The City of Ember (Books of Ember Series #1)

The City of Ember (Books of Ember Series #1)

by Jeanne DuPrau

Paperback(Reissue)

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Overview

Ember is the only light in a dark world. But when its lamps begin to flicker, two friends must race to escape the dark. This highly acclaimed adventure series is a modern-day classic—with over 4 MILLION copies sold!
 
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 dim. When Lina finds part of an ancient message, she’s sure it holds a secret that will save the city. Now, she and her friend Doon must race to figure out the clues to keep the lights on. If they succeed, they will have to convince everyone to follow them into danger. But if they fail? The lights will burn out and the darkness will close in forever.
 
Nominated to 28 State Award Lists!
An American Library Association Notable Children’s Book
A New York Public Library 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing Selection
A Kirkus Reviews Editors’ Choice
A Child Magazine Best Children’s Book
A Mark Twain Award Winner
A William Allen White Children’s Book Award Winner
 
“A realistic post-apocalyptic world. DuPrau’s book leaves Doon and Lina on the verge of undiscovered country and readers wanting more.” —USA Today
 
“An electric debut.” —Publishers Weekly, Starred
 
“While Ember is colorless and dark, the book itself is rich with description.” —VOYA, Starred
 
“A harrowing journey into the unknown, and cryptic messages for readers to decipher.” —Kirkus Reviews, Starred

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780375822742
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 05/25/2004
Series: The City of Ember Series , #1
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 1,228
Product dimensions: 7.70(w) x 10.92(h) x 0.71(d)
Lexile: 680L (what's this?)
Age Range: 9 - 12 Years

About the Author

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.

Read an Excerpt

The City of Ember


By Jeanne DuPrau

Random House

Jeanne DuPrau
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0807220752


Chapter One

The Instructions
When 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 1
Assignment Day
In 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.


From the Trade Paperback edition.


Excerpted from The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Reading Group Guide

1. Doon and Lina like very different things. Doon wants to work in the Pipeworks; Lina yearns to be a messenger. Doon likes to study how things work. Lina likes to run and explore. But their friendship grows because they are ultimately searching for the same thing. How do they complement one another and help one another develop through the novel?

2. Earth today has many environmental and social issues. What sort of problems could have led to the building of the City of Ember?

3. Clary tells Lina, “Everyone has some darkness inside.” (p. 168) Light and color both play very key roles in the novel. In what ways, other than the failing street lamps, are color and light important?

4. The possibility of never-ending darkness changes many of Lina’s friends and many of the townspeople. She discovers that her friend Lizzie has begun to accept things from Looper, who is stealing things from the storerooms. Why does Lina turn down the gifts that Lizzie offers her? Do you think that she was right to do so?

5. The city of Ember was built when people were worried that the human race might not survive. Do you think this was a good plan?

6. The mayor is the most corrupt character in the novel. He squelches the thirst for knowledge and limits freedom, yet the majority of the townspeople just accept his behavior. Why do you think they act this way? What other actions might they have taken?

7. People react in various ways when they feel threatened. How do the people of Ember react to danger? Have you seen people reacting to danger in these ways? How are Poppy’s actions important to the plot?

8. At the end of the novel, Lina, Doon, and Poppy have discovered a sunlit earth. What do you think will become of them in the sequel? Do you think that there are other people on the surface?

Foreword

1. Doon and Lina like very different things. Doon wants to work in the Pipeworks; Lina yearns to be a messenger. Doon likes to study how things work. Lina likes to run and explore. But their friendship grows because they are ultimately searching for the same thing. How do they complement one another and help one another develop through the novel?

2. Earth today has many environmental and social issues. What sort of problems could have led to the building of the City of Ember?

3. Clary tells Lina, “Everyone has some darkness inside.” (p. 168) Light and color both play very key roles in the novel. In what ways, other than the failing street lamps, are color and light important?

4. The possibility of never-ending darkness changes many of Lina’s friends and many of the townspeople. She discovers that her friend Lizzie has begun to accept things from Looper, who is stealing things from the storerooms. Why does Lina turn down the gifts that Lizzie offers her? Do you think that she was right to do so?

