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The People of Sparks

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An alternate cover can be found here. The sequel to the critically acclaimed The City of Ember continues the story of Lina and Doon, who have emerged from the underground city to the exciting new world above. When anonymous acts of vandalism push them toward violence, it's up to Lina and Doon to discover who's behind the vandalism and why. An alternate cover can be found here. The sequel to the critically acclaimed The City of Ember continues the story of Lina and Doon, who have emerged from the underground city to the exciting new world above. When anonymous acts of vandalism push them toward violence, it's up to Lina and Doon to discover who's behind the vandalism and why.


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An alternate cover can be found here. The sequel to the critically acclaimed The City of Ember continues the story of Lina and Doon, who have emerged from the underground city to the exciting new world above. When anonymous acts of vandalism push them toward violence, it's up to Lina and Doon to discover who's behind the vandalism and why. An alternate cover can be found here. The sequel to the critically acclaimed The City of Ember continues the story of Lina and Doon, who have emerged from the underground city to the exciting new world above. When anonymous acts of vandalism push them toward violence, it's up to Lina and Doon to discover who's behind the vandalism and why.

30 review for The People of Sparks

  1. 5 out of 5

    Angela

    If I could give this book 6 stars, I would. I enjoyed City of Ember as a fun, quick YA read, but this sequel is just as entertaining, while also being profoundly thought-provoking and insightful. I loved that the main characters - Lina and Doon - are honest and warm, with realistic struggles: Doon is still working on controlling his temper, and Lina's curiosity and impulsiveness still tend to cause trouble. However, they are both guided by good advice and a strong conscience, paving the way for g If I could give this book 6 stars, I would. I enjoyed City of Ember as a fun, quick YA read, but this sequel is just as entertaining, while also being profoundly thought-provoking and insightful. I loved that the main characters - Lina and Doon - are honest and warm, with realistic struggles: Doon is still working on controlling his temper, and Lina's curiosity and impulsiveness still tend to cause trouble. However, they are both guided by good advice and a strong conscience, paving the way for growth. Incidentally, I was very surprised to see so many mediocre reviews on this book! I agree that the writing is fairly simplistic, but I actually felt that this contributed to the story, rather than being detrimental (I felt the same about City of Ember). Also, the message never seemed pushy or preachy to me. It's still definitely YA literature, but I highly recommend it for its great plot, wonderful characters, and quiet inspiration.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ally

    A sequel that holds true to its original characters, but puts them in a totally different situation and set of adventures. If I had one problem with these books, it would be that I suspect the authour starts writing the books with a "what values can I leave the readers with?" idea in her head. But, to her credit, I usually agree with her values (avoiding crowd mentality, being tolerant, solving problems non-violently) and the story is exciting enough anyways.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    Compared to the first book, People of Sparks comes off very one noted. The message--"War is bad." And that message comes across in the most surface of ways. Lena and Doon lose their interesting personalities and instead become silhouettes. Lena screams, "I want to explore" and Doon yells, "No more war." The book lacks the interest and intrigue of the first book and instead becomes a poor peace call for the world. Given the possibilities of having a previous lost civilization meet one recovering Compared to the first book, People of Sparks comes off very one noted. The message--"War is bad." And that message comes across in the most surface of ways. Lena and Doon lose their interesting personalities and instead become silhouettes. Lena screams, "I want to explore" and Doon yells, "No more war." The book lacks the interest and intrigue of the first book and instead becomes a poor peace call for the world. Given the possibilities of having a previous lost civilization meet one recovering from apocalypse, there are so many possibilities. What happens here follows exactly the path that would be expected and varies from it very little. Even the mystery that comes up in the song about the lost city lacks teeth, as they resolve its solution nearly immediately after it is posed. Part of the fun of the first book was figuring out the cryptic message that led Lena and Doon out of Ember. DuPrau misses that opportunity by not introducing the rhyme until half way through the book and then resolving it in the next chapter.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sara Saif

