Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The City of Ember (The Ember Series, #1)” as Want to Read:
The City of Ember (The Ember Series, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The City of Ember (Book of Ember #1)

3.84  ·  Rating Details ·  191,261 Ratings  ·  8,690 Reviews
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 ...more
Audio CD, 7 pages
Published May 9th 2006 by Listening Library (Audio) (first published May 13th 2003)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The City of Ember, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Elita Rexhepi 12 years old in the book, but in the movie Dune is much older than 12.
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Maybe 18 months ago, I came out of my office to find my 5 year old son laying in the hallway reading a book.

He wasn't just flipping through a picture book, either. He was actually reading it. A book with all words and no pictures.

This was that book. He'd read it with his mom a over a month's worth of bedtimes. Then, of his own volition while walking through the hallway, he'd pulled it off the shelf, sat down, and started to read it again.

That's a recommendation beyond anything I can give it.

* *
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
Apr 27, 2016 Riley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is probably the 5th time I have read this and this time I listened to the audiobook. This series holds a very special place in my heart because it is what made me such an avid reader when I was younger (other than Harry Potter obviously!) It's such a great MG dystopian, and after reading the worst book I've ever read yesterday, I needed something I knew I loved.
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 (Paper Fury)
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
Olivier Delaye
Jul 22, 2016 Olivier Delaye rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Before The Hunger Games (2008) there was The City of Ember (2003).

Well, that’s not exactly true because, to be completely honest about it, before HG there were the Japanese novel (1999) and then movie (2000) Battle Royale from which only the blind would say that HG isn’t based upon or at least heavily inspired by. Which, don’t get me wrong, is totally fine; inspiration comes in every shape and form, and if a great book/movie inspired HG author Suzanne Collins to write a great series, then more p
Helen Stavraki
Σε αυτό το βιβλίο γραμμένο με ξεχωριστή δεξιοτεχνία ξετυλίγεται το κουβάρι της ανθρώπινης εξέλιξης σε συνθήκες εξαιρετικά δύσκολες για την ύπαρξη και την συνέχιση του ανθρώπινου είδους.

Το μήνυμα που πέρναει ειναι η θέληση για ζωή, ο φόβος μπροστά σε έναν επικείμενο αφανισμό λόγω των συνθηκών και παράλληλα το σθένος,η θέληση,το θάρρος των ανθρώπων για επιβίωση που αγωνίζονται με απαράμιλλη ευαισθησία για το καλό των συνανθρώπων τους αλλά και εξαιρετική μαχητική διάθεση απέναντι στους διεφθαρμένο
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
Paige  *an exploding fluffball* Bookdragon

I totally forgot that this book exist. It's been years since I've read this but I can still remember how I enjoyed this one so much. Might do a reread soon :)
Oct 18, 2016 Pooja rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks
I wish I had read this book some time before.

Lina and Doon are intelligent and curious, which makes the story interesting.

The letter in the end of this book was thrilling to read.

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
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
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
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.
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
Uh... I had to read this for school in grade 5. It was... Ok. The Mayor was despicable.

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.
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
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Future Teachers, ...: Christina's Review #4 1 1 19 hours, 15 min ago  
What would you rather do? 20 78 Jun 22, 2016 02:37PM  
The Book Was Better: CITY OF EMBER 12 106 Jun 11, 2016 09:36AM  
  • Among the Free (Shadow Children, #7)
  • The Naked Mole-Rat Letters
  • The True Meaning of Smekday
  • Skybreaker (Matt Cruse, #2)
  • Things Not Seen (Things, #1)
  • A Corner of the Universe
  • The Clockwork Three
  • Rivers of Fire (Atherton, #2)
  • Exodus (Exodus, #1)
  • Truesight (Truesight, #1)
  • The Case of the Case of Mistaken Identity (Brixton Brothers, #1)
  • Chasing Vermeer (Chasing Vermeer, #1)
  • Rip Tide (Dark Life, #2)
  • The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy (The Penderwicks #1)
  • The Last Book in the Universe
  • The Hidden Gallery (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place #2)
  • The Tomorrow Code
  • The Secret of Platform 13
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.” 326 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.” 139 likes
More quotes…