5. The city of Ember was built when people were worried that the human race might not survive. Do you think this was a good plan?

6. The mayor is the most corrupt character in the novel. He squelches the thirst for knowledge and limits freedom, yet the majority of the townspeople just accept his behavior. Why do you think they act this way? What other actions might they have taken?

7. People react in various ways when they feel threatened. How do the people of Ember react to danger? Have you seen people reacting to danger in these ways? How are Poppy’s actions important to the plot?

8. At the end of the novel, Lina, Doon, andPoppy have discovered a sunlit earth. What do you think will become of them in the sequel? Do you think that there are other people on the surface?

Customer Reviews

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The City of Ember (Books of Ember Series #1) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1599 reviews.
Julie_Price More than 1 year ago
Great story with colorful characters. Liked it a lot and days later I still hadn't forgotten it, nor have the kids and one of them is a fussy reader. Have recommended it to everyone.
Reads_a_lot More than 1 year ago
Okay, okay, I admit it. I watched the movie first. But in my defense...okay, I have no defense. Anyway, I read the book, too, and I found both absolutely amazing. It was a fantastic book, and I can't wait to get started on the rest of the series! I recommend this book to anyone, of any age!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
i loved the way the book all of a sudden just grabbed my attention! It was like i was really there with the characters and everything. It made me feel like i just couldn't stop reading(which for me is unusual)it. I just wanted to tear through the book and read even more! It held my attention so well and made me want kind of want to be there with the characters!
AnnaCatherine More than 1 year ago
in year 2012 there is a breakout of the 3 plauges and 4 wars. That is when congress meets up and decides the only way to save the human race is to build an underground city, completly cut off from the rest of the world and keep people there for 220 years with all the suplies they will need in that time and no more, and a locked box containing instuctions for a way out of ember. In year 241 the peole are running out of everything and it lies in the hands of two twelve year olds to find the long missing instrucions and save the people of Ember.
Styx249 More than 1 year ago
A great book is on selfs near you. Its none other than the city of Ember by Jeanne Duprau. This great novel follows Lina Mayfleet and Doon on an amazing journey to save the underground city; Ember. This book will easily get you into the story, and the vivid descriptions help alot.I would recommend this book for ages 10-15. See ya! ;)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
THIS BOOK IS SO GOOD! YOU HAVE TO BUY IT! THE CITY OF EMBER ROXS! I RECOMMEND IT TO EVERYONE!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was so good and i would highly recommend this to anyone with an imagination.This is the best thing science murder on the menu!!!Please read this you wont regret it!!!
Kbmartie More than 1 year ago
This book is unlike any other because of the setting. I recommend this to everyone especially children!
Jaylynn Valdez More than 1 year ago
I read this when i was 9 after i doind it in the library and couldnt put it down!! :)
Kelly Thompson More than 1 year ago
One of the best book I have ever read. very very good. very adventurous. love it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story takes place in the city of ember. The city in always dark, with only tall floodlamps to lead the way. While they are going through old things in a closet, lina finds a note. Her younger sister poppy has been chewing it up. She reads it. She must figure out what the words are. They are instructions for saving everyone's life and abandoning the city forever. Her and her friend doon ddecide to follow the path. They find a small stell panel in the pipeworks below their city. Behinnd it is a key, which unlocks a door on the riverbanks. They open the door and go inside. They find a boat equipped with candles, matches, and a set of padddles. They climb down a nearby riverbank ladder. They place their boat in the water and climb in. It brings them to crazy rapids. It eventually slows down, and they are lead up a long path and innto a new city, one where light comes from the sky and they dont need to worry about lightbulbs anymore. They explore it. They find a large cliff and they see their city in a big black hole. This was a very inspiring book with an insane ending. I would give it thousands of stars if i could.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great adventure read. Also it's kind of a mystery.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
City of ember is an amazing book to all kids (and adults) that love THE HUNGER GAMES and GREGOR THE OVERLANDER series. Amazing characters, great plot, but some parts you have to be prepared for, are slow. Overall great book! P.S never watch the movie though, its terrible
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ithought this book was very colorful, even thought ember has no color. It took me less than a day to finish and i cant wait to read the seqel. Lina and Doon, the main charectors, have to find a escape out of their desprate city. It definatly makes u think about what will happen next. Read it!!