    This is a lovely series. The kind of dystopia where people actually live with the consequences, instead of, you know, evolving into advanced societies with kings/queens/mutants/totalitarian governments that are obsessed with deathly competitions. Get what I'm saying? This feels real. Hundreds of years ago humans were jerks. BOOM. Everyone died and now centuries later, with a significant portion of the population and technology kaput, they are struggling to stay alive and trying to make small adv This is a lovely series. The kind of dystopia where people actually live with the consequences, instead of, you know, evolving into advanced societies with kings/queens/mutants/totalitarian governments that are obsessed with deathly competitions. Get what I'm saying? This feels real. Hundreds of years ago humans were jerks. BOOM. Everyone died and now centuries later, with a significant portion of the population and technology kaput, they are struggling to stay alive and trying to make small advances to regrow life. The City of Ember and The People of Sparks have the same tone and yet, different as well. Ember was underground and the mood was a mixture of excitement, dread and suffocating. Ember is above ground so it isn't as dark and dank but there's still a cloud of anticipation hanging over everything as in Ember, what will happen next?. I hope Lina and Doon grow up, though. I liked the absence of it first but I'm starting to miss the teenage love drama. There's a reason I like YA.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The weak writing, admittedly present in City of Ember, is more apparent here in the second book...and the story is a bit overbearing & heavyhanded with its message, at the expense of the story-unfolding... The message is peace-keeping and war-avoiding though, so I guess I have a bit of leniency for the message-hammering. The people of Ember have emerged from their underworld, and have found Sparks--a village that has survived the Disaster. I liked reading about the people of Ember seeing sun for The weak writing, admittedly present in City of Ember, is more apparent here in the second book...and the story is a bit overbearing & heavyhanded with its message, at the expense of the story-unfolding... The message is peace-keeping and war-avoiding though, so I guess I have a bit of leniency for the message-hammering. The people of Ember have emerged from their underworld, and have found Sparks--a village that has survived the Disaster. I liked reading about the people of Ember seeing sun for the first time, figuring out that it rises and sets--and green grass--and finding fruit growing in the wild...and encountering people. I liked how City of Ember had electricity--and the post-Disaster village of Sparks had plenty of comforts and innovations that Emberites had never seen, but no electricity. I found a lot of the build-up of conflict (to set the stage for the peace message) between the People of Ember and People of Sparks pretty dull. Still, it's decent for fans who want more of Lina and Doon--and it provides some mind-flipping concepts for the upper elementary set, which is fun. It's interesting/worthwhile to have a children's adventure (even if its a dull-adventure) book deal with corrupt government (C.o.E.), an amorphic Disaster, war and peace, and, to a degree, socialism... As in the first book, I'm fairly sure DuPrau was writing with a movie in mind--and as with the first, it felt a bit cheap and hole-y for this. [The almost-war scene especially--SO boring to read--but if you were seeing what you were reading, it would probably feel quick and exciting.] BUT, as with City of Ember, the ending is so so so good. Before the last chapter I was thinking I was tired of these books, and probably could have done without reading the second. When I finished the last chapter I was so glad I'd read the book. Read it for the last chapter!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Muzzlehatch

    Frustrating but ultimately pretty decent sequel to the fascinating "City of Ember", this picks up right after the finish of the first volume, as the entire populace of the dying underground city make their way out of harm's way, into the upper world. "Sparks" covers the travails of the next few months, as the Emberites encounter a small town struggling to get by, with a population even smaller than the 400 survivors of the underground world. There are two major problems with the book I think, fi Frustrating but ultimately pretty decent sequel to the fascinating "City of Ember", this picks up right after the finish of the first volume, as the entire populace of the dying underground city make their way out of harm's way, into the upper world. "Sparks" covers the travails of the next few months, as the Emberites encounter a small town struggling to get by, with a population even smaller than the 400 survivors of the underground world. There are two major problems with the book I think, first that it is far less original in feel and setting -- the postapocalyptic worlds of films like the "Mad Max" series, and countless SF novels from the past century aren't ever very far off; and second, the whole premise of the arguments between the two communities rests on the notion that the leaders of Sparks are arrogant and unwilling to speak with the Emberites as equals, or even really as other intelligent people. While it is true that the Emberites are ignorant of many things (such as seasons, which become a big plot point that is not dealt with particularly realistically), it's also clear that they have their own special knowledge, and yet they act demoralized and the people of Sparks act superior from the get-go. The apocalypse is only two centuries past; surely someone besides the two young heroes of the first book, Lina and Doon, would have some notion of cooperation? Still the book has some narrative drive, Ms. Duprau's pacing is fairly solid and she manages to keep up interest in the plot despite the basic storyline/originality issues I have with it, and she also succeeds I think in creating some fairly interesting characters (Maddy, Mrs Hester) without seeming to try very hard. There is still some promise in this series, and I'll be keeping up with it.

  7. 4 out of 5

    E.F.B.

