The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau, 270 pages
young adult challenge; genre: sci-fi
I haven't seen the movie. From the pictures inside (I have the book published after the movie, including scenes from the movie) the movie looks much more fantastic than the book. The book however, is a great suspenseful read, and doesn't need any jazzing up. Why do we enjoy a suspense in a book that would translate in a movie to not enough suspense?
Lina and Doon, age twelve, are receiving their assignments for jobs in the City of Ember, reminiscent of The Giver. It seems like a more primitive society, with little in the way of supplies, as if this town has been surviving on a fixed amount of materials. Everything is reworked and recycled. Electricity is limited and unreliable. Doon trades jobs with Lina to be able to work underground in the Pipeworks, hoping to be able to make the Generator more dependable, even if no one really knows how electricity works. Lina works as a messenger and gets to see all different places in the city.
Something is not quite right, as there are black market goods - canned peaches! available to some people, while the rest of them are surviving on the few vegetables grown in the greenhouse. Lina discovers some Instructions, that sends her and Doon on a chase to escape from Ember. The book is really a part of a trilogy, as the first book ends, but sets up a whole other story, that I can't wait to read. My son has the next two books, and I'll get to them soon!
It's a book where the reader can guess some things that Lina and Doon have no clue about, and the mystery is in them figuring out where they are, and for the reader, how this all happened. Lina and Doon get some of their questions answered, the reader only somewhat, necessitating the next book to find out why this has all happened.