 asap!! I really liked this story, I did, but I didn't love it. I had a lot of quibbles? Because I'm a quibbler, okay? And that stops me from bumping it up to a higher rating but I still rather loved it. I also adore the movie and have a sever crush on Lina's shirt. YES. I do. No shame. I love her shirt.
Nov 10, 2008 Christine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(This is for my book report)

"The City of Ember" is all about these two regular kids saving their city. Doon and Lina had never thought of being twelve years old and getting jobs. Lina orriginaly got chosen to work in the sewers as a pipework's laborer,but Doon knew being a messenger wouldn't do anything to help save the city, so he traded with Lina. Luckily, Lina just so happened to be a super fast runner and that's why she thought messenger would be a perfect job for her. Doon wasn't the kind
Sep 21, 2008 Shelly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who love <u>The Giver</u>.
Recommended to Shelly by: Jacob Unsicker
My 12 year old son just knew I would love this book. He's been hounding me to read it since... early last spring. Finally, I have read it and Jacob (my son) was right.

Omigosh. What first hooked me were the vivid character descriptions that show more than tell, so the reader can draw their own conclusions. The story is told in third person, limited in two different perspectives. Lina Mayfleet, twelve years old, sat "winding a strand of her long, dark hair around her finger, winding and unwinding
Dec 01, 2008 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I asked my best friend what kinds of books his children were reading (I'm always looking for books for my niece) and he said his oldest son had read and enjoyed the City of Ember series. So much so that he'd passed them along to his parents, who had read them and found them interesting as well. Add to it a movie coming out and I decided I would give the series a try.

The City of Ember exists inside the darkness, where it's always night. Darkness is held at bay twelve hours a day by artifical ligh
The City of Ember is an engaging children's fiction novel that introduces young readers to courageous characters who take steps to make change happen. The author Jeanne DuPrau writes age-appropriate fantasy/dystopia with mystery, action, adventure, and an exciting cliffhanger that keeps kids interested in the series. My son absolutely LOVES this book! Loves it so much he doesn't want to watch the film adaption for fear of ruining his reading experience (he has learned this lesson early in life L ...more
Sep 10, 2011 Marvin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am sort of a late-comer with Young Adult novels. I blame it on my age. When I was a teenager in the 60s there was no real level between children and adult literature. Teen literature was a bit of a no man's land. I didn't realize there might actually be real literature in YA until I read the Harry Potter series. Since then, I've dabble a bit with the genre and discovered some gems: The Hunger Games series, Gaiman's The Graveyard Book, and Dan Wells' John Wayne Cleaver series. Of course there a ...more
Sep 10, 2008 Alice rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This juvenile allegory reminded me greatly of The Giver. Just as at the start of The Giver, the young people of the community of Ember receive their future work assignments, a device which quickly pulls the young reader into the story. Now almost adults, Lina and Doon are able to view their community with fresh eyes, and discover that the generator, the source of electric power on which the town depends, is soon to be exhausted. This will plunge the city into complete darkness. The children disc ...more
Oct 27, 2008 Megan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Megan by: Shinynickel
I really really love the idea of a post-disaster society of people living underground. And I especially love the idea of reading about that society several generations in, where they no longer remember what daylight is, or why the city they live in is theren- or even where exactly their city is. I like the idea of this society making up their own myths about 'the dark' and having new origin stories and singing songs amid candles lit against the ever-present night. However, all those enchanting p ...more
Angela Delgado
Jun 01, 2011 Angela Delgado rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't realize what the biggest problem with this book was until I had finished it - which, thankfully, only took about an hour from start to finish. The biggest problem is that the entire city, society, economy, and all, feels like it was only created to give the main characters something to do with their time.

It seems impossible to me that a city could exist for 200+ years with no innovations, no improvements, no advancements, nothing. They're all dependent on a dwindling stock of canned goo
Aisyah (≧◡≦) ♡
My first dystopian novel. It has great character-building, interesting story, and also the concept of Ember itself is intriguing. Note; one star off for being slow at times that I find myself struggling to finish it.

Would recommend to people who love a good YA dystopian novel without any insta-love thrown in.
Deborah Markus
Apr 07, 2015 Deborah Markus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A terrific book, simply and beautifully written. I like books that make it clear there is (or could be, or should be) a sequel in the works, but that don't drive the reader out of her mind by not answering any of the questions raised at the very beginning. (I'm sure it's not just YA books that often do this, but they're what I'm reading most lately.) Also, I was glad to see lots and lots of female characters of all ages, interests, and abilities -- and I don't think anyone's "accusing" this of b ...more
Feb 20, 2008 Owen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone age 11-17
I'm currently reading this book, I was at the library and just picked it up not really knowing what it was about. Anyway, as soon as I started reading it I couldn't stop. It's one of those books that you cant put down. Infact I have been late for school a few days because I stay up so late reading it.
It's not a very large book. But the story is incredible!
From what i've read so far it is about a girl who lives in a strange city called Ember, where there is no such thing as the sun. The whole cit
Mrs. Riding
Nov 21, 2008 Mrs. Riding rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, ebook
This was my first book to read on the Kindle. This futuristic story about twelve year olds Doon and Lina was wonderful. I felt just like the guy from Amazon hoped that I would while reading on the Kindle, that I would forget the medium and enjoy the story. Twelve year olds have such a simple world, even when confronted with big issues. When I told my own children how much I enjoyed the story I heard, "Oh, yeah. That's a good book. I read it last year." I wonder why I didn't pick it up then? I've ...more
May 07, 2012 Wesley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had never heard of these books or the film ;). I was told the movie even had a serious amount of commercial PR across the board; guess I was under a rock that year. Either way I enjoyed this book. It set a unique foundation for the books to come; it was really entertaining and enjoyable. Which isn’t that the goal for books?

