The City Of Ember: The First Book Of Ember by Jeanne DuprauThe City Of Ember: The First Book Of Ember by Jeanne Duprau

The City Of Ember: The First Book Of Ember

byJeanne DuprauRead byWendy Dillon

Audio Book (CD) | May 9, 2006

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The city of Ember was built as a last refuge for the human race. Two hundred years later, the great lamps that light the city are beginning to flicker. When Lina finds part of an ancient message, she’s sure it holds a secret that will save the city. She and her friend Doon must decipher the message before the lights go out on Ember forever! This stunning debut novel offers refreshingly clear writing and fascinating, original characters.
Jeanne DuPrau has been a teacher, an editor, and a technical writer. The People of Sparks is the sequel to The City of Ember and her second novel. She lives in Menlo Park, CA, where she keeps a big garden and a small dog.
Title:The City Of Ember: The First Book Of EmberFormat:Audio Book (CD)Dimensions:6.27 × 5.44 × 1 inPublished:May 9, 2006Publisher:Penguin Random House Audio Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0739331671

ISBN - 13:9780739331675

Appropriate for ages: 9 - 12

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Rated 1 out of 5 by from I hate this book I find the book not very good. Since it was very slow in the beginning and suddenly became so much faster for the clues for the document.
Date published: 2018-08-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Book! I read this a while ago but still remember it. It's a great book and I could barely put it down when I was reading it!
Date published: 2018-08-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Enjoyable book! I've read this and the rest of the city of Ember series throughout middle school. It's by far my favorite series. I am drawn to the creativity in each unique character and the ending was a surprise for me.
Date published: 2018-07-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Awesome read A great story and vibrant characters. An intricate and suspenseful plot.
Date published: 2018-02-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Compelling Story Really great characters and a plot that was a surprise. I did not know where it was going to go.
Date published: 2018-01-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from BEST BOOK EVER!!!! I loved this book I read it twice! A definite read!
Date published: 2018-01-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great young-adult fiction The City of Ember is a great fiction novel for junior-high aged students. After reading The Giver by Lois Lowry, I found the city of Ember as being very similar. Both books feature a utopian society where everyone is provided with a job. The City of Ember is an easy read for non-readers.
Date published: 2017-10-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Awesome Read Read it when I was younger and fell in love with it. It was a great story before YA became too cliche. Really original too.
Date published: 2017-10-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing story Read this book in third grade and loved it
Date published: 2017-09-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it!! Really liked this book! Was one of my favourite books during my childhood. It wasn't boring and the story was captivating :)
Date published: 2017-09-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Predictable, but enjoyable The City of Ember reads like a middle grade story, and tells the story of what Ember is like and how Lina and Doon deal with what is going on there. As it is meant for a younger audience it is a very quick read. I believe I finished it in around an hour and a half. The language used is also easy to read, and therefore the book can be easily understood. The main character Lina is well done. For the most part DuPrau makes her very believable with regards to the love for her sister, the genuine curiosity towards everything and the need to help the people of Ember if there is a way she can do it. There are a couple of things I dislike about the story though, one of which being the inconsistency of Poppy's age. At some points Poppy seems to act younger than 2, while at other times she acts like she is around 3 or 4. Maybe there are kids like this, I don't know, but the fact that at some points she can talk in sentences and at other times not doesn't make much sense to me. I also don't like the predictability of the plot. The whole time you can see exactly what was going to happen, and it also felt as though DuPrau is holding your hand the whole way through, pointing out things that did not need to be pointed out. This could once again be because it is a book for younger readers, but I would have liked to have been surprised by at least one plot twist. One last small issue is the city that Lina is constantly drawing has a feel that it is leading up to being found at some point in the series, yet I have read the next two books as well and it has still not been dealt with. I know that it will probably be brought up in the last book, but the wait time for this seems drawn out. So, if this kind of book is your thing and the things I've mentioned won't bother you a great deal, I definitely recommend this book. I still enjoyed it immensely and can't wait until I finally finish the series, which I hope to be soon.
