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 light, though the electricity is becoming sporadic and the city is running out of replacement bulbs. Founded many years before, there was some instructions on how to leave the darkness left behind but lost by one of the city's mayors. The city is facing shortages of supplies and the residents live in a sense of paranoia that the lights will go out forver, plunging them into enternal darkness.
It's a fascinating premise for a novel and one that begs a lot of questions, especially when you find certain things about Ember in the novel's final pages. The story follows two children, Doon and Lina, who have completed their schooling and have been given new jobs. Doon wants to fix the city and trades to have a job in the underside of the city, hoping to explore the mystery of Ember. Lina gets a job as a messenger and is able to run across the city, taking messages back and forth and discovering the full extend of the shortags to come. The two eventually begin to share their knowledge and piece together just what's going on in Ember. They also find a bit of the original instructions and try to fanthom what they mean (Lina's younger sibling eats part of them).
Lina and Doon discover there's more going on that meets the eye. The Mayor is a corrupt individual, hoarding resources for himself and seeking to discredit or lock up anyone who discovers otherwise. Lina and Doon are soon on a path to being rebels and forced to flee into the darkness surrounding the City.
A fascinating, compelling story that left me with a lot of questions and some good answers. The book is satisfying in that if offers resolution to some questions but leaves the door open for natural follow-ups.