    Seeing how I have known the story of the first Ember book for so long, I was a little nervous about whether or not I'd like the rest of the series now that I'm finally getting around to them. Thankfully, I did enjoy this second book. It was interesting to see these people who have lived underground for generations (and didn't even know they were underground) come to the surface and discover what it's like to have a blue sky, moving air, and changes in seasons. I especially enjoyed Lina and Doon' Seeing how I have known the story of the first Ember book for so long, I was a little nervous about whether or not I'd like the rest of the series now that I'm finally getting around to them. Thankfully, I did enjoy this second book. It was interesting to see these people who have lived underground for generations (and didn't even know they were underground) come to the surface and discover what it's like to have a blue sky, moving air, and changes in seasons. I especially enjoyed Lina and Doon's sense of wonder at things we in real life see as mundane. It had to be hard for the author to find ways to describe everyday objects from the perspective of people who have never seen them before without just taking the easy road and telling the reader what it was. She pulled it off well. I also appreciate that, for once, the Goodreads synopsis did not spoil the story, especially the fact that (view spoiler)[the people of Ember discover other humans above ground who actually survived the Disaster. (hide spoiler)] This was a fun twist because it was not what I thought would happen. I loved some of the new characters (like Maddy) and loathed some others (which was intended by the author), and of course still loved Lina and Doon. I thought the author did a good job developing our two main characters as they interacted with the new world. They were still themselves as well as retaining realistic teenage characteristics, but grew and changed into better people. There were actually fairly few characters who didn't grow and change in some way, even if some individuals grew less than others. Along with the twist I mentioned above, there were one or two other twists that I didn't expect but enjoyed. I can be pretty good at guessing story twists ahead of time so when I don't guess one that's fun for me. The few things I didn't like about this story were pretty minor. They were mostly related to one obnoxious child I wanted to shove over a cliff 😛 but he was actually learning lessons and getting a little more tolerable by the very end, so that wasn't too bad. One reason I tend to not like dystopian is because it can be pretty sad, if not outright depressing to see the world "ending" or having already "ended" (I put that in quotes since someone always survives in order for there to be stories about it so it only ever "ends" to a certain extent.) Like Maddy, I'd rather see something beginning than ending. While there was a little touch of that sadness in this story, the author did a good job simply using it to teach the characters (and possibly the readers) a necessary lesson and then refocusing on the other elements of the story, so I was okay with that. Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book to the point I actually read it very quickly (at least for me :P). I loved the ending, and look forward to the rest of the story. Content Advisory: Violence: Mrs. Murdow tells Lina that when people realized there was a way to leave the dying city of Ember, they basically panicked. Some people fell down stairs and got trampled to death in the rush to get out. The (view spoiler)[mayor (hide spoiler)] and some of his employees fell into the river and drowned. Mrs. Murdow implies that it was terrible to watch and she'll never forget it, but doesn't get detailed about it. A little boy who is generally very rude gets annoyed with Lina for existing and pushes her so hard she nearly falls down. She pushes him back, but not as hard. There are threats of violence through much of the story as tensions between the people of Ember and the people of Sparks increase. One individual in particular encourages the people of Ember to take revenge of the people of Sparks, going so far as to tell them to use weapons like rocks and metal rods if their demands are not met. To give an example of how to use the weapons, this individual slashes violently at a bush and some trees until he accidentally hits a baby bird that flops on the ground, injured. He almost finished the bird off, but is stopped before he can and kicks the limp body aside. The people of Sparks, in return for the Emberite's refusal to do as they are told, threaten them with something referred to simply as "The Weapon." A little boy, in a fit of anger, imagines that "The Weapon" may be some sort of bomb and then imagines/wishes that he could use this supposed bomb to blow up individuals he doesn't like and the hotel in which the people of Ember are staying. Fire is mentioned but there are no are no other details to his imaginings. A man angrily pulls Doon backwards off of the town fountain so he lands on his back on the ground and then has to scramble to get up. A riot breaks out in the town plaza in which there is shouting and some of the people of Ember throw rocks at the town hall, breaking windows. Doon is distressed to see some of the people of Sparks running and hiding like they think they will be hurt too, and realizes that this is indeed a possibility. Later, tensions increase even more and some of the people of Ember approach the town hall with their rocks and metal rods. One of the leaders of Sparks tries to push the leader of the group of "warriors" and gets hit in the arm with a rod in response. He then brings out "The Weapon" which turns out to be a (view spoiler)[machine gun (hide spoiler)] , aims it at the people of Ember, then turns it on, however, someone changes the aim so the bullets go into the air, hitting buildings and breaking windows instead of hitting people. The weapon then blows up, knocking down one of the leaders of the town, setting fire to a large tree and the town hall. The fire spreads to other parts of the town putting many people in danger. Miraculously, no one gets killed during this whole thing and only a few are injured. It is said that the town leader who was knocked down by the explosion had to go to the down doctor because his arm was nearly blown off. (No details.) He is later wheeled around on a stretcher and has a bandage on his arm and his eye. Mention of a little boy's feet being burned from getting too close to the fire and having to sit with them in a bucket of cold water. Sexual/Romance: One teenage girl (who is a friend of Lina, but remains a minor character) shifts her romantic interests easily. She starts the story wearing a black scarf in mourning for her boyfriend who didn't make it out of Ember, but quickly develops interest in another boy and becomes fiercely loyal to him instead. Her crush on the boy is only hinted at and never reciprocated. It is never indicated that the boy even notices her since he only ever treats all the people of Ember the same. Spiritual/Worldviews: Maddy briefly mentions that she doesn't believe humanity (or life in general) will ever be wiped off the face of the earth forever. She believes that whatever sparked life to begin with will spark it again even if everything and everyone died off for a little bit. She keeps this comment vague and does not specify what exactly she thinks sparked life and does not reference any specific real world belief system. Other: Though they start out generous, the people of Sparks start to become selfish and refuse to feed the people of Ember enough for them to have enough energy to do the work they're required to do in order to live in the town. Though some Emberites request more food politely, some become rude and demanding, thus causing anger between the people groups. The aforementioned rude little boy never receives any discipline from his parental figure for his behavior, though it is clear to everyone around him that he shouldn't be behaving like that and that his behavior hurts others. He does, however, experience some natural consequences for his actions. In a fit of anger, someone throws two crates-worth of tomatoes at a building and then blames it on someone else, refusing to tell the truth even when that other person is treated badly because of the lie. The people of Sparks say mean, resentful things about the people of Ember behind their backs and then to their faces. Some of the leaders of the workers even become verbally abusive to the Emberites working under them, treating them as if they are lazy or stupid even though the Emberites are doing the best they know how to do. Doon once or twice lets his anger get control of him and yells at someone only to regret it because it makes things worse. Someone uses mud to write hostile things about the people of Ember on the plaza and on the wall of the hotel. Someone also dumps a bunch of mud, garbage, and leaves in the hotel which causes the people of Ember to get terrible, itchy rashes after they clean it up. It turns out that the person who did these things (view spoiler)[ was one of Ember's own people who was intentionally trying to increase hostilities so he could lead an army and get glory for himself in the war he intentionally tried to start. (hide spoiler)] Caspar is generally not nice to anyone he meets on the road and makes enemies easily. He carries a whip with him which he readily uses to scare off any perceived threat even if the person wasn't actually doing anything bad. He refuses to share food with one starving roamer even though Lina and Maddy both try to convince him to give the man just a little bit. (Note: The starving man acts strangely because he's weak and sick. Particularly young readers may find him frightening even though he's only briefly on the page.) Caspar, Maddy, and Lina wake up after a night's sleep to find that the starving man stole the food he needed from them and dumped dirt and feces on the rest of their supplies as revenge for Caspar's treatment of him. Because this is a dystopian series, it is repeated that the modern world was destroyed in some sort of disaster many years ago. Lina learns that the Disaster was a combination of events: several plagues and then some wars caused by leaders of the separate nations. At first, Lina is excited to go see one of the cities that was destroyed during the Disaster because she has hopes for it as a home for the people of Ember, but when she learns of how so many people were killed, the place becomes frightening for her. She imagines that she still sees the flames and hears people's terrified screams, as if the terrible things that happened there are like a shadow that still hangs over the city. This results in her never actually entering the city. The worst of the actual destruction that she sees are a crumbled highway bridge as well as seeing crumbled buildings from a distance.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Alexandra

