The City of Ember: The Graphic Novel

Book Information
Rating: Dependable
Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate
Author: Dallas Middaugh (Adapter), Jeanne DuPrau (Author)
Illustrator: Niklas Asker
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Year: 2012
ISBN: 9780375867934
Pages: 144

The glow of the lone city of Ember is dwindling to a mere spark. Teenagers Lina and Doon graduate school and begin their roles in society amid shortages and blackouts. Lina dreams of a way out and discovers a disintegrated sheet of paper in her grandmother's house that seems to be instructions for escaping Ember. Together she and Doon puzzle through the missing words and explore the tunnels to find a way out. When Lina and Doon uncover corruption among city officials they are forced to flee with Lina's little sister into an unfamiliar world above ground.

Overall, this is a satisfying read with plenty of mystery and adventure. The illustrations are restricted primarily to browns and grays, which give a feeling of being hundreds of feet below the surface. The drawings carry the story in facial expressions and backgrounds quite well. The writing is brief and secondary to the artwork, which is appropriate for a graphic novel. The story is interesting, but there is not much depth of plot or character development. More context for the main characters would be useful to link them to their city, their loved ones, and each other. Great for non-readers who like adventure stories and who like to draw their own stories.