Ladybug246 More than 1 year ago
i love this book! it takes you through an amazeing advinture and exitment and this is comeing from a 12 year old
Desire- More than 1 year ago
I read the book The Book of Ember. This book is a great book; there are 4 books in the series. I liked this one the best. My favorite character is Lina and Doon. They are smart, optimistic characters! They look for a way to keep the electricity going away! They find something much more intriguing! I really enjoy this book! This book is super great action packed book and I think anyone would like it! I think this book was really neat! The people live underground, which I have never heard of! I like how they make it forbidden for people to leave. The mayor was kind of creepy! I thought the box that poppy ripped was super neat! I think they will get out but im not sure!! I bet the people of Sparks(the name of the next book( will be super surprised to see people coming out of the ground! I know I would be. I really hope if you get this book that you will enjoy it! Have a great time reading!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book got me going from the minute i read the back it is now one of my absolute FAVORITE books i totaly recomend this book to everybody
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a really good book and i highly suggest this book. It takes a few chapters to get good but once it does you will kick your legs with anticipation.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've seen some of the movie at school but it was stolen so we didn't to see the rest. I sorta liked it but wasn't convinced. Is it good???????
Elizabeth Cisewski More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing!!!! It's full of adventure! There's even a movie and this book is part of a series read them all!!!!!!!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I got a hold of this title by chance in a pre-release copy, and I am very happy I did! The setting for the book is unusual (always nice to find a new kind of alternate world!) and described in detail with words that make you feel like you understand what it would be like to live there. The main characters are well fleshed out and very sympathetic, with a great supporting cast of interesting and varied characters. The plot is straightforward but not predictable, with just the right kind of twists and turns. I very much enjoyed this book. Although it is aimed at a younger audience, adults and teens might like it as well as it has a blend of fantasy, adventure, and mystery all in one. If you enjoy reading Philip Pullman, JK Rowling, and the C.S. Lewis Narnia books, you definitely want to try 'The City of Ember'. It is a great fantasy story, and I'm very much looking forward to the sequel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My teacher ms smith reading started to read me this- i liked it so i had to buy it!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book The City of Ember, written by Jeanne DuPrau, takes place in a dying town that is running out of food and energy. The main characters of the book are Lina and Doon who are young, brave risk-takers that want to save the city of Ember. In the beginning of the book Lina does not have a goal, but in the middle of the story she is determined to find the meaning of the Instructions and discover the solution to Ember's problems. On the other hand, Doon's goal is to fix the generator so there will not be any more blackouts. Their big goal is to save the people of Ember. Lina accomplishes her goal by working ambitiously to figure out the clues to her puzzle. Doon explores the Pipeworks, but is not able to fix the generator. However, he is able to help Lina find out the meaning of the clues. Doon and Lina are challenged by their selfish mayor and the stubborn people of Ember. The City of Ember is not the type of book I thought it would be; I thought it was going to have some romance, drama, and more than one storyline. Romance, to me, is when a boy and a girl show their feelings for each other. Instead of Lina and Doon having a romantic relationship, they have a very close friendship and help each other when they try to find the way out of the city of Ember. Lina and Doon talk about how they are running out of supplies and how the mayor is stealing all the food. What I would like to see in a book is more drama, for example, people growing up in tough neighborhoods or being members of gangs. Another reason why I didn't like The City of Ember is because it only has one storyline. Doon and Lina only talk about the Instructions and how to get out of Ember. They also talk about how they need more materials and how there are always blackouts. Instead, there could have been a person in a deep situation that she could not handle, like a teenager having a child at a young age. I did not like this book, but someone else may like it. I would recommend it to a person who likes mysteries and adventures.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I LOVE The City Of Ember you should buy it NOW! Don't watch the movie first it ruinds it ALL
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Verry good book. Iam on the third book. I love the series. It is verry intertaining.