    I didn't like this book as well as the first one, which I found much more interesting. And I found the "lesson" of the story at times too heavy handed and simplistic. But simplistic isn't always a bad thing in children's stories I suppose. I was mostly bothered that for even those who did not want to fight regarding the disagreement there didn't seem much understanding of the other side or awareness that they didn't have a right to expect a share in provisions others had worked for for themselve I didn't like this book as well as the first one, which I found much more interesting. And I found the "lesson" of the story at times too heavy handed and simplistic. But simplistic isn't always a bad thing in children's stories I suppose. I was mostly bothered that for even those who did not want to fight regarding the disagreement there didn't seem much understanding of the other side or awareness that they didn't have a right to expect a share in provisions others had worked for for themselves. I enjoyed the parts where Lina when off away from the town exploring better and found them more interesting. But overall kids who liked the first book will probably like it, and be interested in knowing what happened next. And it would be a good conversation starter about disputes between groups of people, how they can escalate, how to dispell them, as well as appreciating generosity of others without feelings of entitlement.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    Last fall I raced through City of Ember and really enjoyed the world and the characters. The ending wasn't a cliffhanger per se, but it really left me wondering what would happen next...so much so that I raced out and bought the next book. Sadly, life got busy and it took me another 4 months to finally read the continuation. In Sparks there are some rather significant changes to the plot dynamics which allow for some intriguing new commentary on humanity and social interactions. We're given a pos Last fall I raced through City of Ember and really enjoyed the world and the characters. The ending wasn't a cliffhanger per se, but it really left me wondering what would happen next...so much so that I raced out and bought the next book. Sadly, life got busy and it took me another 4 months to finally read the continuation. In Sparks there are some rather significant changes to the plot dynamics which allow for some intriguing new commentary on humanity and social interactions. We're given a post-apocalyptic world in which humanity is trying to recover and rebuild. This high level genre is compounded by being seen primarily through the eyes of children and also by making the Emberites ignorant of the disasters that befell humanity or even of human history at all. In fact, through the entire first book, they had no knowledge of any other human culture at all and thought their microcosm to be the extent of humanity. The main new dynamic in the book acted as a commentary on the interactions between people in strained situations and the passions which lead to prejudice, anger, and eventually to war. The plot separated for a time the two main characters from Ember, Lina and Doon. Lina acts as the reader's guide to understanding the history of this new world and how humanity fell into war as well as understanding the current geography and social structure. She undertakes a journey to one of the old cities in the hopes of finding something akin to the drawing she made in the first book. Instead, she finds disaster and learns about war, disease and destruction. Doon serves as the reader's guide to watching two struggling groups of people dealing with hardships and sacrifices as the Emberites are taught about life in the new world and how to survive above ground. He feels the sting of hostility as the people of Sparks grow resentful of the Emberites consuming their food and other resources. That resentment grows into mistrust and eventually sparks begin to fly (pardon the pun). As tensions grow between the people, one of the Emberites named Tick Hassler (an antagonistic name if ever I saw one *grin*) grows hungry for a fight and begins riling up the people of Ember to prepare for battle. Doon feels conflicted throughout and Lina (once she returns) has new found knowledge into the near-destruction of humanity. Unfortunately, by then, things are spiraling out of control and it's difficult to see a viable resolution. I really enjoyed the character dynamics DuPrau set up in this novel. With very few exceptions, all of the players were honestly trying to do good. She set up some great conflicts which resulted in each group of people trying to do what was good, and yet that "good" was conflicting and causing tension. It's the old adage "you can't please everyone all the time." There are always self-interests of individuals and even of groups which will collide with other individuals and groups. This book presented great examples of how people interact and shows motivation for making compromises and looking at the situation from the point of view of the other person. It's difficult to compare to Ember and say which I liked better. I think I preferred Sparks because the plot and dynamic was more interesting to think about. Still, they are each presenting such different concepts, that it's hard to pit one against the other. They are great stories with a lot of thoughtful concepts to ponder. It's actually quite thought provoking, especially when considering the fact that it's a children's book. Children and youth will enjoy the vivid characters and the action. Adults can still enjoy it with its fluid writing and its deeper themes. **** 4 stars (out of 5)

