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Jeanne DuPrau – The Diamond of Darkhold

August 31, 2008

108. The Diamond of Darkhold by Jeanne DuPrau (2008)
Books of Ember, Book 4

Read my review of:
– Book 1, The City of Ember
– Book 2, The People of Sparks
– Book 3, The Prophet of Yonwood

Length: 285 pages

Genre: Young Adult; Science Fiction

Started: 31 August 2008, about 1:10 pm.
Finished: 31 August 2008, about 5:20 pm, but including lunch, an art fair, and a minorly flooded kitchen thanks to a misbehaving dishwasher. :)

My timing for this book couldn’t have been more perfect! I started reading the series last weekend, not knowing anything about it except the fact that the first book was being made into a movie. As I read, I realize that the fourth (and final) book in the series had just come out… as in last Tuesday! So, I immediately checked my local library, they had a catalog listing for it, so I reserved it. It officially made it into circulation yesterday, and I checked it out and got to be the first person to read it, no waiting, no hassle. I love that.

Summary: The Emberites have been accepted into the community of Sparks, but life is far from easy. Winter is upon them, food supplies are low, people are sick, and the hard work never ceases. When Lina and Doon get their hands on a book – mostly destroyed – that seems to indicate that there’s something magical that the Builders meant them to have that’s hidden in Ember, they sneak away to retrieve it. However, it’s true you can’t go home again… because while Ember is now dark and dead, it’s also hosting a family of squatters, who have decided that the city and all its resources, including the treasure, belongs to them.

Review: It’s certainly nice to get back to Lina and Doon’s story after the tangent that was The Prophet of Yonwood. However, this book just didn’t seem to have the urgency of the first two. The crisis that the characters are facing isn’t really all that threatening – Lina and Doon aren’t trying to save anyone, they’re just trying to make life less hard – so there’s not the urgent build-up of tension that I so liked in the first two books. It was very cool to make a return to Ember, and it brought the series around again to a mostly satisfying close, but the story just lacked the “oomph” that would have made it special. Besides the somewhat tepid plot, the main problem I had was this book was the incredibly rushed epilogue/conclusion. Much like in The Prophet of Yonwood, the last few pages seemed like she was desperately trying to tie up all the loose ends and make everything fit together, when it would have been a lot stronger either to let us draw our own conclusions, or to let these details unfold more naturally over the course of the story – it’s a serious case of “tell” instead of “show”. Also, I really, really didn’t get the point of the aliens. I mean, really? 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: A quick-reading and (mostly) satisfying conclusion to the Ember series, although it doesn’t recapture the magic of the first book.

This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon

Links: Jeanne DuPrau’s website

Other Reviews: Bending Bookshelf

First Line: Around the middle of the twenty-first century, when it seemed that a great catastrophe was about to engulf the world, an underground city was built as a last refuge for the human race.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. GirlwiththeBraids permalink
    September 1, 2008 10:55 am

    I want to read it SO bad! But, unfortunately, my library doesn’t have it yet. I need to read it.

  2. September 2, 2008 11:59 am

    I thought the first book was quite good and then I read bad reviews of the second so I kind of lost interest.

  3. September 2, 2008 12:25 pm

    Lenore – I quite liked the second one! It wasn’t *quite* as good as the first, but only by a very small margin, I thought. I’d say it’s probably worth trying if you liked the first one, especially since they’re such quick reads that it’s not much of a time investment if you don’t like it.

  4. amandasue permalink
    September 15, 2008 4:48 pm

    this sounds like a good book, and I’m completely amazed at how fast you finish books, i must just be a super slow reader lol.

  5. September 15, 2008 4:56 pm

    amandasue – The series as a whole is definitely worth picking up, although this one wasn’t my favorite.

    I am a fairly fast reader, but this book is also in a big typeface with pretty wide margins and written for a level of about half my age… so that helps with the reading speed, too. :)

  6. webwiz592 permalink
    November 5, 2008 10:14 pm


  7. November 6, 2008 2:56 pm

    Webwiz – I hope you like it!

  8. Mandy permalink
    August 28, 2011 3:37 pm

    mandy- I read the first and the last, the second and the third I’m dying to read it

  9. Lexie permalink
    January 18, 2012 2:17 am

    Spot on! I loved all the ones before this (especially yonwood. Maybe it’s because ember’s movie wasn’t very good). But this did seem a bit odd. I think coming back to ember was VERY interesting, but it all seemed… Not short. But not very thrilling? I was surprised that I was almost done with the book and everything was happy. I was expecting something else to go wrong, or the Troggs to still be in Ember when they came back… It had its moments, it wasn’t horrible , but not the best at all. And the ending was just.. Weird.

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