Children’s Book Blog Tour –The Diamond of Darkhold, Day 2

Today I want to review The Diamond of Darkhold by Jeanne DuPrau (Random House). Then at the end I’ll tell you how you can become eligible to win an advance reader’s copy of the book.

The Story. I can’t tell you too much here because I don’t want to spoil this book or The City of Ember, the book or movie, since a number of you might be planning to either read the series from book 1 or go to a theater near you when the movie comes out in a little over a week. Suffice it to say, the two main characters—a boy named Doon and a girl named Lina—go on a dangerous adventure primarily because their town is in need of help. Circumstances are desperate and becoming more so every day. Doon believes he’s come up with a solution and turns to his good friend Lina to help him accomplish what he has in mind. Lina decides to go along, mostly because of Doon.

I’ll interject here, I thought the motives of these two characters were very believable, and why they did what they did made me like them from the start. My only concern was Doon leaving his father who had just experienced an accident which meant he could not do everything he needed to do. I wish Doon had been concerned about his dad but still determined to do what he thought would bring good to his dad and the whole town. Instead, he seemed to forget about his dad’s limitations.

To be honest, so did I soon after the adventure started. And a good adventure it was. Lots of believable conflict, tension, suspense. The story moved right along—thankfully not at a break-neck pace, but certainly at a pace that kept my interest the whole way.

Strengths. Well, I’ve already touched on these. The characters are delightful. The world is believable. TINY SPOILER ALERT Because this is a dystopian fantasy, the world above ground is primitive since most of it was destroyed some two hundred years earlier. Not completely, however, so the characters discover animals and things outdoor. They find bits and pieces from the olden days and try to guess at their uses. I thought Ms. DuPrau’s treatment of these discoveries was brilliant. At times she even had her characters postulate several possible uses of some piece of ancient technology and none of their ideas was right. Of course, we readers know what the characters do not. Somehow that touch made this world seem so true to life. END ALERT

One last thing. I really liked the fact that these characters were altruistic. How wonderful to read a story about young people who are more concerned about bettering the lives of their neighbors than of accomplishing some selfish goal that just happens to end up doing good.

The book also made me think about the adults of this world, but I’ll save that for tomorrow.

Weaknesses. Honestly, the deal about Doon and his dad is the only thing that pulled me from the story, and that for such a short time. OK, one more thing. When the main conflict begins, I wanted Lina to make a different decision than the one she made. It was clear she was doing what she thought was right and what Doon thought was right, but I wanted her to do something else—the something Doon ends up doing. That too was only a momentary reaction. I was very soon cheering Lina on in her chosen path.

Recommendation. I highly recommend The Diamond of Darkhold to anyone looking for good literature for youth. Is it Christian? Not in the sense that the Christian worldview is something that consciously motivates the characters. However, the themes of this novel—dealing with honesty, self-sacrifice, courage, helping others—are consistent with a moral outlook on life.

And now, the contest. If you would like to be eligible for an ARC of The Diamond of Darkhold, visit Jeanne DuPrau’s site or any number of other tour participants and find the titles of books two and three in the City of Ember series. Email both to me at rluellam at yahoo dot com.

And now, the others touring with Kidz Book Buzz:

01 Charger, the 160acrewoods, A Childhood of Dreams, All About Children’s Books, And Another Book Read, Becky’s Book Reviews, Book Review Maniac, Cafe of Dreams, Comox Valley Kids, Dolce Bellezza, Fireside Musings, Homeschool Buzz, Hyperbole, Looking Glass Reviews, Never Jam Today

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