The City of Ember

Our rating: ***½

Ember stands as the only light in a literally dark world. The city is lighted by lamps, the sky is black, and nobody ever leaves. When Lina Mayfleet and Doon Harrow are assigned their jobs as citizens of Ember, they are excited at first, but soon become frightened as they discover that the city is running down, which is the worst possible thing that could ever happen. Then Lina’s granny remembers that something important was lost, which Lina finds, but not before her baby sister chews up the important piece of paper, leaving the writing on the paper in tatters. It’s labelled “Instructions for” something, so Lina and Doon try to figure out what it says before the city’s lights flicker out for the last time.

Here’s a delightful story that is both fun and deep at the same time. I’m still thinking about some of the implications of elements of the story, and still chuckling over others. The citizens of Ember have no concept of so many of the things that we take for granted, which is demonstrated time after time as they wonder about what words like “hogwash” and “treetop” mean. On the deep side of things, The City of Ember¬†speaks profoundly about pride, greed, and the consequences of wrong choices. The only thing I really didn’t like was the slow beginning, but once that’s over, you have a book that deserves to be recognized as an excellent story for pretty much everybody. There’s a movie coming out on October 10th, which looks pretty good to me.