Publication Date: 2004
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.
I'm woefully behind the times when it comes to this series. I first saw this book in a display my local indie had set up to celebrate Mockingjay's release. I picked it up, saw the detailed map at the front of the book, and stared at it for some time. I love books with such detail about the setting, they really make you feel like you're part of the story. When I told my mother about the book (as we tend to talk about what we've been reading) she told me she'd read it years ago! Oh well. We can't always be ahead of the times!
The City of Ember is a quick, fast-paced read. I loved the way the the author describes how the city is run, and the various jobs everyone has. I really enjoyed how tension rippled across the city as the citizens suffered from shortages and blackouts. What is more terrifying than living in an underground city that's running out of light bulbs? Or worse than that, the generator that powers the city breaking down? You're there with Lina and Doon as they're living it, and once I reached the middle of this book, the tension was so high that I couldn't put it down, I had to know what happened!
I bought then next book in the series, The People of Sparks: The Second Book of Ember (Books of Ember) and can't wait to find out how this series plays out.