HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: The Diamond of Darkhold: The Fourth Book of Ember
Author: Jeanne DuPrau
Illustrator: Chris Riely
Publisher: Yearling, 2008
ISBN-13: 978-0-395-85571-9 (hardback)
ISBN-13: 978-0-375-95571-6 (library binding)
ISBN-13: 978-0-375-85572-6 (paperback)
ISBN-13: 978-0-375-89244-8 (e-book)
Language level: 1 (nothing objectionable)
Reading level: Ages 8-12
Rating: 4 stars (GOOD)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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DuPrau, Jean. The Diamond of Darkhold: The Fourth Book of Ember (published in 2008 by Yearling, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House Inc., New York City, NY). We enjoyed the first book of this series, The City of Ember, in which Lina and Doon find a way out of the dying, underground city of Ember which had been built generations before as a place of safety during a great catastrophe. We also liked the second book, The People of Sparks, in which Lina and Doon help lead the others out of Ember to a small above-ground village named Sparks where they settle. We did not care as much for the third book, The Prophet of Yonwood, which isn’t about Lina, Doon, and the people of Ember but is a “prequel” which is supposed to explain how Ember came to be built but really doesn’t and deals with some issues that we wondered if they are really appropriate for children.
However, this Fourth Book of Ember returns to the time of Lina and Doon. A roamer comes to Sparks and has a book which Doon recognizes as something that was intended for the people of Ember. Most of it is missing, but Doon understands enough to guess that there’s still something in Ember which would be helpful for them. So he and Lina decide to sneak off, return to Ember, and find whatever it is. When they get there, they see that a family of squatters named Trogg have settled in Ember, which they renamed Darkhold, and are scavaging the city. The Troggs capture Doon who learns that they have found a “diamond” which Doon is convinced was intended for the people of Ember. Lina starts to go back to Sparks for help. She joins with the roamer from whom Doon had purchased the book, who just happens to be Mr. Trogg’s sister, and begins traveling with her, but they go in the wrong direction. Meanwhile, Doon escapes from the Troggs, and when Lina leaves the roamer and heads back to Ember, she meets up with Doon. But will they ever figure out what the diamond is capable of doing?
The Diamond of Darkhold is every bit as exciting and suspenseful as the first book. Jeanne DuPrau is a very good author. One reviewer correctly called it “another action-packed adventure with powerful themes about hope, learning, and the search for truth.” Kathy Davis of Home School Buzz wrote, “Both children face more challenges that require some quick thinking. Having read and reviewed City of Ember, but not the sequels The People of Sparks or The Prophet of Yonwood, I can say put me at a slight disadvantage. There were a few plot lines I was confused by, but only a few. The author tried summarizing most of the main points of the series, so that a new reader could pick up Diamond of Darkhold and enjoy it as a stand-alone story. But, it would be better to read the prequels first. There is a strong focus on character development, and the story flows from several of the character’s different points of view. There is some action with the adventure, and the author places an emphasis on teamwork, creative thinking, and the acceptance of each other.” There is an interesting tie in to The Prophet of Yonwood at the end of the story, with somewhat of a surprising conclusion.