Wednesday, June 25, 2008
The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau is an alien-less science fiction novel for children, about an underground city called... um, yeah, Ember. The citizens of Ember are running out of supplies, and Lina Mayfleet and Doon Harrow decide, on finding a they need to figure out a way to get the heck out of there.
Because of some things my dad had been reading and talking about in the weeks before I read Ember, the book seemed like a political commentary to me. Ember has a corrupted government, and people in the town are waiting for things to either get absolutely better or absolutely worse. The Believers seemed to represent the kind of Christian I'm tempted to be sometimes - completely blind to all the badness in the world. And of course there was the fact that the Emberites were becoming worried that soon there would not be enough food for everyone.
The City of Ember had a wonderful premise, with average writing, fun characters and even more fun character names (Lina Mayfleet, Edward Pocket, Mrs. Murdo, etc). But I do wish that it had been a little more mature, and about 150 pages longer. I wish it could stand better on its own, because the sequel, The People of Sparks is nowhere near as interesting to me. Personally, I thought the cliffhanger at the end of Ember was a little maddening, but I like open endings just fine.
However, reading about the Emberites reaction to the real world in The People of Sparks is fun, and interesting.
Overall, I liked The City of Ember very much. It's clean, it's easy, and it's exciting; it would make an excellent read-aloud to my own children, when and if I have them someday.