Centuries ago, a group of people fled to escape an impending disaster, one believed to be big enough to wipe out the human race. They founded Ember, an underground community, and withdrew entirely into their city.
Now, the people of Ember have forgotten about the above ground world- as their ancestors intended. For generations, they have been safe inside their underground city, with immense storerooms of lights and food stocked away. But the stocks are low, and the lights have begun to flicker.
Lina Mayfleet doesn’t think much about the blackouts or the food shortages. At twelve years old, she is at the age to start working, and she is excited and nervous about the job she will be given. She desperately wants to be a messenger, free to run the streets and alleys of Ember. To her disappointment, she draws Pipeworks laborer, which means she will work in the dank tunnels underground.
Doon Harrow is worried about the blackouts- and thinks he has the knowledge to prevent them! When he draws messenger, he asks Lina to trade, giving them both the jobs they want.
But it will take more than a simple repair to save Ember…
The City of Ember is a great read, though with a cliffhanger ending. Sadly, The Prophet of Yonwood (the prequel) and The People of Sparks (the first sequel) weren’t quite as satisfying, and I have yet to read The Diamond of Darkhold. The City of Ember has also been made into a movie, but as I haven’t watched it, I cannot pass judgement on it.