City of Ember

The City of Ember (Book of Ember, #1)The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I’ve been reading/listening to a lot of YA and Middle Grade fiction the last couple of years. I find it interesting how the stories and narrative style of these genres have been changing over the years. I thought the story concept was clever and think maybe a young reader, like my seven year old niece would like this book. It’s exploratory and encourages kids to be curious, even though many of the adults in the book say you shouldn’t be curious.

I liked the idea that these people had been underground for so long that they’ve forgotten about the surface and the words and stories that went a long with it. So when the hero and heroine of the story learn things that we’re familiar with their discoveries are fresh and exciting, like a baby discovering its hand.

I think what I found disconcerting about this book was its narrative. I felt like the book was trying so hard to be told by a kid that I felt like the book was talking down to me instead of just being itself. I realize that’s a funny thing to say about a narrative, but it definitely felt like an adult talking down to a child versus an adult talking with a child. Many older YA and Middle Grade books feel like that, which is why I think I never read them much as a child myself, so I was surprised to realize that the book was published in 2003.