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Jeanne DuPrau – The People of Sparks

August 29, 2008

106. The People of Sparks by Jeanne DuPrau (2004)
Books of Ember, Book 2

Read my review of the first book in the series, The City of Ember.

Length: 338 pages

Genre: Young Adult; Science Fiction

Started: 28 August 2008
Finished: 29 August 2008

Summary: Lina and Doon’s message at the end of The City of Ember reaches their city, and their fellow citizens follow their escape path to emerge aboveground. So much is wildly unfamiliar to them – sky, sunlight, wind, animals – until they stumble upon the town of Sparks. The people of Sparks are eking a living out of a post-Disaster world, but are willing to help the Emberites… at first. The people of Ember are put to work to learn how to survive on their own, but as food grows scarce, tensions and resentment begins to mount on both sides, until it seems as though war is inevitable… even though war is what destroyed the planet in the first place.

Review: I didn’t like this one quite as much as I enjoyed The City of Ember, but it was a still a solidly entertaining novel. I think my preference for the first novel comes from the atmospherics – Ember was such a cool, original world that DuPrau brought to life so well, while Sparks is a pretty standard post-apocalyptic farming community. However, there’s plenty to like about the second book, even without the fascinating setting. DuPrau does an excellent job in both (maybe even more so in the second) of ratcheting up the tension throughout the course of the novel… even though it’s a kids’ book, so you know the characters are going to get out of it, there’s still a pit that built in my stomach over the course of this book, knowing that horrible things were coming. DuPrau is also not shy about taking a realistic look at some of the nastier sides of human nature, which can be rare in books at this level, and while the anti-war message wound up feeling a little bit blunt to me, I appreciated that it was actually discussed frankly as a real dilemna – what should you do when someone does something bad to you? Nor are there any pat and easy answers to these questions, which is great, and which makes the note of hope to the ending feel earned. 4 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: Overall, this book was a quick, thoroughly enjoyable read, and I’m definitely excited to see where she takes the series next.

This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon

Links: Jeanne DuPrau’s website

Other Reviews: BookNerd, Inkweaver Review

First Line: Torren was out at the edge of the cabbage field that day, the day the people came.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. GirlwiththeBraids permalink
    September 1, 2008 10:52 am

    This one was pretty good. It went along with how the first book ended. I think Jeanne DuPrau should make another series.

  2. October 26, 2008 2:10 pm

    I loved the book. WONDERFUL! I am doing a book report for school right now on it!!!

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