Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Books of Ember

by Jeanne DuPrau

The City of Ember

Lina wants nothing more than to be a messenger. She thinks being allowed to run all over the city all day is a dream come true. Unfortunately, on her assignment day, she's assigned to the Pipeworks, where she will be forced to work everyday underground. Lucky for her, her friend Doon drew messenger and offers to make a switch. Lina thinks that life is pretty grand, but things are not all well in Ember. Food supplies seem to be running low, and the power keeps flickering off, sending the city into total darkness. When her grandmother remembers something that was lost, Lina finds a torn up piece of paper. Will it help save the City?

My husband and I are reading this series together (yay!), and we both really enjoyed this first installment. Husband loved the city and trying to figure out its secrets. I enjoyed the characters quite a bit. I love that Lina is a strong girl character without having to be obnoxious. Her friendship with Doon was fun, and I was so happy when she finally found someone to help her with her paper. Being the first in the series the book doesn't end fabulous. No one is in immanent danger, but I wasn't ready for the story to be over.

4 out of 5 stars

There will be some smallish spoilers to the previous book in the review of The People of Sparks. I just don't know else to do it...Sorry. I don't think The Prophet of Yonwood review has any spoilers.

The People of Sparks

The next book starts right where The City of Ember leaves off. The people of Ember are able to make the daring escape and after days of wandering, stumble across the village of Sparks. Sparks hesitantly accepts the people from Ember (concerned about their large numbers), and the people from the 2 villages try to learn to get along.

Husband had a harder time with this book. He found the people's interactions frustrating (though he realized they were totally realistic). I also think he missed the secret underground world. It took him longer to finish this one, which is a sign he didn't like it as much.

However, I really enjoyed this one. I thought it was an interesting social commentary. While I figured out a lot of what was happening (Tick was particularly easy to figure out), I enjoyed seeing how the characters were able to solve the problems. Doon and Lina grow up quite a bit in the book, and its interesting to watch their reactions to the troubles between the people of Ember and the people of Sparks. I didn't think this book had the same charm that the first did, but I enjoyed it none the less.

3.5 out of 4 stars

The Prophet of Yonwood

The third book in the series is actually more of a prequel. It takes place about 50 years before Ember and features Nikki and Grover growing up in a time of uncertainty. Grover lives in Yonwood while Nicki is visiting and they both try to deal with the consequences of a so-called prophet in the town. The prophet had a vision and kind of loses her mind only mumbling short phrases like "no dogs" or "no lights" that another member of the town takes to be commandments from God. In order to "save" the town, she tries to force everyone to live by these concepts and punishes those that don't.

Husband hasn't read this one yet. He's kind of mad it's not more Lina and Doon.

I didn't like this one nearly as much as the first two. The story is interesting. It feels a lot like a story that could be taking place today with all the uncertainties about everything, though I am pretty sure it is supposed to be sometime in the future. I liked Nicki's struggle with trying to do what was right. I think it's fairly realistic, even if most kids struggle under different circumstances. I guess I was hoping for more Lina and Doon as well. I believe the fourth (and final!) book features them again. I can't wait for my library to get it in.

3 out of 5 stars

1 comment:

Fyrefly said...

I read these recently (I still need to go see the movie!), and enjoyed them, although my reactions were much the same as yours - Ember is easily the best, then Sparks, then Diamond of Darkhold (the fourth), with Yonwood finishing up last.