**spoiler alert** This technically would have 3.5 stars, but Goodreads doesn't provide half stars - so three it is.
This book brings up an interesting**spoiler alert** This technically would have 3.5 stars, but Goodreads doesn't provide half stars - so three it is.
This book brings up an interesting and confusing moral dilemma - does violence breed violence? When faced with individuals whose way of life interferes or differs with yours (the Emberites, who know nothing of the world above the surface, needing food and shelter provided by the Sparkites), animosity starts on both sides (Emberites not getting enough food, the Sparkites having to give up their food), and an attack leads to a counterattack, what is to be done? Could this have been prevented? What is the answer to violence, or the precursor thereof? Maddy believes it is kindness, putting aside the hate - as hard as it may be - to reach an understanding or common ground (she says it's easier to be bad than good), but does this (always) work? Does this tactic change from dealing with smashed vegetables to bombs? It's tricky ground, and the book certainly make you think about all of this - and relate it back to real life. For being YA, this book deals with such a heavy topic with grace and does not force the "right" answer upon the reader, but allows him or her to gather the information, see that there is no black and white, and decide what THEY would do, given the circumstances.
An example of the not-black-and-white would be Doon's common inner monologue. He feels that because the Sparkites "started" it and hurt the Emberites, they should also be hurt in return, but should they, really? And does not wanting to fight make Doon a coward, when he really doesn't feel that he is? This just drives home the point that Lina and Doon are still very much, obviously, children. How would they know to make the right decisions for huge situations like this - can they, even?
The book also shows the power of a strong voice (Tick) has to a group of scared and angry people. It can be for good, or for bad - it depends on the message. Mary, one of the town leaders, even said: "The actions of a few troubled individuals fanned resentments into violence. Only an accident kept us from murdering each other."
And yet Doon reaches out to Tick, seeing a strong individual who posses great possibility and courage - something Doon no doubt wants to feel and be himself, but has not yet found the courage and inner strength. And isn't this how many children feel? Trying to find that one person to learn from, and then finding out that person wasn't so great to begin with. I hope that Doon finds his own way, because given the circumstances, he would have made an amazing scientist or engineer.
Another thing that stuck out to me was the town's reaction when the roamer's came through. Bringing "special" things such as soap, the town went mad, bidding much of their crops and other food to acquire such lovely wares. But for things like jewelry, in a place where work and life and the possibility of death takes precedence over such frivolity as jewelry, there is no value. One man even trades for some jewelry to give to his wife, but if she doesn't want it, he will use it to "pretty up" his oxen!
I also liked how what Maddy tells Lina while they and Caspar are going to the city, about the start of war and how to end it, reflects to what Doon and the rest of the Emberites are going through in Sparks. I found it to be a nice little mirror-effect.
The thing that will always stay with me is the Emberites reactions upon coming up from below, to a world so beautiful and bright compared to their underground hovel. I like to imagine how I would feel, seeing a blue sky instead of black, to feel the wind on my skin for the first time, and I realize I would weep just like many of the Emberites, to be in such a beautiful place. But this place of beauty has a harsh side, of course. The heat can kill and turn prospering crops to shriveling dust, the sun can burn. When Lina see's the special things Caspar brought back from roaming for Torren, Lina imagines how the world must have been THEN, as beautiful as it was now, or terrible because of the Disaster that occurred. It makes one reflect on the beauty of the world, but also how much has been "broken" by people.
Lina even reflects that she loves this beautiful world, except for the troubles with people. It is unfortunate, but true.
All that said, it does read as a YA novel - simple and to the point, no overly-developed characters, but it was still very much worth the read, and I plan to further pursue the series.
I would have liked to know more about the day-to-day of Sparks, more about how it was founded, and - of course - as much as possible about the Disaster....more
I've read all the stories in this collection (save for one) in The Dunwich Horror back in November 2009, though I have not yet read this particular coI've read all the stories in this collection (save for one) in The Dunwich Horror back in November 2009, though I have not yet read this particular collection. I've rated it, though, as I adored The Dunwich Horror and am so glad that my favorite stories are in this collection - particularly "The Whisperer in Darkness", the first Lovecraft story I ever read. Will be a bedside staple for a long time to come....more
A fun little book, and an excellent introduction to Agatha Christie.
There's not much to say on this one; it's a classic "who done it?" scenario. A manA fun little book, and an excellent introduction to Agatha Christie.
There's not much to say on this one; it's a classic "who done it?" scenario. A man is murdered on a snowbound train. It would seem that none of the passengers would have a motive for killing the man, a group of 12 strangers, but as per usual in murder mysteries, the funny little man with the fantastic mustache figures it all out in the end.
I must say, I really had no idea who did done it. I was thinking perhaps the Hungarian fellow and Ms. Debenham, but in the end... I won't say exactly, but there is neat little a twist....more