For the final book in the series (I’m assuming it’s the final book because it feels very final), the people of Sparks are having a difficult time getting by with their limited supplies. There isn’t enough food, the storehouse roof has collapsed, the work is still harder than what the people of Ember are used to.
But all that could change when Lina and Doon learn that there was something left for the people of Ember to help them make it once they leave Ember. They don’t know what it is–the only clue is the last 8 pages of a forty-seven page book–but they are sure that it requires they return to their abandoned city. So they do what they do best: sneak away and journey back there. But things don’t go as planned because the city they’d thought was dead is not as empty as they expect it to be.
This book manages to bring back the charm of the first book, City of Ember, that was lacking in the other two. Where Book 1 was full of excitement and mystery, the other two felt comparatively cumbersome and slow. They were important to the story but they simply lacked the urgency and adventure. This one didn’t lack any of that. From almost the first moment, something was happening beyond people complaining and arguing.
I’m also glad that we got to see more of Kenny. He may not be an Emberite, but he’s got the same good, adventurous spirit as Lina and Doon and he deserves more space. I’m less fond of Torren. Why can’t he figure out that his brother is a loser? And besides, who wants to listen to a whiner? Lizzie isn’t much better but at least she’s slightly entertaining in her own ridiculousness.
I can’t pretend to love the ending, which felt like a poor attempt to tie up the story nicely. (Sort of like the end of the seventh Harry Potter.) But the rest of the book makes up for it.