10 January 2014

Book Feels

The City of Ember - Jeanne DuPrau
Taken from MTV

Published: March 13, 2003
Kindle Edition
290 pages
Book 1
Children / Dystopian

On Tuesday night I stayed up to read this, on account of the Bout of Books 9.0 challenge.
I'd previously started reading after I'd watched the film, but was reading Daylighters at the time. I decided to wait until a later date to finish it. Here's the overview from the Goodreads page:
Many hundreds of years ago, the city of Ember was created by the Builders to contain everything needed for human survival. It worked - but now the storerooms are almost out of food, crops are blighted, corruption is spreading through the city and worst of all - the lights are failing. Soon Ember could be engulfed by darkness-But when two children, Lina and Doon, discover fragments of an ancient parchment, they begin to wonder if there could be a way out of Ember. Can they decipher the words from long ago and find a new future for everyone? Will the people of Ember listen to them?
I really loved the film, and the book was just as great.
It was really easy to read, and I just flew through the pages. Though it's aimed at younger readers, it's definitely a "must-read" book, and one of the first I hope to suggest to my future children. I can't wait to start the next one and find out what happens to Doon and Lina.

There were quite a few differences from the film which made it more age appropriate. Parts which would and maybe should have ended in a climactic showdown between the dynamic duo and the antagonists were childproofed. This doesn't make me like it any less, though.
The adventure aspect stays strong throughout. DuPrau throws in a red herring, but the journey continues with relative ease. In fact, it was so easy for them to escape that I was looking over my proverbial shoulder for the last two or three chapters because it seemed so likely that something would go wrong.

This is one of the few times where I would have preferred to read the book first. I think the film adds a kind of danger which is missing but not missed, if you know what I mean.
As I said, I can't wait to read the sequel. I hope the target audience hasn't changed between the two books because I would like as easy and pleasant a read from The People of Sparks.
What a brilliant story.

I found it quite inspiring, actually, because I was going to write a post apocalyptic story set underground for Nanowrimo. Unfortunately, I bogged myself down in the details and ultimately gave up. This book has made me realise that you don't need to iron out every little wrinkle, especially with characters or an audience of a younger age who maybe wouldn't care about that. Otherwise she would have explained how tinned food lasted 200 years, or how plants grew without sunlight, or how oxygen was obtained and circulated to a population of 417 (a figure taken from the Wikipedia page for The People of Sparks).
Next year, I'll know better.

Have you read this book? Did you like it as much as I did, or were you disappointed? Let me know.

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