Jeanne DuPrau

"The Diamond of Darkhold"

(Reviewed by Ann Wilkes APR 10, 2009)

The Diamond of Darkhold by Jeanne DuPrau

In this fourth Book of Ember, Jeanne DuPrau sends the two teenagers on a dangerous adventure. Lina and Doon grew up in the underground city of Ember, which was built to protect its inhabitants from a global disaster. The city died in the previous Book of Ember, The Prohet of Yonwood, and Lina and Doon are now in the town of Sparks. Life is simple, if a bit desperate. Little modern technology survived the disaster.

It's been a rough winter for the people of Sparks. All the more so for the Ember refugees who were accustomed to still having modern conveniences and enough to eat in their well-built bunker city.
Doon purchases what's left of an old book from a wandering peddler for a matchstick. The book has only six pages left as the owner had been using the book pages to start her cook-fires. Intrigued by its title and a diagram in the back, Doon decides that it must be an instruction manual for an electrical device that belongs to the people of Ember. He means to find the device. It must be something that will help their people, he thinks.

Doon also reasons that Ember may yet hold some treasures, food or resources that can help all the folks in Sparks even if he can't find the device. After talking Lina into accompanying him, they plan the long trip back to Ember.

They find their way back into the city guided by an orange glow they hope is the device itself. They find, instead, squatters who kidnap Doon. Lina, who was far enough back to avoid detection, must now find her way back up to the surface and return to Sparks on her own to seek aid in rescuing Doon.

DuPrau creates convincing characters with complex motivations. These resourceful, clever kids will appeal to young adult readers. The Diamond of Darkhold is also a refreshing change from super-heroes that are motivated by revenge and bad guys that are wholly evil. If there is a moral to this story, it is that there is a little good in everyone, and appealing to that side of person can pay off.

  • Amazon readers rating: from 31 reviews

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About the Author:

Jeanne DuPrauJeanne DuPrau was born in 1944 in San Francisco, California. She received a BA in English Literature from Scripps College in Claremont, California. She has been a high school English teacher, an editor for educational publishing companies, a technical writer for Apple Inc. and a freelance writer.

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