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    6/3 - I started reading this on the train this evening because my other current book was way too big to fit in my handbag and I didn't want to have to carry it in my hands for the whole night, so I chose something more compact and this was it. I managed 31 pages before I met my friend at the train station. From those 31 pages I can already see that it has similarly immature language and that there's going to be a number of lessons to be learned while reading this book. Was DuPrau a school teache 6/3 - I started reading this on the train this evening because my other current book was way too big to fit in my handbag and I didn't want to have to carry it in my hands for the whole night, so I chose something more compact and this was it. I managed 31 pages before I met my friend at the train station. From those 31 pages I can already see that it has similarly immature language and that there's going to be a number of lessons to be learned while reading this book. Was DuPrau a school teacher before becoming a writer? Because filling a YA book so full of morals and 'lessons' smacks of something a primary school teacher might do, hoping to impart some important values and life lessons into their students while at the same time getting them read. Now that I'm back home and not having to worry about how unwieldy my book is I'll be going back to the mutant-sized one. I'll get back to this in a few days once I've finished The Passage. To be continued... 9/3 - I feel like this book was one big lesson on the evils of revenge against perceived injustices. At the back of the book there is a short biography of DuPrau which tells us that she has been a teacher at one point in time, and I can see the evidence of that in her writing (did I say that in my review of The City of Ember?, if I did it's even more apparent in this book). The people of Ember have left Ember, their underground home, and are now trying to fit in with the people of Sparks, the nearest town to the location of Ember. The people of Sparks are concerned (and justifiably so, in my opinion) that the new arrivals (400+ new people, doubling the size of Sparks) are going to eat up all their food and make life harder for the original inhabitants of Sparks. These concerns fuel the people of Sparks' frustrations and feelings that the idea of having to share with the people of Ember is an unfair hardship. At the same time the people of Ember feel unwanted by the people of Sparks and all these feelings of injustice lead to 'attacks' back and forth between the two groups. The first attack leads to a retaliation, which leads to revenge until both 'towns' are in such a frenzy that two people (the two main instigators from Sparks, as it happens) are nearly killed in the fighting. Doon saves the life of one of the people in danger, while Lina is the first to rush in and help fight the fires the fighting has sparked (no pun intended). These two acts of selflessness are enough to finally get the people of Sparks to see the people of Ember as more than just a burden on their town, they can help make the town even more prosperous. Double the people doesn't just mean half as much food for everyone, in the long run it means double the workers to keep the town running. I wish this didn't preach quite so much, but I will read the last book in the trilogy because I want to see where it goes. PopSugar 2015 Reading Challenge: A Book with Bad Reviews

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

    Please tell me that if there really was a war that killed most of humanity, stupid people would not be left in charge...like they apparently were in The People of Sparks. Truly, the leaders in both Sparks and in the preceding City of Ember are exceedingly elementary in their thinking. Why wouldn't the people of Sparks just look on the Emberites as newly added, contributing members of their society? Instead of isolating the Emberites, why not allow them to work and better the city of Sparks? But, Please tell me that if there really was a war that killed most of humanity, stupid people would not be left in charge...like they apparently were in The People of Sparks. Truly, the leaders in both Sparks and in the preceding City of Ember are exceedingly elementary in their thinking. Why wouldn't the people of Sparks just look on the Emberites as newly added, contributing members of their society? Instead of isolating the Emberites, why not allow them to work and better the city of Sparks? But, the people of Sparks, and conversely, the people of Ember, are close-minded and quite stereotypical of one another. Another puzzling issue is the "library" in Sparks. In the Sparks warehouse is a room with hundreds of books, which no one apparently uses or reads. But, the people of Sparks are aware that before the Disaster, people had electricity, were capable of flight, had moving vehicles powered by "gasleen," etc. One would think that if there were hundreds of pre-Disaster books lying around one would peruse them to gain the missing knowledge of electricity, indoor plumbing, medicine, etc. Doon is in the warehouse, blindly picks up a volume and opens it to a chapter entitled, "The Thermodynamics of Aluminum." Why is no one in Sparks seriously studying these books? Is this what it was like during the Dark Ages, after Rome's technology fell by the wayside? I can't believe that it took a couple of Emberites to embrace the idea of organizing the volumes and that it never occured to the people of Sparks to utilize this massive resource. I enjoyed the people's mispronunciations of things, like "gasleen," and, my favorite, the area known as "Sanazy."

  12. 5 out of 5

    Holly

    I really enjoyed the simplified concepts of war in this book. It discussed how war begins and how to stop it before it goes to far. Choosing good is hard and even harder when we are physically or emotionally hurt by someone else. It made me think about making the right choices in tough situations. It's nice that you learn small bits about the "disaster" but that is not the focus of the book. I liked the way Lina and Doon both carried on through this book. They went there separate ways and came b I really enjoyed the simplified concepts of war in this book. It discussed how war begins and how to stop it before it goes to far. Choosing good is hard and even harder when we are physically or emotionally hurt by someone else. It made me think about making the right choices in tough situations. It's nice that you learn small bits about the "disaster" but that is not the focus of the book. I liked the way Lina and Doon both carried on through this book. They went there separate ways and came back together at the end.

