Ember is running out of supplies. After graduating from school, Doon starts his job in the Pipeworks, hoping to really contribute to the community, and learn how dark the city’s problems are. Lina wants a foot in every pot, and all the help she can get – her grandmother, also her guardian, is on death’s bed.
Lina accidentally stumbles upon a centuries’-old escape plan, to the world outside Ember. Surviving a journey in a toddler’s mouth, the Instructions now have bits missing, and Lina and Doon must piece together what they can to find a way out of Ember, and a way of saving their city.
Jeanne DuPrau’s contribution to the fabulously innovative subgenre of dystopian YA is outstanding. It’s easy to relate to these characters, who often feel – and are – out of the loop. Their love for their city and desire for a better life elsewhere are emotionally realistic, and breaking out also challenges them physically. Life in Ember feels somewhat historical, so steampunk fans may flock to this, too.
Good news: there are two more novels in this sequence, as well as a prequel. Me want!