It's winter in the village of Sparks, and the people are struggling to survive. The ones who used to live in Ember cannot help fondly remembering when they had electricity, canned food, and medicines. When a Roamer comes through with an old book, Doon buys it—and discovers that it's a book from the Builders for the people of Ember. It has been all but destroyed, but the remaining pages allude to a device that the Builders left for them, a sort of diamond jewel that will help them survive.
He and Lina decide to return to Ember to search for the diamond. They also plan to gather any leftover food or medicine to bring back to the villagers. But the journey down to Ember will be filled with dangers, and they don't know what—or who—awaits them in the dark city.
After a disappointing third book, Jeanne DuPrau returns to what made the series appealing with Diamond of Darkhold. The journey back to Ember is thrilling and, in some places, downright creepy. Where the third book was dripping with heavy moralizing, this book focuses on the excitement, action, and adventure, and in this way stays true to the beginning of the series.
The book introduces a few wonky things, like a handful of comically caricatured antagonists that seem a bit out of place, some pre-Disaster technology that requires a healthy suspension of disbelief, and a random bit at the end of the book about an alien space probe that's been watching earth (a reference to the third book that's just as confusing here as it was there).
But overall the book is a satisfying conclusion to the series. Lina and Doon work hard to rebuild their world. We're left with hope; even after the terrible catastrophes that have befallen these people and their world, its possible to make a fresh start. Not with greed or sloth, not with isolation and cowardice, but with the ordinary powers of love and courage, hard work and kindness, curiosity and knowledge and friendship.
Review by Lauren Shearer
Lauren Shearer writes words for fun and profit. She also makes films, but everyone knows you can't make a profit doing that. Her other hobby is consistently volunteering way too much of her time. You can read more of her reviews here.
Review by Lauren Shearer
Lauren Shearer writes words for fun and profit. She also makes films, but everyone knows you can't make a profit doing that. Her other hobby is consistently volunteering way too much of her time. You can read more of her reviews here
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