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The City of Ember (Book of Ember #1)

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  158,032 ratings  ·  7,569 reviews
Many hundreds of years ago, the city of Ember was created by the Builders to contain everything needed for human survival. It worked…but now the storerooms are almost out of food, crops are blighted, corruption is spreading through the city and worst of all—the lights are failing. Soon Ember could be engulfed by darkness….

But when two children, Lina and Doon, discover frag
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Paperback, 270 pages
Published May 25th 2004 by Yearling (first published January 1st 2003)
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Dani it is about a young boy and girl who meet in school and once they have their jobs they switch! The city of ember is a city that is falling apart,…moreit is about a young boy and girl who meet in school and once they have their jobs they switch! The city of ember is a city that is falling apart, without the light bulbs they have no light at all, and the cities resorses are getting low. That all changes when the boy finds a hidden stash that the mayor has been hiding! Then they find "the instructions" and they finally find out how to get people out of the city into a whole new land.(less)
Ashley Well, they're only 12, so the author probably avoided the subject of attraction for that reason. They do become very close, trusted friends, though.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsHarry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. RowlingThe Lightning Thief by Rick RiordanTwilight by Stephenie MeyerDivergent by Veronica Roth
Best Young Adult Books
45th out of 9,249 books — 62,590 voters
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins1984 by George OrwellThe Giver by Lois LowryDivergent by Veronica RothBrave New World by Aldous Huxley
Best Dystopian and Post-Apocalyptic Fiction
22nd out of 2,071 books — 17,968 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Eric
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
Jon
Mar 28, 2010 Jon rated it 2 of 5 stars
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
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Christine
(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
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Shelly
Sep 21, 2008 Shelly rated it 5 of 5 stars
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
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Michael
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
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Jennifer
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
Marvin
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
Alice
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
Deborah Markus
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
Owen
Feb 20, 2008 Owen rated it 5 of 5 stars
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
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Megan
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
Aisyah ❣ฅ(⌯▾ ˑ̫ ▾⌯͒)ฅ
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.
Mrs. Riding
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
Sarah
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
Wesley
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,
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Simcsa
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
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Angela Delgado
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
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Britt
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
Taylor
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
Jonathan

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.
Kasey
I wish I could give this book a million stars!!!
Stella  ☢FAYZ☢ Chen
Feb 05, 2012 Stella ☢FAYZ☢ Chen rated it 5 of 5 stars
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
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Julie
Reading this also brought up so many feelings from childhood. Real review to come eventually.
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
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Evy
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
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Alessandra
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!
Tay
Only giving this 3 stars because I read this in like 5th grade for an advanced reading class I was in and I don't even remember anything that occurred in this book.
Natalie
It was really good but I have not read it recently. I love how there is some mystery squished in.
Mary-Beth
This story reminds me a great deal of the Zilpha Keatley Snyder world in a way. The City of Ember is a strange place built beneath the ground. Everything is supplied from storerooms whose stores are drying up and power outages have become common. The story ends when the protagonists discover the truth about their city and a new world. Despite the author's best attempts to keep me interested, I have no desire to read the next book in the series. The characters didn't impress themselves on me in a ...more
weeple
Sep 14, 2007 weeple rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: pre-teens
First off- the sticker on the book says: If you love Harry Potter, you'll love this book.
That is a pretty hefty claim to make, and in this case, it doesn't hold. Sorry, lady.

This book got knocked for being a "typical first novel", where everything is over explained. I agree, but just assume that the target audience is younger.

Another review said that the ending was great! But I had a problem with the geographical reality of it all. Super far fetched.

Overall, a good quick read once, as an adult.
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What would you rather do? 15 50 Apr 21, 2015 04:39PM  
City of Ember Rea...: City of Ember (Spoiler Free) 2 5 Apr 06, 2015 01:43PM  
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City of Ember Rea...: City of Ember Talk! 1 2 Mar 21, 2015 08:35PM  
Darkness 1 14 Feb 25, 2015 06:51AM  
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2347
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
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)
The People of Sparks (Book of Ember, #2) The Prophet of Yonwood (Book of Ember, #3) The Diamond of Darkhold (Book of Ember, #4) The City of Ember: The Graphic Novel The Books of Ember (Books of Ember, #1-3)

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“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.” 291 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.” 123 likes
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