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The People of Sparks (The City of Ember) Paperback – April 12, 2005

4.3 out of 5 stars 483 customer reviews
Book 2 of 4 in the Books of Ember Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

When teenagers Lina Mayfleet and Doon Harrow lead their people up out of the Earth, fleeing their dying underground city of Ember, everything is new and a little frightening to the refugees--the sun and the moon, birds, trees, fire…and the people of Ember are strange to the 322 citizens of Sparks, one of the few towns on Earth to survive the time of The Disaster. How can they feed and house the 400 Emberites, the leaders of Sparks wonder, when they have just begun to be able to feed themselves comfortably? But if they don’t, these underground people with no survival skills will surely die in the wastelands. They take them in as best they can, but grumbling and bad feeling grows on both sides. Lina returns from a failed search for her persistent vision of a city of light to find the town, egged on by the power-hungry young thug Tick, once again at the point of war, forgetting how the Earth has been destroyed before. But Lina has seen the devastation left by The Disaster, and so she risks a brave move of reconciliation, and when Doon exposes Tick’s trickery, the two sides join as the new people of Sparks.

In this exciting and solidly constructed sequel to The City of Ember, Jeanne DuPrau moves the story on entrancingly, bringing along her cast of characters from underground and adding new dimensions and relationships as the action escalates to a satisfying conclusion that still allows for further volumes in this fine fantasy. (Ages 10 to 14) --Patty Campbell

From School Library Journal

Grade 4 9-In this sequel to The City of Ember (Random, 2003), DuPrau continues the adventures of Lina and Doon, who have led the 400 residents from the underground city of Ember to the unfamiliar world above. The refugees are tentatively welcomed, housed, and fed by the people of Sparks, located near the wasteland left by the long-ago Disaster that destroyed most of civilization. Conflicts arise between the two groups, mainly due to the differences between the sheltered, electric-powered life in Ember and the low-tech, farming-based existence in Sparks. As conflicts and violence escalate, Lina explores the wasteland and Doon finds himself caught up in the rhetoric of the militaristic and charismatic Tick. A dramatic conclusion brings the characters together and gives hope for the future of both groups, resolving the current conflicts but leaving room for future adventures. While remaining true to her characters and the building tension of the story, DuPrau clearly explores themes of nonviolence and when to stand up for oneself. The text smoothly involves new readers and fans of the first story, creating a range of three-dimensional characters in both the Ember and Sparks groups. While less gritty and mechanical than Philip Reeve's Mortal Engines (HarperCollins, 2003), and more interpersonal than Lois Lowry's The Giver (1993) and Gathering Blue (2000, both Houghton), this title will hold a similar appeal for readers who enjoy speculative fiction. This novel will make them stop and think, and its immediacy and drive make it a good choice for even reluctant readers.
Beth L. Meister, Yeshiva of Central Queens, Flushing, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 760L (What's this?)
  • Series: The City of Ember (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Yearling Books; Reprint edition (April 12, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375828257
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375828256
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (483 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,955 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J.A. VINE VOICE on August 18, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Although this is a very different book than The City of Ember, it is a perfect sequel, and not disappointing in the least. While The City of Ember may have been more inventive, in terms of an underground city that was on its last leg, this is infinitely more profound.

It's still inventive, though. A terrible Disaster has befallen the Earth, and the Emberites learn that they were sent to live below the Earth, in the event that the Disaster did, in fact, occur, and so that one day they could return to the surface and repopulate the world. If that isn't a terrific idea, I'm not sure what is.

The Emberites luckily find themselves in one of the more prosperous towns. As most in the town of Sparks are good and decent people, they agree to feed these strange newcomers for a certain amount of time, and while doing so teach them basic survival skills. As one can imagine, no Emberite possesses the skills to survive on the surface. All they knew was Ember, and the simple rules that governed survival in that city.

Sparks has its own governing rules, and Ms. DuPrau really shows a deft hand at creating intriguing cultures. It's obvious that she gave considerable thought to a post-apocalyptic world, and her vision of it is refreshing and true.

Sadly, greed raises its ugly head, on both sides, and the cultures have a terrible clash. But an important lesson is learned. It may seem trite to some, but it really is a powerful message. Paraphrased, it goes something like this: If someone does something mean to you, instead of doing something mean in return, try and do something good for them. The opportunity for such a deed presents itself, and we see this good faith effort in action. If I say more, it will be too revealing.
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Format: Hardcover
EMBER was a gripping novel. As soon as I finished it, I emailed the author begging to know what happened next. She wasn't telling, of course. "You'll have to wait for the sequel," she said. Man, was it worth the wait. I rarely tell people that they have to buy a book, that they must not let another week go by without reading a particular title. Literature is very subjective, after all. What I love, another reader may find uninspiring. SPARKS is an exception to this.
Three chapters in, I was literally teary-eyed at the lyricism of Duprau's writing. Six chapters in, I couldn't put it down. I lost SLEEP to finish this book - my ultimate testament to a really good read.
THE PEOPLE OF SPARKS is a post-apocolyptic view of the world, after wars, plague and famine have wiped out most of the human race and the few people left are struggling for survival. In the first book, THE CITY OF EMBER, the City Builders have constructed a small city deep underground and stocked it with supplies in vast storerooms, then sent 100 couples with two children each to live there. The Builders know the wars, etc. are coming, and this is how they will save us all. After 200 years, the city infrastructure is crumbling and the city leaders are corrupt, supplies are running out, and the massive generator that keeps the lights on is failing, about to doom the Emberites to permanent darkness, but two young people find the way out, the way to the surface.
This leads us to book two in the series. The kids have dropped a message back down to the people of Ember telling them the way out, but will anyone come? They do.
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By A Customer on June 2, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I bought this just because I wanted to know why they were underground in the first place. And after finishing the book I was quite pleased. I actulately think it was better than the first one. I was afraid at first that it would just be all "ahh we just sunburned" about the emberties getting adjusted to the new world.
And if you think the last one ended it did not. Where are the 400 members of Ember going to go? How are they going to find food? How can they live in a world that's already been destroyed? And they can't just go to a nearby city and live there, could they? This new book answers all those questions and is amazingly believable without any mistakes (meaning in the plot, not gramatically) and it had new characters that are believable and have personaity of their own. And many people can relate to the new characters.
It is also written very well. Much more so than the City of Ember. And she had more symbolism that wasn't as corney as painting the sky blue when the sky really was blue (no offense Jeanne if you're reading this).
So if you liked the first book you should definately go read this one. And we learned why the Emberties lived underground and what the Disastor was. And it has this one new cool thing (a picture of it on the back cover) but I wont tell you any more.
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Format: Hardcover
'The People of Sparks' is an excellent sequel to 'City of Ember' although the setting is not quite as original. Jeanne DuPrau deftly avoids the trap that many new authors fall into of trying to replicate the format that succeeded in the first book. While 'The People of Sparks' presents a more familiar setting than 'City of Ember', she still manages to paint a landscape unlike any we know.

If the author had stayed with that and limited herself to showing us her vision of a post-apocalyptic world then I would have been disappointed. As it is she gives us a whole new story. What would happen if a village of 300 mostly good people find themselves faced with the challenge of taking care of 400 starving refugees without the skills and resources to fend for themselves? Tensions would build as resources dwindle and us/them divisions would be sure to arise. Is this a small-scale version of the same conflicts that brought about the global cataclysm of the misty past? It's a good story and the reader might just finish it a little wiser.
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