Sara's Reviews > The Prophet of Yonwood

The Prophet of Yonwood by Jeanne DuPrau
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's review
Sep 14, 2008

it was ok
bookshelves: middle-grade, 2008, sci-fi-fantasy
Read in September, 2008

I read this because I'd read the first two books in the City of Ember series and enjoyed them; this is the 3rd book and a prequel to the events in Ember, so I expected a good story about why the city of Ember was built and how it all began. Instead, this book introduced eleven-year-old Nicki, who moves to her great-grandfather's old mansion in the city of Yonwood and discovers there is a woman regarded as a prophet living there, whose words are interpreted by another woman and the city follows her instructions accordingly, trying to be so "good" that "evil" wont come to their town.

The writing in the book is about the same as it was in the previous books - that is to say, it is light, easy, and has a good tone. I liked Nicki as the main character and I sympathized with her wanting to be good and do good. I even thought the plot was decent: the country may be on the brink of war, and everyone hopes that by following the prophet, they will be saved from destruction. However, this book felt barely connected to the earlier two book in the Ember series. It's not until the last two pages of this book that we find out how Nicki and her story tie in to Lina and her story in Ember. In that regard, it's not much of an installment in the series.

Rounding out my complaints about this book is the fact the some of the most interesting aspects of the story are not fully developed. For example, while exploring the mansion, Nicki finds old photographs and letters and even her great-grandfather's old notebook that he recorded strange observations in. These were interesting to read about, but we never get to find out their purpose or what, exactly, her great-grandfather was recording or who the person he mentions in his writings is. I wondered, what was the point of even mentioning these things if they go nowhere? Just to pad the book and add another layer of "charm" about the mansion and area? Futhermore, while I thought the story itself was decent, it was almost too much of a parable about religion and politics at times, and I hate reading fiction that the author uses as a venue to project his/her political views, no matter what the view are (unless, of course, these views are seamlessly intertwined with the narration and serve only to strengthen it - which is not the case here). The author's views are certainly present in The People of Sparks, but I overlooked it there in favor of the good story it encompassed. In The Prophet of Yonwood, it is almost too much, and I was not able to get lost in the story enough to ignore it. So, that was pretty irritating too. One more complaint: Nicki goes to Yonwood with one of her goals being to fall in love. What?!? She's 11! I kinda rolled my eyes every time this was mentioned.

Overall, this was a decent installment in the "series" (and I use that word lightly because, as I mentioned earlier, it barely ties in to the other books...) but nowhere near as enthralling as Ember or even Sparks. If you're a fan of the series and want to keep reading, go into this book not expecting its plot to really coincide with the others. This would have been so much better if it'd focused on the events right before people went to Ember (this book takes place 50 years earlier!) or even focused on the first people who went into Ember and how they coped. This book ends (in the epilogue) where it should have begun...
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08/31 marked as: read

Comments <span class="smallText"> (showing 1-2 of 2) </span> <span class="smallText">(2 new)</span>

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message 1: by Rhonda (last edited Nov 03, 2008 11:40AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rhonda I have to agree with Sara's review. I would have liked to have seen more of what the great grandfather was up to.

Sofie Though I myself enjoyed the book a lot, I think your questions are really valid.

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