Date published: 2017-09-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Unique and unexpected story Read this many years ago and it still remains one of my favorite books. Unique plot line leaving you wanting for more at the end.
Date published: 2017-08-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fantasy and adventure For some reason, this book has stayed with me for years after reading it. Highly recommend for young teens. It's a page turner!
Date published: 2017-07-13
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Boring till the end Very slow moving and elongated plot. I enjoyed the end.
Date published: 2017-07-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great read Loved this one, didnt realize that it was part of a series, now I need to read the rest!
Date published: 2017-04-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great:) Originally read this in 4th grade, and now I've reread it at least 4 times. Great story!
Date published: 2017-04-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Totally Awesome!! I bought this book for a friend, who then let me borrow and recommended it. It was a little low in the beggining, but the pace quickly speeds up. An adventure tale I would recommend for all kids!
Date published: 2017-04-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved I loved this book as a kid! I'm saving my old copy for my future children one day.
Date published: 2017-04-03
Rated 3 out of 5 by from The City of Ember (Book of Ember #1) by Jeanne DuPrau I really really love the idea of a post-disaster society of people living underground. And I especially love the idea of reading about that society several generations in, where they no longer remember what daylight is, or why the city they live in is theren- or even where exactly their city is. I like the idea of this society making up their own myths about 'the dark' and having new origin stories and singing songs amid candles lit against the ever-present night. However, all those enchanting pieces of The City of Ember are just tiny footnote details in what's really a fairly decent adventure story. The setting of an underground sort of steampunk like society surviving post-collapse without any connections to their past is merely the place where this book begins. I really enjoyed this story, and am excited to read more in the series, but I wish this book had been about twice as long and had about three times the depth. I really feel like the author here was on the verge of creating a whole new world, maybe not with the intricacy and pull of the Harry Potter universe, but something heading in that direction. Instead everything - setting and plot and characters et cetera - is at a pretty basic level and merely serves as the dressing around the main story, which is a somewhat didactical examination of the ills of society and scarcity mentality hidden inside an engaging adventure story of two plucky pre-teens trying to save their people.
Date published: 2017-02-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great! This is a story about overcoming your circumstances! It's a great lesson for children :)
Date published: 2017-02-07
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Interesting Read While I found this book interesting, it wasn't unlike books in the genre. The dystopia- type novel was not particularly unique, however I do see how it could appeal to pre-teens.
Date published: 2017-01-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved this book! This book is awesome - my students really enjoyed it. So much problem-solving and conflict resolution!
Date published: 2017-01-27
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Loved this when i was a pre-teen fell in love with this book when i was young, read it multiple times
Date published: 2017-01-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from a very good dystopia! I really liked this book and would recommend it to you if you like easy and light reads.
Date published: 2017-01-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing This book was a make it or break it for the rest of the series. I wasn't sure if I would read the other 3 books but this one was so amazing that I had to finish it all. Such a good storyline!!
Date published: 2017-01-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The City of Ember A wonderful story of friendship and adventure! I've loved it for years!
Date published: 2016-12-16
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Pretty Good I had a hard time reading this when I was younger, because I could never really get into the story. Now that I have read it again, I liked it. The writing is not my favourite, but the intricacy of the story is very well put together. I just cannot believe that they changed the paperback covers.
Date published: 2016-12-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Made Me Begging For More ! I absolutely, positively, undoubtedly loved this book ( maybe I'm being a little or a lot dramatic, but I love this book )! Lina Mayfleet, and Doon Harrow, are such interesting characters. At first I got bored, because I never really actually read a book like that. But I pushed my self and read it! I got it sometime in April, and finished it in June. I woke up in 2:OO am just to finish the last chapter. This is one of favorite dsytopians, other than the Divergent series, and Hunger Games series. I read this for school, and to be honest, I wouldn't change one second of the time of me reading this. I felt like I was on the journey with them, when the found the instructions, getting out of Ember. I really felt like I was there. I can't wait to read People of Sparks, the second one in The City of Ember trilogy ( there is a prequel but I'm not counting it as, I don't want to read it ). I haven't watched the movie, because, well, after a couple days after reading the first one, I didn't know there was a movie ! Now I want to watch the movie. I hope People of Sparks, is going to have a movie. I also hope it is good, because based on the first one, I most definitely, strongly think it is. Read this adventure that leads out of Ember, and a big place in your heart ( maybe it will, maybe it won't ).
