The Diamond of Darkhold
4th Book of Ember
Jeanne DuPrau

Random House
Hardcover/285 pages
ISBN: 978-0-375-85571-9
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". . . uncluttered prose, evoking a bleak and surprising landscape."

The Diamond of Darkhold: Post apocalyptic fantasy.

Lina and the people of Ember have escaped their underground city and moved to the city of Sparks. Life has been difficult. Food must be planted and grown. Living without electricity and heat is wearing everyone down little by little. Life away from the controlled environment of Ember is as beautiful as it is harsh at times, and spring has given way to a cold and bleak winter. Food is running out, and everyone in Sparks is always hungry. They don’t have enough food to trade with the roamer who comes to town, but Doon scrapes together just enough to buy a book that still has a few pages remaining, enough pages to point the way back to Ember to find a treasure the Builders of Ember left for them.

Doon and Lina pack a little food, candles, and matches and head out before dawn to go back to Ember to gather up some of the food and medicine they left behind and to find what the Builders left for them. It’s a hard road that gets even harder once they go back into the mountain and down to Ember, but Ember isn’t dark. There is a golden glow in the darkness of the cavern and a makeshift bridge across the chasm. Someone is living in Ember, someone who is determined to stay hidden and keep the treasure Doon and Lina have come to find.

The Diamond of Darkhold is the fourth installment in Jeanne DuPrau’s post apocalyptic fantasy about the underground city of Ember. It is a fitting end to the story arc begun with The City of Ember. Doon and Lina continue their intrepid adventures in the bleak outside world in an adventure story that can easily stand alone. DuPrau fills in the back story without weighing down the narrative pace, giving enough information to keep readers from wondering what they’ve missed. Nevertheless, I would suggest getting the three previous books if for no other reason than to enjoy the rich and fascinating characters of Doon and Lina as they explore the limits of their world and blaze paths to the outside.

DuPrau has created a believable world and peoples it with interesting and complex characters. They give substantial weight and dimension to Ember, the city of Sparks and the land between the two cities. The magic of The Diamond of Darkhold isn’t just in a well-told tale but in the glimpse of the world of our own future. DuPrau colors this world with hope and ingenuity and outlines it in plain and uncluttered prose, evoking a bleak and surprising landscape of subtle proportions.

I was immediately caught in Jeanne DuPrau’s spell and avidly followed Doon and Lina on their adventures, anxious to see what came next. I was not disappointed.

Reviewer: J. M. Cornwell