Author: Jeanne DuPrau
Title: The City of Ember
Narrator: Wendy Dillon
Publication Info: Listening Library (2004)
This book is the first part of a series about a subterranean city built for reasons not yet explained over 240 years before the events of the novel. By this time, the people of Ember have forgotten about their origins and are dealing with crumbling infrastructure and dwindling supplies (a very clear analogy to climate change). The protagonists of the novel are Lina and Dina, two young people who have reached the age where they are given their “Assignments,” their jobs they have to do to contribute to the survival of the community (I don’t think the novel specifies their age, but they seem to be around 12 years old). A curious pair, Lina and Doon piece together instructions left behind by the “Builders” of Ember, and find a way out of the underground city. They are a clever and likable duo, albeit a bit one-note. The plot is very simple but it should be readable for it’s target age group. The book ends on a massive cliffhanger which makes of course makes me want to read the next book, but also a bit resentful because I didn’t find the book engaging enough on its own to want to read more.
Recommended books: Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins, The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde, and The Inventor’s Secret by Andrea Cremer