Date published: 2016-07-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great-The City of Ember This book is reqlly great! My teacher in grade 4 read my class thid book-it is great for a classrom setting.
Date published: 2015-01-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Perfect for Education As a teacher I have found this book to be perfect fo use within the English sphere. I created a unit novel study oased on this book where the students learn about the major themes within the novel. Government and enviroment are primarly the main focus of the unit. The novel is light but packs a powerful message. I hope that this book will be allowed to be taught within the classroom primarly within the grade 9 sphere.
Date published: 2014-06-30
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A bit too childish There's a good idea in here, but the storytelling never takes off for me.
Date published: 2013-05-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from City of Ember This book was great. I loved the drama and action. Can't wait for people of sparks!! :-)
Date published: 2013-04-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of the best dystopians out there. My friends have asked me to write a review for this book as it is one of my all-time-favourites. This was my very first dystopian novel and I fell head over heels for it. This book made me realize I loved this genre, much like when Shannon Hale and Patricia C. Wrede made me realize I loved fantasy novels. The world of Ember was somewhere I have never seen (read) before. Every thing was like a puzzle and it kept me guessing. Beautiful world building and I cannot express my love for this entire series. Dystopian lovers, this should be a must-read for you guys.
Date published: 2012-08-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from loved it A really good book. It was an easy read but I did not want to put it down. I had to know what was going to happen to the citizens of Ember.It is very different from the normal Earth stories you read. There is a book 2 which i will most definitely buy! :) The movie was just as good as the book!
Date published: 2010-07-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful Series! I picked this book up at my local library and loved it so much that I had to go out and buy the rest of the books at the bookstore because I couldn't wait for them at the library!
Date published: 2010-05-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from i loved this book k, so, this booook was 1 of my favorite books ever! i have read the whole series now ans i have loved them all, if u get confused as y they are under ground, just keep reading, it will tell you everything in the people of sparks (next book) and the prophet of yonwood ( prequil)
Date published: 2010-04-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Electrifyingly Good! The idea of a place like Ember is frightening. From the beginning of the book, the reader is aware of the physical seclusion and isolation of the city of Ember and its citizens. Seclusion from what, however, the reader does not know. The “Builders” of Ember manufactured the city a long time ago, but the reader doesn’t learn why until the end of the book by reading a journal left by one of the first citizens of Ember. The reader also learns immediately about the important instructions the “Builders” have left for when the city expires, that is, the calculated amount of time when Ember’s citizens are supposed to exit the city. This is because of the calculation of when supplies will run out and also how long it will take for the “new world” to be safe. Through the adventures of the books two main characters, Doon Harrow and Lina Mayfleet, “The City of Ember” is a prelude to something more. It details the discovery of the accidentally lost instructions and how two 12 year olds put the pieces back together to find out how to exit the city and hopefully save the people they know and love, as planned out by their ancestors. This book also addresses issues of conservation, minimalistic living, and is very much about appreciating the abundance that the world we live in has to offer. This book also ended on a great note, leaving the reader wanting answers but not feeling unsatisfied. While the writing and dialogue is simple, it doesn’t lack good storytelling. This book may have been better if written for an older audience, but is entertaining nonetheless.
