Muzzlehatch's Reviews > The People of Sparks

The People of Sparks by Jeanne DuPrau
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's review
Nov 12, 08

bookshelves: sf, juvenile, fletcher-free
Recommended for: people looking for good ol' post-apocalyptic kid's books
Read in November, 2008

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.
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11/10/2008 page 80
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Doris Chen just kept wishing I could slap torren in the face... Especially After accusing Doon... :p

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