When I first heard of Jeanne DuPrau’s books, I thought that The People of Sparks was the first book. Unfortunately, I was wrong. After I listened to that entire book, I was not sure that I really wanted to take the time to go back and read (or listen to) it’s prequel. I figured that knowing the ending was good enough. But, thanks to a coworker who (respectfully) told me I was wrong, I finally decided to go back and see what happened. Boy, was I glad I listened!
In this first Book of Ember, we are introduced to the underground city of Ember. This city was created by “the builders” as a post-apocalypse settlement to ensure the survival of mankind. Stocked with all of the essentials — i.e. food, clothing, and lots of lightbulbs — this civilization was supposed to last at least 220 years. By that time, the world should be inhabitable again, and the people should be able to go back out into the world.
So, what’s the problem? Instructions for leaving the city have been locked into a timed safe… and the safe has been lost. No one even knows it exists anymore. Between power failures and dwindling supplies, many of the residents of Ember — like our main characters Lina and Doon — are getting nervous and trying to find their own way out. But, without “movable light,” will they ever manage to survive travel through the dark Unknown Regions?