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The City of Ember

Written By:Jeanne DuPrau - 2003

  • The City of Ember  - Jeanne DuPrau cover
  • The City of Ember  - Jeanne DuPrau cover

    Yearling - 2008


Citizens of Ember shall be assigned work at twelve years of age...

Lina Mayfleet desperately wants to be a messenger. Instead, she draws the dreaded job of Pipeworks laborer, which means she'll be working in damp tunnels deep underground.

Doon Harrow draws messenger—and asks Lina to trade! Doon wants to be underground. That's where the generate is, and Doon has ideas about how to fix it. For as long as anyone can remember, the great lights of Ember have kept the endless darkness at bay. But now the lights are beginning to flicker...


"An electric debut!" —Publishers Weekly, Starred

"The cliffhanger ending will leave readers clamoring for the next installment." —Kirkus Reviews, Starred

"Science fiction for those who do not like science fiction." —Voice of Youth Advocates, Starred

A Kirkus Reviews Editors' Choice

A New York Public Library 100 titles for reading and sharing selection

Jeanne DuPrau makes a stunning debut, with refreshingly clear writing and fascinating, original characters.

"Thanks to full-blooded characters every bit as compelling as the plot, Lina and Doon's search parallels the universal adolescent quest for answers." —Publishers Weekly, Starred

"Well-paced, this contains a satisfying mystery, a breathtaking escape over rooftops in darkness, a harrowing journey into the unknown, and cryptic messages for readers to decipher. The setting is well realized with the constraints of life in the city intriguingly detailed. The likable protagonists are not only courageous but also believably flawed by human pride, their weaknesses often complementing each other in teresting ways." —Kirkus Reviews, Starred

"While Ember is colorless and dark, the book itself is rich with description. DuPrau uses the puzzle, suspenseful action, and lots of evil characters to entice readers into the story. They will find the teen characters believable and gutsy. Part mystery, part adventure story." —Voice of Youth Advocates, Starred

"Rather than bogging down in explanations of how Ember came to be and how it functions, DuPrau allows the events of the story to convey the nescessary information. Even the device of a hidden letter, complete with missing words, is used with such disarming forthrightness that readers will be eagerly deciphering it right alongside Doon and Lina." —The Horn Book Magazine




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