Date published: 2009-08-08
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A good and interesting read It’s certainly a very different world. Ember is a dying city where blackouts happen frequently and no one has ever ventured into “Unknown Regions” because it’s all darkness and there’s no such thing as portable light. It’s hard to describe the city but it’s one where everything seems to be recycled. Even scrap wood parts and pieces of yarn because they have a limited amount of supplies and it’s dwindling fast (pencil crayons go for premium here!). It’s certainly hard to imagine a city such as this where they don’t even know what candles are (you’ll see if you read this book). There’s a lot of mystery and unanswered questions, naturally as this is the first book. However I think it’s a great buildup of action and intrigue that makes it a great fast read. It’s certainly a quick one, as I started last Sunday and haven’t picked it up until today and finished it all. It certainly was interesting enough to go through an entire evening reading. I think it’s because the setting is different and there’s enough plot to keep your interested. The characters are likable enough as the two main ones (Lina and Doon are very outspoken and individualistic which makes them stand out from the rest of them). I think it’s rather nice to just have two central characters in this book, too many would have ruined it and would have made things all muddle and confusing. Be sure to pick this book up if you’re into something different!
Date published: 2009-07-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Perfect! The city of Ember is a one of kind book. First of the topic: they live underground and the world has ended on the surface COOL! Soo anyways the books starts off on constuction day, where the 2 builders are discussing the City's future. They decide to leave instuctions in a time lock which will automatically open in 220 years. In the lock are instructions on how to exit the city. Each mayor has to keep it it a secret and pass it down to the next mayor, but when the seventh mayor tries to open it, he dies and the lock is left hidden in a closet for 240 years. It is Graduation day in the city of Ember, and the kids have to pick out jobs, Lina pulls out the job as pipeworks labourer and Doon picks out the job as messenger. Doon trades with Lina, because in the pipeworks is the generator, and Doon has some ideas on how to fix it. When Lina finds a piece of paper with strange clues she decides it could be important. Doon and Lina discover that the paper is instuctions on how to exit the City. While figuring this out they discover the Mayor has been keeping supplies for himself. They tell the people but are wanted for "spreading viciuos rumors". Before they leave the city Lina takes her little sister Poppy with them. They leave on a boat by the river and discover the surface world. They discover that Ember was underground all along. Lina and Doon write a note and send a note with the instructions on how to leave the city with a rock. Down at Ember Ms.Murdo finds the note..... It's the perfect debut for the books of Ember :]
Date published: 2009-04-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The City of Ember This heart warming tale kept me wanting more! It's a great book indeed! I personally suggest renting the movie first, for the book is a little harder to follow, but the book is way better than the movie in many ways! For example, the book goes much more in-depth at times, and let's you image the characters rather than having a pre-selected image. In comparison to other books it is definitely one to buy! It's science fiction that would interest everybody. Unlike most science fiction, in which is extremely out there, this book stays down to earth, keeping all logic still there, and only adding somewhat unrealistic concepts on the rare occasions. In regards to the over all plot, the story is very original! I've never seen a book with such an interesting concept! There are similar books I've read, in the sense that it is a race against time to save the human race, but this is the first time I've seen the problem being on shortages of items needed to live and not about monsters trying to kill! In conclusion, I highly suggest this book! I think it deserves a full 5 star rating! I, indeed, LOVED this book! Thanks for reading, and I hope that you enjoy the book as much as I did if you ever read it!
Date published: 2009-04-09
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Revision I reread the book and this time payed very close atention to the words. I found I got much more out of the book this time. So if you decide to read it make sure you take your time.
Date published: 2009-04-03
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not The Greatest I enjoyed the book throughly. It had a very good plotline. Tho very interesting it was quite perdictanble. I had read the second book before I read this so I had an idea of what was going to happen. I found this book to be a bit more childish than the second. I would recomend it to people from the ages of 8-12. ( But I'm not a book cridict I'm just a person who enjoyed the book).
Date published: 2009-04-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Cooooool Booooooook This was an amazing book about some cool kids in a genesis society. I really enjoyed it because it is an amazing story about mystery and poverty and pain. But also happiness, triumph, and valor. But I would not reccomend the movie because it is absolutely foolish, and does the book no justice. This is a great book, though, and I highly reccomend it.
