Review: The City of Ember Series

the city of ember book cover

The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau


The City of Ember 3/5
The People of Sparks 3/5
The Prophet of Yonwood 1/5
The Diamond of Darkhold 3/5


Many hundreds of years ago, the city of Ember was created by the Builders to contain everything needed for human survival. It worked…but now the storerooms are almost out of food, crops are blighted, corruption is spreading through the city and worst of all—the lights are failing. Soon Ember could be engulfed by darkness…
But when two children, Lina and Doon, discover fragments of an ancient parchment, they begin to wonder if there could be a way out of Ember. Can they decipher the words from long ago and find a new future for everyone? Will the people of Ember listen to them?



The City of Ember
It is easy to read and the story is light despite the dystopian plot. You can’t expect this book to be more than a children’s book. It doesn’t have considerable depth and intensity since it is intended for young readers. There are children’s books that can be enjoyed by both kids and adults, this is not one of them. Even my inner child wasn’t impressed. Though it did not win me by a long shot, I would still love my daughter to read this series one day. What’s really good and the only thing that kept me from not finishing was the interesting setting- dystopian, people living underground, people who had never been above the ground and never knew what the world is like. Exploring their limited world and seeing with their eyes fascinated me- the way they lived for 200 years without the sunlight, how their electricity works, the distribution of food, designation of jobs (through a lottery, to my horror), growing plants (yes, without sunlight), and the dwindling supply of food. The plot may lack intensity but the world build up is amazing.
The People of Sparks
The second book is more or less like the first. The people of Ember no longer live underground. And what’s interesting is their struggle in the world(above ground) that they found. Almost everything was new to them, it felt like I was reading a book about aliens discovering the earth for the first time. It’s almost fun to read them and it made me realize how beautiful the world is. Yeah, sometimes I tend to forget, being holed up in my room most of the time. Everything could be so much worse like living underground in total darkness. Same with the first book, it wasn’t gripping but not so bad either.
The Prophet of Yonwood
For the first time, I was sorry for the books that I’ve rated one star in the past. This should be the standard of one star. Please, do not even bother to read this prequel. I mean, it was supposed to be a prequel but it seemed like an entirely different nonsense story. I wasn’t able to finish it. I will die of boredom if I get through another page. It’s a boring story of a girl who was one of the first citizens of Ember. It was during her teenage year while the war was brewing. There wasn’t even a mention of how they’ve built the city of Ember (at least on what I’ve read so far). I’m not sure if that was told later in the book. I don’t give two shits.
The Diamond of Darkhold
The last book had wrapped things up pretty nicely. Without the novelty of the underground city and the wonder of discovering a new world, this book was nearly a total bore. Just a story of how they discovered another way of creating electricity. I don’t have much to say because so little has happened. Nonetheless, it gave a nice ending to the whole series. Discovering electricity is a good starting point for the people of Sparks to start innovating and building again the things that were forgotten and lost.
Best parts of the series:

  • The City of Ember- it was interesting and bizarre. Probably the only thing that I loved on this series
  • Friendship- Doon and Lina weren’t exceptional characters but their friendship gives some essence to the story. A little something to connect emotionally.
  • Seeing the world for the first time after coming out from underground- it was heartbreakingly beautiful
  • I liked it that these were short reads. Only 757 pages for all four books. So, less than 200 pages each. I finished all three books in 2 days. Yes, three because I skipped most part of the 3rd book so it doesn’t count.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s