The City of Ember

Jeanne DuPrau


Series Review:

July 25, 2023

This series was written by Jeanne DuPrau, and contains 4 books, The City of Ember, The People of Sparks, The Prophet of Yonwood, and The Diamond of Darkhold.  Out of all of them, my personal favorite is The Diamond of Darkhold.  This series is a great one to read, and beginner readers can likely read this without too much trouble. Because of that, I would rate this series for ages 8 - 10 because this series will mostly appeal to kids of those ages. I really liked and enjoyed this series when I was reading it, but what I really didn’t like was that the 3rd book was completely unrelated to the other ones.  I would rate this series as a whole 4 Stars, it would have been more if not for the 3rd book.  

The City of Ember is a city, hidden in a massive cave, post-war.  There was a massive apocalypse, and so a group of people decided to make sure that humanity doesn’t become extinct, and so built a city underground, safe from the war ragin above it.  Now Ember had been populated for over 200 years, but the builders never intended for the residents to stay there forever.  That was why they left a safe in the hands of the first mayor, who would pass it on to the next mayor when his or her reign was over. The box was set to open, but one of the mayor’s, thought it was the key to staying alive, and so tried his best to open it, but in vain.  But the safe never got put back where it was supposed to be, and was lost to the people of Ember.  That particular Mayor was the many greats grandfather of the first protagonist, Lina Mayfleet.  The second protagonist was a boy named Doon Harrow.  One day, Lina finds the safe, opened, but the paper inside was heavily damaged.  Lina and Doon try to figure out the clues, and finally, they succeed.  The paper was titled “Instructions for Egress,” and it showed how to escape the City.  Lina and Doon manage to escape, and they find out that Ember was just a city in a massive cave.  They throw down a scroll containing the way to exit the City, and someone picks it up.  

In the second book, The People of Sparks, the story continues, with more than 400 people exiting the nearly depleted City.  After 3 days of traveling on foot, they come across the village of Sparks.  The 3 leaders decide to allow them to stay for half a year, so they can learn survival skills, so they can live independently.  At first, everything seems to be going fine, but soon, tensions start to rise between the 2 groups.  Someone was deliberately causing rashes and more on the Emberites, and they started to cause riots.  One day, when a group enters the town, wanting to cause damage, Ben, one of the leaders of the town, decides to fire upon the Emberites, with his secret weapon.  That secret weapon was a pre-war cannon, and not knowing what it was, the Emberites charge.  At the last moment, another one of the town leaders, Mary, kicked up the cannon, so the bullet would shoot over the crowd.  When Ben tries to lower it again, the cannon explodes, causing a fire, and when Doon and Lina join with the people of Sparks, to stop the fire.  This causes the resentment against each other to stop, and Mary declares all of them “People of Sparks”

In the 3rd book, a young girl named Nickie goes to the town of Yonwood, but something seems off.  Nickie explores all the weird things around her, and looks into her great-grandfather’s journal.  She discovers a prophet, saying weird things.  Should people do anything wrong, they are put into a handcuff like device.  Mrs. Beeson, the “caretaker” for the prophet, asks Nickie to look around for anything that might seem wrong, or if someone is doing something against the prophet's words.  Then Mrs. Beeson starts telling everyone to do the most painful things like getting rid of all dogs, on the words of the prophet.  Then there are rumors of someone in the town with a gun, as well as rumors of terrorists.  Can Nickie survive this nightmare?

The 4th book is undoubtedly my favorite.  From a roamer, people who roamed across the land, selling things, Lina and Doon get a book that contains more instructions from the Builders.  The book only contained a few of its pages, and unable to decipher it, they decide to go back to Ember for more clues.  However, Doon gets captured by the Trogg family, who were living in Ember.  Doon manages to communicate with Lina, and she goes back to Sparks for help.  3 friends of Doon set out in a small search party to find him.  Doon finds out that the Troggs have renamed Ember as Darkhold, and they also show him a Diamond that they found.  One of the children, an adopted boy called Scawgo gives Doon the diamond, and he manages to escape.  After escaping and meeting up with Lina, she shows him where the Diamond was found, and they uncover hundreds upon hundreds of Diamonds.  They find out that they are solar powered, and they can use them to power many things.  Many years later, one of Lina’s descendants living in cities powered by solar, look at the very fragile pictures of what Lina imagined  to be magnificent cities, and how they resembled a world that she didn’t live in, but she helped create that world.

The City of Ember
is recommended for
8, 9 and 10 year old kids