Sara's Reviews > The People of Sparks

The People of Sparks by Jeanne DuPrau
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's review
Aug 17, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: middle-grade, 2008
Recommended for: fans of the first book

This book is completely different from the first one in the series, The City of Ember. While that book focused on people trying to make sense of their crumbling world and how to fix it, which led to much world-building and interesting observations about people who've lived their whole lives underground, this book picked up with the people from Ember joining a city called Sparks above ground. Here, the Emberites are completely out of their element, having never dealt with the sky and sun and its effects, or poisonous plants around, or even the vast openness that the world offers. The people of Sparks at first try to help the people of Ember, but their differences grow, tensions grow, and soon reluctant cooperation turns into outward hate, about to incite violence.

I didn't like this book quite as much as the first one, but that's not to say it was bad by any means. The author did a good job showing buildup between the two cities and how their vastly different backgrounds have made them the way they are. The author uses the themes in the book to explore the idea of how hate only incites more hate, and how people must do good to stop violence sometimes, tough as this might be. This message factors into the book quite heavily, almost taking over the whole story instead of this being a purely escapist novel.

If you've read the first book in the series, you'll probably enjoy this as well; I know I did. However, be advised that it's quite different from The City of Ember and that the ending is a little cheesy, too. I enjoyed this and will be reading the next book in the series.

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