The People of Sparks by Jeanne DuPrau - Review


The People of Ember, now escaped from their ruined city, have entered into a new world. They travel for days until they reach Sparks, a post-Disaster settlement. Together, they are accepted into the life of Sparks, but due to food shortages, are told they may only stay for six months. During that time, they are to learn the skills they need to survive in the Empty Lands. Unfortunately, that means that it will be right at the beginning of winter. 

If they're impending doom weren't enough, it seems like they aren't quite as accepted as it had first seemed.


I really liked  this book. I mean, really liked it. It might be considered a middle grade novel, but it was good. It kept me wanting to turn the pages.

Most questions that were opened were eventually closed. There was even a part about songs that I thought had nothing to do with anything, until they had something to do with something. Things like that were fairly subtle, which is surprising because, as I said earlier, I think it's considered a middle grade novel.

However, something that wasn't too subtle was the theme, and this is probably for the same reason as mentioned above. Though I can't really complain. I noticed it and thought I was Very, Very Smart.

I haven't read The City of Ember  for quite some years, now. Though I'm not sure this is the best way, I liked forgetting some details. Nothing was overly explained. I also felt it helped me understand the struggle of Sparks to tolerate the Emberites.

Character's were fully thought-out and developed. I noticed no Mary Sues or the likes. Each had their own personality. There were differences between even the way the Emberites talked compared to the people of Sparks. People DuPrau wanted you to dislike or be weary of, she made it very clear. 

DuPrau's style of writing was completely enthralling for me. I seem to have this trouble when books go too heavily on descriptions and even use redundant dialogue that takes away from the overall plot. Neil Gaiman, for example, uses his words carefully (in what I've read of him). He uses them conservatively. And while, DuPrau certainly isn't as bare-bones as Neil Gaiman (if he can even be called "bare-bones", because truthfully, his writing is very descriptive), she doesn't go all lead-foot on her words and inject them where they don't need to be. From what seems like a marathon of reading stories that do that, this was refreshing.

This seems to be just what I needed to read. There was no giddy-romance  between Lina and Doon; there was no monster trying to take their life. The buildup was perfectly paced and nothing seemed forced. The descriptions of a post-Disaster world felt real and tangible in life some of us live today: a careful balance between what is right and what is fear and anger.


Rating: 4.5/5