A Post-Apocalyptic MG book that refused to disappear into the back of my brain.
The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau, read by Wendy Dillon, published by Listening Library (2004) / Length: 7 hrs 6 min
This is Book #1 in the completed "Book of Ember" trilogy, all of which are available on audio.
The first time I listened to this book, I enjoyed it but wasn't really that impressed. I did not add it to the list of books I was considering buying. However, after the second time I re-borrowed it from the library and listened again, I realized that there was just something about the characters and their story that appealed to me. The next time a deal was available, I snapped it up.
Lina: She is bright and active. She tries to get adult help when she believes she has found a way out of their predicament. And she doesn't give up the first time it doesn't work. I also like how she takes care of her grandmother & little sister.
Doon: He is moody and active. He doesn't understand why more people aren't trying to fix their problems. However, he has a deep need to be special & to receive recognition. This causes him to avoid opportunities to share what they've found.
I like that they used to be friends but, after a childhood incident, had drifted apart. So there is a sense of something new here, despite the very narrow nature of their world.
Ms DuPrau did a good job of painting a picture of a dreary run down city and it's hand-me down wearing citizens. And I was very struck by the fact that outside the city, there is only darkness.
And we got a clear picture as we went along of how their society worked as well. It is sad that such young children are sent out into the work place, but I guess there isn't any need for additional education in their situation.
The Prologue seemed a bit awkward at first, with two people sort of telling each other things they probably already should have known. I really liked the stuff about the mayors and what happened to the box though.
Note: You really have to suspend disbelief that all the canned good and other supplies would last more than 200 years. (Maybe the "storage rooms" were vacumn sealed.)
The ending is somewhat of a cliffhanger, since the fate of the citizens of Ember is not resolved.
--Doon finds Poppy
--Lina sits with her ailing grandmother in the dark
--There are some adults who are helpful
CONTENT NOTES(?): There is a character with a disability who is also described as very unattractive and who is up to no good.
Character voices differentiated = Yes, I wasn't fond of several of them though / Opposite sex voices acceptable = Yes, I actually liked some of them better than some of the females / Phrasing, Pacing & Pronunciation = / Emoting = / Speed = listened on 1.25, my usual
Ms Dillon did a superb job of reading "The Instructions," despite what happened to them.
I'm not really a fan of music in audiobooks, and this wasn't an exception. And the sounds effects were occasionally too loud. (The noises were supposed to be loud, but I want to hear the narrator.)
My husband and I enjoy listening to audio books when having to take long drives. We found ourselves wanting to have to drive. We totally enjoyed this book and will be getting the next one in the series today.
I had watched the movie first and thought the book would probably be better. I liked the movie, it had a lot of potential. The movie did well at capturing this book's lack of excitement. I wouldn't call it bad, just lackluster. The idea is great, the characters are good, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired.
GREAT Book. Read very well. Mayor's voice character was a little grating, but awesome story.
Listened to this with my son, 6 th grade. would recommend it.
It's a "Good Start" because we want to listen to the series now.
What I loved best was when they find the path out of the city.
The most memorable moments were when she got the light blue colored pencil and when they get out of the city.
My favorite scene was the ride in the boat down the tunnels.
I cried when the grandmother died and I laughed when the baby was lost in the yarn. So it was a bit of both.
I absolutely loved it. <3<3
Prize-winning Poet, Composer and Lyricist.
The City of Ember is book one in this amazing series written by Jeanne DuPrau. It is narrated by Wendy Dillon and I have read enough reviews here to have a comment I hope adds to the reader's understanding. There is a part where the mayor uses a bullhorn that obviously isn't working (the story explains this by illustrating it) and the panicky people of Ember keep having to ask others what he said. This has been reported by many reviewers as frustrating and annoying. That is how it is supposed to be, as it is what the people of Ember are experiencing.
The experience of listening to an audio book is not merely narration, there are often varying levels of acting and sound effects included to make it a rounder experience. I enjoy this type of experience as it reminds me of the old days when Radio was king and people gathered around it as they used to gather around television.
With that said, I love this book and have listened many times to my old multiple CD copy and was glad to finally be able to replace that with one download to complete this entire series in audio from Audible.
Many adults who come to this book have heard of other stories regarding the possibility of the world's end and what people might do in order to somehow survive it. This is a story like that but from a truly original point of view. This is not at all dystopian, it is rather a story I would be glad to start my own grandchildren on and let them collect one by one until they have the whole story of all 4 books. They are normally read in the following order (though there are decent arguments for setting the third book in place of the first): 1- The City of Ember 2- The People of Sparks 3- The Prophet of Yonwood 4- The Diamond of Darkhold. For those who don't like this particular narrator (though holding the presentation against her is too far, in my opinion) just know that each book is done by a different narrator. Wendy Dillon only narrates the first book.
Because the book was short I managed to follow it through until the end-- but the narration was incredibly difficult to handle. Previous comments about the mayors voice being difficult to listen to are absolutely correct. I had a hard time listening to almost any characters voice as portrayed by this narrator-- which is generally a problem for an audiobook. I haven't even bothered to see if there are sequels to this book. It was pretty immature (I realize it's a YA novel-- but this seems to be aimed more at elementary school kids), poorly written, quite predictable, and in the end I didn't care at all about any of the characters or the society in general, I was just happy it was over.
Young and dumb and fun and looking for a way to solve life's problems through my love of books. ♡
It started off a tiny bit irritating to me but quickly caught my attention. The performance was well done and the minimal, but well timed sound effects added a nice touch. I'm eager to listen to more!