Author: Jeanne DuPrau, read by Wendy Dillon
Reading Level: Young Adult
Location: CDS YA Duprau J.
"There is nowhere but here" the children are taught in the city that has no sky, stars, or moon. The sunshine comes from floodlights that blast during 12 hours of the day. At the age of twelve, Lina and Doon have completed their schooling and are assigned the jobs they will have for the rest of their lives, Lina as a messenger (who is paid 20 cents to run across the city to deliver spoken messages for individuals) and Doon is a pipeworker, spending all day below ground in a massive maze of tunnels and secret doors.
The decaying city is starting to have problems maintaining electricity and is running low on a limited supply of food, lightbulbs, and other necessities that the mysterious "builders" have left them. For 250 years, the people of Ember have lived without questioning their existence in this place that is all that they know, strangely simple and economical- no telephones, re-using all items and nothing is thrown away, and also modern with the expectation of electricity, but soon a secret box is found. What is inside the box is how Lina and Doon discover what was meant to be discovered years before.
The Bottom Line: I really got drawn in to this story, especially with it's hints at the reasons behind the existence of Ember being pre-apocalyptic. I think a younger reader would be interested in this story as well and the content would be fine for an 8-12 year old.Wendy Dillon's reading of the characters was really well done and the small sounds inserted in different places to represent the fast-moving river and crowds forming helped the story rather than distract from it. I know this one has been out for awhile, but I'm ready to read the next in the series. I won't be watching the movie, at least not until I finish the series. I don't want to ruin what I imagine Ember to be.