The Diamond of Darkhold is the fourth and final book of the Ember series by Jeanne DuPrau. The book takes the people of Ember, joined with the people of Sparks from book 2, through their first winter together. It’s a hard winter, with very little food and a lot of problems as this tiny post-apocalyptic village tries to accommodate double its previous inhabitants. Lina and Doon, heroes from books 1 and 2, travel back to Ember without telling anyone in order to see if they can find a way back into their old city. There, they hope to find supplies, food that was left behind, medicine, and anything else that’s useful. When they get there, however, they find some arrogant, ignorant trespassers living in the old city, which puts a damper on their plans.
I liked this book. It was well written, well paced, and the end satisfied me. It was hopeful – a very almost-happily-ever-after sort of ending – without being unrealistic or childish. All the ends were tied up.
After reading this whole series, I get the impression that DuPrau knew a lot more about Ember than her Sparks civilization. The parts that take place in Sparks feel much like book 2 felt – a little forced and shallow. Contrived. But as soon as Lina and Doon return to Ember, the tone of the book transforms into the grace that was so appealing in book 1. I enjoyed the return to Ember a lot, and thought those parts were written better than the rest.
Overall, I liked the series. The first book is by far the best, but the others aren’t bad.