Note: Since this is a sequel there are spoilers for the prior book even in the blurb. Something to keep in mind if you haven’t read the prior books and don’t want to be spoiled.
Second Note: TSN gets (US) political for comparison.
Title: The Diamond of Darkhold
Series Title: Book of Ember
Author: Jeanne DuPrau
Date Added: September 17, 2017
Date Started: January 14, 2018
Date Finished: February 19, 2018
Reading Duration: 36 days
Genre: Mid-grade/Young Adult (YA), Fantasy, Post-Apocalyptic, Dystopian
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, Lin 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.
In the fourth Book of Ember, bestselling author Jeanne DuPrau juxtaposes yet another action-packed adventure with powerful themes of hope, learning, and the search for truth.
The final installment to the series finds Lina, Doon, and the other Emberites fully integrated into Sparks so they all live as one people, but times are hard, and Lina finds herself longing for the warm familiarity of her underground home. Doon’s discovery of the blurb’s mentioned book gives them a reason to return to the now dark and dying Ember where things don’t go quite according to plan. There are people living there, but if squatting were still a thing in this post-Disaster world then the Trogg family would be squatters.
The Troggs perfectly exemplify the ignorance sadly rampant in our current world. They’re not only illiterate, they think books are only useful for fuel and have no desire or impetus to know what’s in a book let alone read it. The father, who goes by the family moniker of Trogg, thinks he’s a genius.
He believes he knows everything when he’s really the paragon of the Dunning-Kruger effect. I can’t say he suffers from the phenomenon, because it’s more accurate to claim the people around him are the ones who have to endure. I’m going to be blunt: he reminded me of the piece of shit in the White House, and this resemblance only grew stronger the more I read. Trogg spouts nonsense about a universe of which he knows nothing, because that information was lost, but he has a “natural instinct for science.”
It was painful to read because it mimics life way too much. The whole of modern human knowledge and technology is lost, yet he’s spewing absolute rubbish like it’s gospel. It’s exactly how the rapist-in-chief talks: with the unwavering confidence of the utterly ignorant.
In reference to the title, the “diamond” itself was a nice surprise. I knew it wasn’t going to be a legitimate gem stone, but something far more useful. It was the past’s present to the future, since they really didn’t give them anything else, and once again I return to the question of why wasn’t pertinent information entrusted to a select few instead of just a box in the mayor’s office with instructions for egress and nothing more? This was an issue throughout the whole series. No one even knew how the generator worked, a piece of machinery Ember literally couldn’t live without. I understand the Builders meant for people to leave Ember after 200 years, and that’s how long the generator should’ve lasted, but it bothers my Taurus soul that no contingency plans were put in place.
I was all on board with this book as an excellent send off to the City of Ember series…until the end. It’s not a deal breaker, but for some unknown reason the author decides to throw in something completely clown shoes banana pants. Throughout the novel, people keep mentioning this “green star,” which I assumed was an old satellite. NOPE.
What. The actual. Fuck. Why even throw aliens into the mix? It was absolutely unnecessary and served only as an outside perspective that humanity would “be okay,” but…that was already established in the story. Even if it was mentioned in prior books (and I didn’t finish Prophet of Yonwood so I don’t know), it wasn’t needed to keep the plot interesting. I was fully invested in finding out more about the Disaster, and that outside perspective was extraneous. DuPrau could’ve ended the series with *spoiler* Lina’s great-great-granddaughter finding the city her ancestor had dreamed of in Ember. *end spoiler* I was even impressed with how the story dealt with Trogg and his family. It was a very “mid-grade” way to do it, but it was acceptable.
As before Lina and Doon are the best part of these books, and each is able to carry the plot on their own. Their ending is more than satisfactory, despite the random extraterrestrial involvement at the end. This final volume of the series is a bright conclusion to a tale that began in the dark.