The film felt jumbled though, as if they took all the chapters of the book and randomized them to the point that no chapter could touch each other on sequence. At the end,
3.5 stars

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!

I suppose The City of Ember would be a good choice for children (9-13 years old) and if I was younger I would appreciate it much more.

My main problem
I enjoyed this book, though it did have some bothersome bits (don’t they all?). It was very predictable, but that didn’t really take away from the enjoyment of the story (except when I got annoyed with the characters for being about 5 steps behind me, but then I’m not the target audience). We are expected to accept some things without questioning, and certain events that should be dealt with on a deeper level are just brushed over. For instance, Lina’s grandmother dies, and she hardly seems to n ...more
Jan 13, 2016 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Been wanting to read this for a long time. I saved the movie in my DVR forever because I prefer to read the book first. Enjoyed it but it ends pretty open so I'll definitely need to continue with the series.
28/12 - I had a whole plan of what I was going to read, and when, going into the new year, but this has thrown a wrench into those plans. I had been looking forward to reading this for months, watching as it moved its way up through my suspended holds list, finally reaching the top yesterday. It wasn't until it became available to 'pick up' after being on hold for about nine months that I realised that the book I had put on hold all those months ago had turned into an eBook without me even being ...more
Jan 31, 2009 Taylor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book! No lights no sun just darkness all the time only the Flood lamps, But ever one of them is beginning to brake and shatter so they have Blackouts atleast once a month. No one seems to be worried about this problem because theres "No where else to go!" oh really? 12 year old Doon and Lina are the only people who seemed to be woriied that onw day there will be no flood lamps left! Will they save the day or just be like everyone else where theres "No where else to go!" I loved this book e ...more

There are some books which, when you read them, hold you in a spell with their unique charm and voice. This was one of those children's books, read at a time in which I devoured everything considered suitable reading. I've never read the sequels however as the way in which this book ended was left open to my imagination and to continue in such a way would ruin the magic of this novel. Recommended out of that nostalgic time known as childhood.
OMG! This book was really gooood!!!

I was reluctant to read another dystopian after the disaster with Divergent, but this book was something I really needed after those 'heavy but 3 stars' books!

This book is about Ember, a city of darkness which is running out of its resources. Lina and Doon find the secret to save the city but no one believes them. So now they have to save themselves and their people before Ember completely drowns into darkness.

The book was really simple about survival and escap
Reading this also brought up so many feelings from childhood. Real review to come eventually.
Apr 04, 2013 Kasey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I wish I could give this book a million stars!!!
Stella  ☢FAYZ☢ Chen
Feb 05, 2012 Stella ☢FAYZ☢ Chen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Dystopian fans
Recommended to Stella by: Ashley&May (Firestarbooks)
My friends have asked me to write a review for this book as it is one of my all-time-favourites.

This was my very first dystopian novel and I fell head over heels for it. This book made me realize I loved this genre, much like when Shannon Hale and Patricia C. Wrede made me realize I loved fantasy novels.

The world of Ember was somewhere I have never seen (read) before. Every thing was like a puzzle and it kept me guessing. Beautiful world building and I cannot express my love for this entire seri
City of Ember is a reminder to me of how much better YA novels are than middle grade. It seriously took me way longer to finish this book than it probably should have. I found the writing to be very repetitive with awful sentence structure. The plot was really predictable and the characters were so boring and generic. The protagonists were not relatable and a bit naive at times which just made the book even more dislikable. I was also hoping that Doon and Lina would get together, but of course, ...more
Mairéad (is exploring a floating city)
{February 2nd, 2015} MINI-REVIEW

2.5 stars.

“The day had a strange but comforting feel to it, like a rest between the end of one time and the beginning of another.”

Considering I've seen the movie in bits and pieces, I could remember the scenes as I read through the book. There are differences between them for sure (what doesn't when there's a book and a movie adaptation?) but regardless, I wasn't so enthralled as I should be, I guess? I mean there was still the mystery but I knew the answer (aga
Nov 24, 2010 Evy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In the City of Ember, the sky is always dark. How could this be, you may ask yourself, if the sky on Earth is a light, creamy blue? How is it possible for the sky to be as black as coal, year round? And yet, even as it seems nearly impossible to you now, it is perfectly, perfectly possible. Because this is how it is for the citizens of Ember.

In Ember, the only light comes from the giant floodlights that surround the city. The floodlights turn on and off at a specific time of day or night, and
Sep 16, 2014 Alessandra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau, is a very easy read book! These two curious kids named Doon and Lina find out their city's electricity is running out! They have to either figure a way out or fix the electricity! If u like adventures and fast pacing books, this is the book for you!
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Jeanne DuPrau spends several hours of every day at her computer, thinking up sentences. She has this quote taped to her wall: "A writer is someone for whom writing is harder than it is for other people" (Thomas Mann).
This gives her courage, because she finds writing very hard. So many words to choose from! So many different things that could happen in a story at any moment! Writing is one tough de
More about Jeanne DuPrau...

Other Books in the Series

Book of Ember (4 books)
  • The People of Sparks (Book of Ember, #2)
  • The Prophet of Yonwood (Book of Ember, #3)
  • The Diamond of Darkhold (Book of Ember, #4)

Share This Book

“The trouble with anger is, it gets hold of you. And then you aren't the master of yourself anymore. Anger is. And when anger is the boss, you get unintended consequences.” 315 likes
“There is so much darkness in Ember, Lina. It's not just outside, it's inside us, too. Everyone has some darkness inside. It's like a hungry creature. It wants and wants and wants with a terrible power. And the more you give it, the bigger and hungrier it gets.” 128 likes
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