Date published: 2009-04-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Not Bad The City of Ember has a good plotline, and was written quite well, and I found it to be enjoyable. But I did find the story to be more for a younger group of people, and that the majority of the story was quite predictable, although the story still had some curveballs to throw the reader off. If you have a child or a young relative or friend, I suggest this book as a gift. I think the book does not do well to make it appear as a good book, despite the great characters. I think a passage of the writing on the back cover would make more people pick it up. Overall, this book was quite good.
Date published: 2009-04-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from enthralling this was an ammazing book!!! i jsut recently watched the movie and it did no justice whast so ever. i eman tehy didn't even get the ending right. so if you;ve watched the movie and have'nt read the book i suggest the book cause its a million tiems better :)
Date published: 2009-02-08
Rated 3 out of 5 by from I hear the movie is equally enjoyable. Doon and Lina have just graduated from their final year of school at the age of 12, and consequently experience the right of passage bestowed upon all the people of Ember at this stage; Assignment Day. They receive their jobs from the mayor and set out to do their civic duties as many others before them, but when Lina stumbles across a message that appears to be from ‘the Builders,’ creators of the City of Ember, it is clear that theirs is a much more burdened fate. The City of Ember is a fascinating tale of a dystopian society, where a young boy and girl in all of their bravery and desperation, work together to try and save their beloved people from a looming eternal darkness. This being the first Book of Ember in a series that currently consists of four, all questions were not answered by its completion, but I look forward to moving on to the second book and unravelling more of the saga.
Date published: 2009-01-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absolutely Great! This was so good! It may not look very good and if my English teacher hadn't made us read it....I would have never read it. The cover is so dull and the description on the back wasn't that capturing. But the book was just amazing! I love the characters, Doon and Lina and the setting in Ember. Some parts of the book was sort of predictable and some parts just came like...BOOM! I had no idea it was coming. My favourite part was when Doon and Lina was decoding the letter on chapter thirteen. It was so cool and I was decoding some of the message myself and guessed sometimes very similar to what Lina or Doon guessed, and sometimes I was way off. But if you ever have no book to read or you're bored, READ THIS BOOK! You will not regret it for sure!!
Date published: 2008-10-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from "Underground Fantasy!" In the city of Ember,the people have always thought their city was the only light in the world. There's a boy and girl called Lina and Doon. As the lights of the city begin to flicker on and off,everyone becomes desperate. Later in the book,Lina finds a piece of paper with holes that seems to be the only way out of the city.Doon and Lina then works hard to decipher it. But as they plan to announce it to everyone,some unexpecting things happens......
Date published: 2008-10-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Underground for a very long time Doon and Lina, start working at the age of twelve...All the kids start working at that age in the city of Ember. They were once great friends but not anymore until Lina finds something she thinks is important to save the city of Ember from dying out quickly. They have to work together to decipher the mysterious words...Will Ember die off so easily? This book will take you on a magical and wondrous journey and tell you all about life worth consuming anything...nothing is wasted.
Date published: 2008-10-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fabulous book - very interesting premise. The cool thing about this book is that as readers if we read the blurb about the book we pretty much know that these people are living in a city underground but the characters in the book don't know that! Ember has been around for over 200 years so the people alive today don't know anything different. The sky is black all the time. You only know it's day time when the clock strikes 6 am and the lights get turned on. But Ember is starting to run out of things - food, pencils, even lightbulbs!! The story follows two 12 year olds - Lina (girl) and Doon (boy) (and they each get their own chapters so boys and girls would enjoy it) as they try to help Ember. Lina finds a secret message and they set out on a gigantic adventure. And we the reader learn a little bit more about their lifestyle every step of the way. It is a fabulous book and I can't wait to read the next one.
Date published: 2008-02-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very intresting! i thought it was a good book!
Date published: 2008-02-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A great Book This book is a very well written book. It has an original concept and has a lot of events leading up to the concluson. The author does a great job making the book like a ladder and each rung has a seperate event. I would recomend this book to anyone that is in grade 4 or higher.