  13. 5 out of 5

    ~TARDIS_Erin~{Fear is a Phoenix. You can watch it burn a thousand times and still it will return}

    4.5 stars I really enjoyed this book! The world, and the characters were interesting, and the story was pretty great overall. This book is meant for a younger audience, and the writing reflected that. However, I think kids and adults would both find this story interesting. The only reason it wasn’t a five star rating, was because it wasn’t quite as suspenseful, and exciting as the first book. The characters in this book are interesting, and I found I liked nearly all of them. The characters that 4.5 stars I really enjoyed this book! The world, and the characters were interesting, and the story was pretty great overall. This book is meant for a younger audience, and the writing reflected that. However, I think kids and adults would both find this story interesting. The only reason it wasn’t a five star rating, was because it wasn’t quite as suspenseful, and exciting as the first book. The characters in this book are interesting, and I found I liked nearly all of them. The characters that are portrayed as villains, have many different layers, and are not just evil, and the character that is portrayed as a sort of hero has many different sides to him. I think Jeanne DuPrau did a great job at coming up with a variety of characters, that are thought provoking and interesting to read about. Unlike other books, I found myself drawn to every aspect of the story, not just one characters adventure. The plot in this story is interesting. While still continuing with some aspects of the first book, different problems arise, and along with that comes a variety of different characters, who influence the main characters in different ways. Overall, it was a fun, and interesting book. The only complaint I have, is that it is slightly less suspenseful, and a bit more predictable then the first. But still, a great read for all ages.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Christina Morland

    I found The People of Sparks, the second book in the Book of Ember series, to be an even stronger book than its predecessor. Author Jeanne DuPrau’s use of imagery and character development seemed more engaging this time around, and while the first book probably had a more compelling plot for younger readers, this sequel did a better job of wrestling with big questions about human nature. As a story about refugees and the community attempting to absorb these migrants, The People of Sparks is a gr I found The People of Sparks, the second book in the Book of Ember series, to be an even stronger book than its predecessor. Author Jeanne DuPrau’s use of imagery and character development seemed more engaging this time around, and while the first book probably had a more compelling plot for younger readers, this sequel did a better job of wrestling with big questions about human nature. As a story about refugees and the community attempting to absorb these migrants, The People of Sparks is a great read for discussing current events with children. But no matter what’s in the news, the major issue of the book—what do you do when the enemy you face isn’t a person or an outsider but your own fear?—will always be relevant. I read this book aloud to my eight-year-old daughter, and we ended up having several meaningful discussions as a result. I highly recommend the book to other parents/caregivers/adults looking to spark (yes, pun intended) conversation with children. (But do read Book of Ember first, or much of the plot in this book won’t make sense.)

  15. 5 out of 5

    Britt

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Enjoyable book, though not as good as the first. I did like watching the people of Ember encounter the outside world for the first time, but I didn’t really feel the tension between the two groups. It seemed like a somewhat lifeless conflict. And it just kept going. We were just reading the same thing over and over again. Yes, they are not getting along; let’s get to the point please. The plot wandered a bit. What was the point of Lina sneaking on the truck and going to the city? To learn from Ma Enjoyable book, though not as good as the first. I did like watching the people of Ember encounter the outside world for the first time, but I didn’t really feel the tension between the two groups. It seemed like a somewhat lifeless conflict. And it just kept going. We were just reading the same thing over and over again. Yes, they are not getting along; let’s get to the point please. The plot wandered a bit. What was the point of Lina sneaking on the truck and going to the city? To learn from Maddy about doing good deeds? To realize that she needed to stop dreaming of a better place for her people and embrace what she had in the present? I’m not really sure, but it just didn’t fit. The message was a bit heavy-handed, but I will forgive that. I think sometimes it is easy, as an adult, to say that a message is heavy-handed, but something like this can be mind-blowing to a kid who may be encountering these ideas for the first time. You can never go wrong with teaching love and acceptance and understanding and showing that there is always an opportunity to do good wherever we are. I appreciate a story in which the main character learns that hate breeds hate and the only way to stop it is to do good, no matter how hard it is. I really love that DuPrau shows, in this book and The City of Ember, how hard it can be to do what is necessary. I like that Lina struggles with helping the people of Sparks put out the fire, and I love the image of a single girl running across a smoky square to join the chaos and help a group with whom her people were about to do battle. For all the bad writing and plotting, I enjoyed the book and I’m glad it ended on a note of hope. I don’t know if I appreciate the writing enough to read the third book though.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Tyas

    I was afraid after the ending of City of Ember, the next books will lose the fantastic, gripping aura the first book has. At least People of Sparks proved that I was wrong. It is highly exciting, it kept me reading with a heart that beat faster than usual, wanting to know how it all would end, feeling all the basic and even more complicated emotions in my heart as I went through the pages. The books are set in a post-apocalyptic world. The world is healing; things start to get better, but the worl I was afraid after the ending of City of Ember, the next books will lose the fantastic, gripping aura the first book has. At least People of Sparks proved that I was wrong. It is highly exciting, it kept me reading with a heart that beat faster than usual, wanting to know how it all would end, feeling all the basic and even more complicated emotions in my heart as I went through the pages. The books are set in a post-apocalyptic world. The world is healing; things start to get better, but the world is still almost empty of civilization, and destroyed, abandoned cities loom everywhere. This is the world to which the citizens of Ember emerge from the deep, and how many astonishing things are waiting for them! Things they haven't known, such as the sun, trees, stars, the changing seasons... and war. It is interesting how DuPrau managed to show us how even in a rather small group of people (well, about eight hundred in total), so much hate and so many blow-exchanges can happen, just because of one person's evil intent, one person's finger-pointing at another... It all made me shudder with fear. And how a small step of a human being can set changes toward the better. A small step taken by two very humane, young characters, with their own setbacks and mistakes and fears, but they gather enough courage to make their small steps. Almost made me weep. People of Sparks is as depressing as the claustrophobic City of Ember, but at the end, there's always a glimmer of hope. I'm curious of how this series will continue... and end.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Linda Hart

