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Sometimes teachers are right. From the moment I set my eyes on the first word of The City of Ember, I was intrigued. Yes. Leads are indeed effective. As I read through the rich storytelling and the writing style in The City of Ember, I fell in love with. The adventure that Lina and Doon went on together was a sight for sore eyes. When I realized that there was a sequel to this book, I instantly went to my school library and checked the second one out.

Some people say that sequels are not as quite good as the first book. That might be the case of most movie franchises or successful book series’, but in that case, The City of Ember series is extraordinary. The reason The People of Sparks stood up just like the first book was because of questions that the characters had throughout the story. It is explained in the series that a gigantic disaster—consisting of the Four Wars caused by humans, which were followed by the Three Plagues—wiped out most of humanity. Because of this the Builders—who are like the gods in this series—created Ember, which was a refuge. However, after the events of the first book the People of Ember escape their underground refuge and meet the People of Sparks who lived in their village.

The characters from both sides constantly asked each other different questions after the leader of Sparks declared that they would help the People of Ember for 6 months. Why don't these cavemen know how to farm? Why do these villagers live backwards and not have electricity? Additionally, the characters ask themselves what the ancient people were like. They ask questions about our society today, and as an audience that is part of that society, it was really entertaining and interesting. Overall, these questions kept me hooked.

Over time, this book also expressed an important theme to the audience. As the People of Sparks and Ember began living together in different ways, confusion later became exhaustion and anger when the People of Sparks started to get tired of helping Ember all the time. Later, an all-out war began, and the author carefully put a message to not let hatred and anger fuel you and try to work together with different people.

Overall, this book was incredible for me as it untangled the aftermath of humanity and important lessons. The author did an outstanding job establishing this world and the characters of Lina and Doon, who represented Ember as well as the People of Sparks. I recommend this to all young audiences. This book unleashed my imagination and I strongly urge you to try out the series.


The People of Sparks by Jeanne DuPrau. Yearling Books, 2005. Buy the book here and help support Stone Soup in the process!

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