Thursday 16 September 2010
The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau
Pages - 270
Published in 2005 by Corgi
In the city of Ember, the sky was always dark. The only light came from great flood lamps mounted on the buildings and at the tops of poles in the middle of the larger squares. When the lights were on, they cast a yellowish glow over the streets; people walking by threw long shadows that shortened an then stretched out again. When the lights were off, as they wre between nine at night and six in the morning, the city was so dark that people might as well have been wearing blindfolds.
I loved this book!
How it slipped under my radar, I will never know, but thank you Fiona for bringing it to my attention. Fiona is a teacher from my girl's school and a good scrapping friend, who often checks out the books I am reading on my blog. She found this gem, hidden in the school library and thought it might be something I would enjoy reading and how right she was.
The City of Ember is a post apocalyptic story. The City was created two hundred years ago to contain everything needed for human survival. For two hundred years it worked as it was supposed to, but now it is beginning to fall apart. Everything is breaking down and the food storerooms are almost empty. Corruption has set in within the community and now the lights are beginning to fail. Soon darkness will engulf Ember and what will become of it's inhabitants.
The future of Ember lies in the hands of two children, Lina and Doon, who after discovering fragments of an ancient document, begin to wonder if they have found a way out of Ember.
There is a prologue before the book begins which makes you aware that something is not quite right with Ember. It sets you up with a certain amount of knowledge that the characters are unaware of.
This book had me engulfed in it's story from the first paragraph. The story was original and spellbinding. I could not put it down. The pacing was perfect and the story did not feel rushed or slow in any way at all. The world building was wonderful, I actually felt like I could walk down the streets of Ember and name the properties on each side. To me, the book felt real and very believable.
There was only one tiny niggly bit within the book, that wound me up. When Lina's grandmother died, it was dealt with rather swiftly and almost forgotten about by the next day. Now Lina, had lived with her grandmother nearly all her life, so I would have imagined a little more grief to be shown. I understand that she had suffered loss before when her parents died, but I don't think having experienced death, it makes you blase about it when it happens to someone else you love. Now I know that is really quite a big niggle, but I didn't let it spoil the rest of the book for me, in fact I do think that it should have been something picked up during the editing process. Other than that I loved it.
I have just discovered that it was made into a film in 2008 starring Bill Murray and Tim Robbins. How did I miss it completely. Here is a trailer for the film. This book is also the first one in a series, so I will definitely look out for the next one. I have just passed this one onto one of my girls to read and she seems to be enjoying it as much as I did.
NOTE: Sorry folks, but I am real issues with my Google Reader at the moment, it seems to be permanently stuck and I can't empty the blooming inbox. Is this a universal issue, or am I doing something wrong? Any advice would be fantastic. Please don't think I am ignoring your blogs, I just can't access them.