    This is a sequel to New York Times bestselling dystopian The City of Ember. The first book, Ember, was a story of setting and plot, while Sparks is a story of characters and relationships. The author has done good job of capturing the tensions involved in a refugee situation, especially one where there aren't enough resources to go around--a better job, I think, than most adult books on the topic. As a Middle school or Young Adult read it opens the door to a good discussion of the difficulties a This is a sequel to New York Times bestselling dystopian The City of Ember. The first book, Ember, was a story of setting and plot, while Sparks is a story of characters and relationships. The author has done good job of capturing the tensions involved in a refugee situation, especially one where there aren't enough resources to go around--a better job, I think, than most adult books on the topic. As a Middle school or Young Adult read it opens the door to a good discussion of the difficulties and rewards of politics, and there are some good life lessons, not the least being the idea that the only way to stop bad events from escalating, is to return good for bad and convince your opponent to stop the cycle of retaliation: “Can't it be stopped?" said Lina. . . "Maybe it can be stopped at the beginning," Maddy said. "If someone sees what's happening and is brave enough to reverse the direction." "Reverse the direction?"... "Yes, turn it around." "How would you do that?"... "You'd do something good," said Maddy. "Or at least you'd keep yourself from doing something bad." "But how could you?" said Lina. "When people have been mean to you, why would you want to be good to them?" "You wouldn't want to," said Maddy. "That's what makes it hard. you do it anyway. Being good is hard. Much harder than being bad.” Though it is not as plot driven as Ember, I found this a thought-provoking read about the future, the past, the nature of conflict, and the road to peace. Audiobook version (fantastic production with this.)

  18. 4 out of 5

    Amber

    Now freed from the slowly darkening City of Ember, Lina and Doon lead about 400 citizens across the war ravaged wasteland until they stumble upon Sparks. Faced with abandoning these people to the wastes or taking them in, the Town Council votes to adopt of the people of Ember for six months, until they can learn to fend for themselves. Fear of food shortages and rising tempers lead to traded worlds and animosity between the two peoples, and soon, there's the threat of violence. Doon, wanting to s Now freed from the slowly darkening City of Ember, Lina and Doon lead about 400 citizens across the war ravaged wasteland until they stumble upon Sparks. Faced with abandoning these people to the wastes or taking them in, the Town Council votes to adopt of the people of Ember for six months, until they can learn to fend for themselves. Fear of food shortages and rising tempers lead to traded worlds and animosity between the two peoples, and soon, there's the threat of violence. Doon, wanting to see justice served, find himself conflicted at the idea of fighting back... but it's only fair, right? And Lina takes an unexpected adventure that leads her to understand how the world ended before. My actual review for this is 3.5 stars. It's not bad, and I think that there are a couple aspects of my specific experience that made me enjoy it less. For starters, Wendy Dillon's narration is hit-or-miss. She does a few voices that really annoy me, and ruin the scenes those characters who are in. Secondly, I'm way older than the intended audience, so that's a factor too. I think that for the right audience, and in print, The People of Sparks is a good response to The City of Ember. Jeanne DuPrau is true to her characters and the message of greed and the importance of empathy is strong. I still believe she does an incredible job balancing storytelling for middle grade readers and weaving a successful dystopia. The overall storytelling is still enough to make me push forward, but this isn't one I'll be adding to my hardcopy collection.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Craig

    This book did a really good job of capturing the tensions involved in a refugee situation, especially one where there aren't enough resources to go around -- a better job, I think, than most adult books on the topic. The tensions were clearly presented, and the emotions were well shaded and realistic. While the book did slide a bit towards having people turn out to be "good guys" and "bad guys," I think it's not any more so than any political discussion; I'm sure most readers hate certain actual This book did a really good job of capturing the tensions involved in a refugee situation, especially one where there aren't enough resources to go around -- a better job, I think, than most adult books on the topic. The tensions were clearly presented, and the emotions were well shaded and realistic. While the book did slide a bit towards having people turn out to be "good guys" and "bad guys," I think it's not any more so than any political discussion; I'm sure most readers hate certain actual political figures more than they would hate any person in this book. And this book is, in its sneaky way, about the difficulty and rewards of politics. I liked that 300 pages through the book, I still didn't know what would happen between the People of Ember (the "cavepeople," it made me think of Fred Flintstone every time I read that) and the People of Sparks. And if the happy ending came a bit too easily -- if people were a bit too willing to take blame upon themselves rather than heaping it on others, a bit too willing to abandon the demagogues they had been following, a bit too willing to let bygones by bygones -- well, it is a YA book. The ability to honestly tackle as a difficult an issue as humanely treating refugee populations -- showing how difficult it is, and at the same time showing a plausible path forward -- is not a common one, and the ability to do all that in the context of a genuinely entertaining book is even less so.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Hailey

    I highly recommend this series.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Dorian