Date published: 2008-01-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very Exciting! Even if you don't find the cover attractive, unlike me, don't hesitate to pick it up from the shelf. This is an absolutely amazing book. The characters are interesting, and it is written in a very new way, descriptive but simple.
Date published: 2007-12-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from FANTASTIC I would give this book a 10 out of 10 for interest. It was fantastic, hooking and suspenseful. With the perfect balance of imagination vs. reality and world issues, Jeanne Duprau has written 2 sequels. Be sure to read 'the people of the sparks' and 'the prophet of yonwood'. All highly recomended for kids ages 8-12
Date published: 2006-12-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from great book! this was a wonderful book!! when i firstpicked it up i was in a rush and didnt expect much from it. man was i wrong!!!! it's a very mysterious book and i cant wait to get to the book store to buy the people of sparks!!!
Date published: 2006-08-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read! I may not qualify in the 9-12 range, but this book was fantastic. It really makes you think about how our own world is today, and whether or not this could happen to us. A great read and a great series!
Date published: 2006-07-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Amazing This book was spectacular. It was more realistic than I thought, with realistic problems. It also showed the face of corruption that would most likely occur in dire circumstances like that. The book was well written and surpirsingly realistic. Even though it did not answer the question of why the City was created. Very well written. Highly reccomended.
Date published: 2006-06-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best book ever!! I think that this book is absolutely amazing! I think this is the best book i have ever read! In this book Lina and Doon get stuck in problems but the way they solve them are amazing!! When i finished this book i knew i had to read it again! I think that Jeanne Duprau is a genious to come up with such a great storyline for young readers to follow. I would recommend everyone to read this amazing book!
Date published: 2006-06-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from the city of ember This book is absolutely amazing. It kept me hanging off the seat the whole time. Once I finished reading it, i knew i needed to get the second one, and quick! The problems that Lina and Doon get into, and the way they solve them, are very interesting. I recommened getting the book, it is amazing, how two kids could do so much. It's a great book. :)
Date published: 2005-07-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Truly Interesting and Captivating I can not wait to read the sequel! This book contained so much imagination and interesting plots it was wonderful. The underground city of Ember was a very very well thought up city and it had everything. Even the unkown regions. Doon Harrow and Lina Mayfleet are well made characters and make a great pair in fighting against the mayors scandals. This book made me eager to turn the page and read what would happen next. Everything would fall into place with clues and hints of how to get out of Ember, the failing city. Slowly but surely the pair find clues as to how to get out, clues that are un noticable until later in the story and are quite tricky to put together. Everything that happens is so interesting and never boring or predictable. An excellent read!
Date published: 2005-03-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Something for everyone! This is a good book! It's a little short and the ending is a cliffhanger that would annoy some people, but overall it's pretty great. There's a sequel happily so you won't be left hanging for too long! It has a face-paced plot with characters that are easy to relate to.
