Parents' Guide to

The City of Ember

By Matt Berman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Part fantasy, part mystery, part treasure hunt.

The City of Ember Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 8+

Based on 14 parent reviews

age 8+

This title has:

Educational value
age 8+

Interesting book for our current times

This book is a nice segue into resource issues that today's youth will likely face and be forced to confront as they become adults. The concept that things are limited is a reality, even basic fresh water and fresh air. Books inspire solutions, so hopefully this one does too. Maybe humans need to live underground, so that Earth has a chance to heal itself...

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (14):
Kids say (82):

Part dystopian fantasy, part mystery, part code-breaking treasure hunt, this is an intriguing story. Deciphering the clues from the damaged instructions will keep readers guessing, despite some predictable plot twists in the center section, and they will be rooting for the appealing main characters.

While lacking the complexity or moral ambiguity of The Giver, City of Ember has its own unique features: It's a city designed not to be a utopia, but rather to hold the remnants of humanity safe and isolated for a fixed period, then release them. The problem comes when the release doesn't happen, no one knows that it should have, and the city is past its expiration date. A fascinating scenario -- and a perfect set up for the sequel as well as the remaining books in the series.

Book Details

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