Lina Mayfleet has waited for Assignment day since she was little. When each child turns twelve they get assigned a new job. She really hopes that she get assigned to become a messenger so she can run around the streets and deliver notes to the citizens of Ember. Instead she picks out an assignment to work in the pipeworks deep under the ground. She is excited that Doon, one of her classmates who picked messenger, offers to trade jobs with her. Doon wants to go see the strong river that runs through the underground and keeps generator going. Blackouts have occurred more frequently now then they have in the past, and he wants to learn how to fix the city before it breaks down permanently, and Ember is left in darkness forever. Then Lina finds the fragment of an ancient parchment and they discover that there may be another way to save Ember from darkness. If they can decipher the parchment they can find the doorway that leads out of Ember and into a new world.
I always really liked these types of stories when I was young, and it was so much fun to read Ember because it reminded me of my adventurous imaginings when I was small. Both Lina and Doon are interesting characters, and they make a dynamic team as they work together with the goal to save Ember. They don’t have it easy along the way, as they have to face an angry mayor, blackouts, and their own doubts about the future. The fun part of this mystery is that when the story ends a new beginning has started. I was startled that the book seemed so simplistic when I read the first chapter. I thought the book was YA and not Middle Grade, but I quickly got over my surprise and kept reading. When I finished the book I instantly wanted to know what happened in the sequel. So, I ran to the library the next day to pick it up. My husband got addicted to this book too! Score! (It is fun to addict the husband to new series.) I would recommend!