    In this sequel to "The City of Ember", 400-odd Emberites leave their dying city for the outside world. There, they find a village named Sparks, and ask for help. Of course, it's not that easy. The population of Sparks is only about 300, and is inclined to be suspicious of these strange, pallid, undersized people who seem to know nothing of the basics of life. Then, too, there's a limit to how much spare food they have... On the other side, the Emberites have difficulty coping with weather and ha In this sequel to "The City of Ember", 400-odd Emberites leave their dying city for the outside world. There, they find a village named Sparks, and ask for help. Of course, it's not that easy. The population of Sparks is only about 300, and is inclined to be suspicious of these strange, pallid, undersized people who seem to know nothing of the basics of life. Then, too, there's a limit to how much spare food they have... On the other side, the Emberites have difficulty coping with weather and have no experience of the hard manual labour involved in running a village without electricity. But eventually - mostly thanks to Our Hero and Heroine - the difficulties are solved. I didn't enjoy this as much as I did "The City of Ember". The plot-line was simply less interesting to me, and the author rams home her messages of peace, tolerance and understanding with a very heavy hand.

  22. 4 out of 5

    George Kulz

    I like how this book in the series is a more complete story, as opposed to the first one. Also, I like that this is a completely new adventure with the same characters from the first book, so that this book could stand alone on its own. And, I like the messages of this book, although they seem a bit heavy handed at times. The best image of all was the ending, which I won't give away in case people haven't read it yet, but it's a nice tie-in to the first book, as well as a simple symbol of hope f I like how this book in the series is a more complete story, as opposed to the first one. Also, I like that this is a completely new adventure with the same characters from the first book, so that this book could stand alone on its own. And, I like the messages of this book, although they seem a bit heavy handed at times. The best image of all was the ending, which I won't give away in case people haven't read it yet, but it's a nice tie-in to the first book, as well as a simple symbol of hope for the future of the characters of this book, both the well-known ones from The City of Ember and the newly introduced characters.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Berna

    This book was so much better than the first one. I LOVE the main characters. Lina and Doon they're just... GOOD. Good people. They're brave with great morality. I liked Kenny and Maddy's characters. They were so wise and lovable. Caspar seemed to me like a bad cartoon villain, twisting his mostache and laughing in a weird way. He was a joke. I HATED Torren. At the end, after all that happened he didn't say thank you or sorry. HATED HATED HATED. So immature! Tick was a douchebag. So happy he left, This book was so much better than the first one. I LOVE the main characters. Lina and Doon they're just... GOOD. Good people. They're brave with great morality. I liked Kenny and Maddy's characters. They were so wise and lovable. Caspar seemed to me like a bad cartoon villain, twisting his mostache and laughing in a weird way. He was a joke. I HATED Torren. At the end, after all that happened he didn't say thank you or sorry. HATED HATED HATED. So immature! Tick was a douchebag. So happy he left, though he deserved worse. Love the journey that was this book. The ending was exciting. Really looking forward to reading more about the People of Sparks!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Clara Biesel

    I really, really like this book. I read The City of Ember years ago, and knew there were sequels, but hadn't gotten around to reading them. While Ember explored fascinating ideas of equality and scarcity, The People of Sparks is a post-apocalyptic narrative in which the solution is not to take up arms and destroy the oppressors, (as in most YA of this genre) but for everyone to do the hard, sacrificial work of coming together to solve the problems of a troubled world. The way it deals with us vs I really, really like this book. I read The City of Ember years ago, and knew there were sequels, but hadn't gotten around to reading them. While Ember explored fascinating ideas of equality and scarcity, The People of Sparks is a post-apocalyptic narrative in which the solution is not to take up arms and destroy the oppressors, (as in most YA of this genre) but for everyone to do the hard, sacrificial work of coming together to solve the problems of a troubled world. The way it deals with us vs. them narratives, and particularly the presence of refugees is beautiful, and even prophetic. The writing is gentle and gorgeous.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Dolly

    This is the second book in the series. It's good, not great - a bit too preachy in places and the conflicts were overly inflated and deflated a bit to perfunctorily at the end. Also, I was surprised that the many skills that the people of Ember had were not put to use in helping to design more advanced technology. If they were able to fix it, they would have at least some idea how to create it (pumps, electricity, food production, etc.) In addition, I felt that many of the characters were not tha This is the second book in the series. It's good, not great - a bit too preachy in places and the conflicts were overly inflated and deflated a bit to perfunctorily at the end. Also, I was surprised that the many skills that the people of Ember had were not put to use in helping to design more advanced technology. If they were able to fix it, they would have at least some idea how to create it (pumps, electricity, food production, etc.) In addition, I felt that many of the characters were not that well developed and their actions served merely as stereotypical plot devices.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    I am really enjoying the City of Ember series. They are just fun, easy reads that have a great message to them. I highly recommend them.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Munroe

    After rereading this book from last year I found how cleshay the book really was. I thought it would be as good even better the second time I read it.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    we don't have the city of ember either??? this is the sequel!! i read it!! but for some reason i don't have the first book, and i feel like that one would be the only one worth keeping. this was another series that was huge in third grade (and another cover that was more adult/dark/mysterious to my nine year old self), but i was never as obsessed with it as other kids i knew.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Brandon O'Neill

    A great follow up and moving ahead of the story. Can't wait to see where it goes from here.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany

    Not bad, definitely for a younger audience. I liked finding out what happened to the people of Ember after the escaped from their underground city.

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