Date published: 2004-12-07

Read from the Book

The InstructionsWhen the city of Ember was just built and not yet inhabited, the Chief Builder and the Assistant Builder, both of them weary, sat down to speak of the future.“They must not leave the city for at least two hundred years,” said the Chief Builder. “Or perhaps two hundred and twenty.”“Is that long enough?” asked his Assistant.“It should be. We can’t know for sure.”“And when the time comes,” said the Assistant, “how will they know what to do?”“We’ll provide them with instructions, of course,” the Chief Builder replied.“But who will keep the instructions? Who can we trust to keep them safe and secret all that time?”“The mayor of the city will keep the instructions,” said the Chief Builder. “We’ll put them in a box with a timed lock, set to open on the proper date.”“And will we tell the mayor what’ s in the box?” the Assistant asked.“No, just that it’s information they won’t need and must not see until the box opens of its own accord.”“So the first mayor will pass the box to the next mayor, and that one to the next, and so on down through the years, all of them keeping it secret, all that time?”“What else can we do?” asked the Chief Builder. “Nothing about this endeavor is certain. There may be no one left in the city by then or no safe place for them to come back to.”So the first mayor of Ember was given the box, told to guard it carefully, and solemnly sworn to secrecy. When she grew old, and her time as mayor was up, she explained about the box to her successor, who also kept the secret carefully, as did the next mayor. Things went as planned for many years. But the seventh mayor of Ember was less honorable than the ones who’d come before him, and more desperate. He was ill–he had the coughing sickness that was common in the city then–and he thought the box might hold a secret that would save his life. He took it from its hiding place in the basement of the Gathering Hall and brought it home with him, where he attacked it with a hammer.But his strength was failing by then. All he managed to do was dent the lid a little. And before he could return the box to its official hiding place or tell his successor about it, he died. The box ended up at the back of a closet, shoved behind some old bags and bundles. There it sat, unnoticed, year after year, until its time arrived, and the lock quietly clicked open.Chapter 1Assignment DayIn the city of Ember, the sky was always dark. The only light came from great floodlamps mounted on the buildings and at the tops of poles in the middle of the larger squares. When the lights were on, they cast a yellowish glow over the streets; people walking by threw long shadows that shortened and then stretched out again. When the lights were off, as they were between nine at night and six in the morning, the city was so dark that people might as well have been wearing blindfolds.Sometimes darkness fell in the middle of the day. The city of Ember was old, and everything in it, including the power lines, was in need of repair. So now and then the lights would flicker and go out. These were terrible moments for the people of Ember. As they came to a halt in the middle of the street or stood stock still in their houses, afraid to move in the utter blackness, they were reminded of something they preferred not to think about: that some day the lights of the city might go out and never come back on.But most of the time life proceeded as it always had. Grown people did their work, and younger people, until they reached the age of twelve, went to school. On the last day of their final year, which was called Assignment Day, they were given jobs to do.The graduating students occupied Room 8 of the Ember School. On Assignment Day of the year 241, this classroom, usually noisy first thing in the morning, was completely silent. All twenty-four students sat upright and still in the desks they had grown too big for. They were waiting.The desks were arranged in four rows of six, one behind the other. In the last row sat a slender girl named Lina Mayfleet. She was winding a strand of her long, dark hair around her finger, winding and unwinding it again and again. Sometimes she plucked at a loose thread on her ragged cape or bent over to pull on her socks, which were loose and tended to slide down around her ankles. One of her feet tapped the floor softly.In the second row was a boy named Doon Harrow. He sat with his shoulders hunched, his eyes squeezed shut in concentration, and his hands clasped tightly together. His hair looked rumpled, as if he hadn’t combed it for a while. He had dark, thick eyebrows, which made him look serious at the best of times, and when he was anxious or angry came together to form a straight line across his forehead. His brown corduroy jacket was so old that its ridges had flattened out.Both the girl and the boy were making urgent wishes. Doon’s wish was very specific. He repeated it over and over again, his lips moving slightly, as if he could make it come true by saying it a thousand times. Lina was making her wish in pictures rather than in words. In her mind’s eye, she saw herself running through the streets of the city in a red jacket. She made this picture as bright and real as she could.

Editorial Reviews

USA Today "DuPrau’s first foray into fiction creates a realistic post-apocalyptic world. Reminiscent of Robert O'Brien's Z for Zachariah, DuPrau’s book leaves Doon and Lina on the verge of the undiscovered country and readers wanting more." Starred Review, Publishers Weekly"Thanks to full-blooded characters every bit as compelling as the plot, Lina and Doon’s search parallels the universal adolescent quest for answers. An electric debut!" Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews "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 likeable protagonists are not only courageous but also believably flawed by human pride. The cliffhanger ending will leave readers clamoring for the next installment." Starred Review, Voice of Youth Advocates "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." The Horn Book Magazine "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."An ALA Notable Children’s Book A Kirkus Reviews Editors’ Choice A New York Public Library 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing SelectionFrom the Hardcover edition.