Sunday, January 23, 2011

Review: The Diamond of Darkhold - Jeanne DuPrau

Synopsis: It's been several months since Lina and Doon escaped the dying city of Ember and, along with the rest of their people, joined the town of Sparks. Lina knows they are lucky to be there, but life aboveground is hard. Instead of opening a can for dinner, they must plant and harvest their food. And while there was no sun or moon in Ember's sky, neither was there rain, sleet, or wind. Now, in the middle of their first winter, Lina finds herself feeling homesick for her old city. It's during this dark time that Doon finds an unusual book. Torn up and missing most of its pages, it alludes to a mysterious device, a piece of technology from before the Disaster. Doon becomes convinced that the Builders of Ember meant for them to find the device when they left the city, to help them in their new lives. Together, Lina and Doon must go back underground to retrieve what was lost and bring light to a dark world.

Review: At first I had hopes that this book would prove to be a dark and rather creepy installment. Doon and Lina return to Ember! What has happened to it since then? Who has moved in to claim the ruins after the evacuation? What terrible secrets now lurk in the dark? When Lina and Doon first return to Ember, my hopes seemed to be confirmed - it was eerie, dark, and mysterious. But when Doon meets the new occupants of Ember, my hope soon crumbled into disappointment. There's nothing scary about the Troggs (and no, they are not some strange creature; that's the family name), and nothing terribly mysterious and sinister about the Diamond, either. Jeanne DuPrau had the perfect opportunity to do something similar to The Time Machine - Morlocks and Eloe - and it would have been really good. Had she done something along those lines (not necessarily right along those lines, but something similar), I would have ranked The Diamond of Darkhold every bit as good as The City of Ember.

But The City of Ember - the first book in the Ember Series - is still the best, and The Diamond of Darkhold, while an interesting read, is not necessary and a little boring. A quick read, but sadly lacking. In the end, all people learn to get along and make a better world for themselves, which then prospers and there is no fighting - etcetera. Sorry, but no. Doesn't work that way. Never will - not on this Earth, at least. While I took some small pleasure in reading The People of Sparks, The Prophet of Yonwood (which was a complete disappointment), and now The Diamond of Darkhold, I still maintain that Jeanne DuPrau did not need to write a sequel, let alone three. The City of Ember ends perfectly - let the Readers assume what happens after that.

I'll buy The Diamond of Darkhold simply to complete the series (hate having only two installments in a series), but you would be content to read no further, depending on where you are in the series. If you've just read The City of Ember, I would suggest reading no further. The sequels won't ruin the first book, but you'll be disappointed. If you have read beyond the first book - well, The Diamond of Darkhold is about as disappointing as the others.

Overall Rating: 
Other Books in the Ember Series:
1)The City of Ember
2)The People of Sparks
3)The Prophet of Yonwood

4)The Diamond of Darkhold

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