The Prophet of Yonwood by Jeanne DuPrau - Review

Jeanne DuPrau
Published Date
Science Fiction
Preceded By
Followed By
The Diamond of Darkhold

In Yonwood, North Carolina, Althea Tower has a vision of war. Nickie Randolph is unaware of this vision that has spread through the town when she and her aunt come to sell their late grandfather's house. There, she meets Amanda, a girl hiding in their closet, and Grover, a boy who likes snakes.

Every night on the news, and the conversations throughout the day, Nickie hears things about a looming war, fighting nations. Yonwood would do anything to keep their town safe with a shield of goodness. But Nickie isn't sure what's good anymore.

It's hard for me to give a review without giving too many spoilers, but I'll try my best on this one. I thoroughly enjoyed the City of Ember and The People of Sparks. This one fell a little flat. I've never been one for prequels or spin-offs, so granted, I'm a little biased. But something was off with this book.

For starters, I never connected with Nickie, the main character, the same way that I connected with Lina (from The City of Ember and The People of Sparks). I didn't find her quite as likable. Throughout the beginning of the novel, she blindly accepts what people say as true without questioning it, and that bothered me.

However, in that sense, it was fairly realistic. Nickie is eleven-years-old. Right and wrong is something that she had probably only been taught. It wasn't until near the climax of the story that she started to realize her wrong doings.

That sounds like a familiar plot of a book, I'm sure. However in this case, she didn't question what was right or wrong, she didn't question the Prophet or Brenda Beeson, she didn't question the people around her, and didn't try to correct her mistakes.

Let me list off other things that annoyed me:

1. There is a stereotypical, creepy old man living close-by to one of the characters.
2. Some characters annoyed the stink out of me (and yes, I did just say "stink").
3. The message was, at times, a little too clear.

These things worked a little in favor for the book. The characters were supposed to annoy you because you, the reader, are meant to question their judgement. The message, while overtly stated, was strong. I have to understand that this book was also written for children, and themes are going to be, usually, more obvious.

However, there were a lot of things in this novel that don't seem to tie in with the rest of the series, so far. For instance - there was a very distinct scene with a bear. DuPrau put a lot of emphasis on this bear. But I don't know the reason. Through the entire novel, I was trying hard to find some connections - a little easter-egg here or there, but I couldn't find any. The ending seemed slapped on, as an attempt to connected the two parts of the series together.

Now, after all of this bad, let's move on to the good.

The concept of this story was good. A woman has a "vision" of war, and the town goes bezerk trying to prevent it from happening. It was executed fairly well, too. The main characters had some likable attributes - but as every person does, they had their flaws.

A new aspect was added to the story (and I can't tell you what it is). It almost gives you an entirely new perspective on the story - however she graced over it, and moved on. This intrigued me the most, probably because of how she handled it. I hope to see more of Hoyt McCoy (the old man) and his...project, in future novels. I hope to see more of Hoyt McCoy (the old man) and his project, as well as other loose ends, in the next book, The Diamond of Darkhold. This book will return to Lina and Doon, and their struggles above ground.

In conclusion to this review, while I could go on and on about how many flaws I saw in this book - every book has their flaws. Some are major, some are minor, but all are understandable to me. This book, in and of itself, was enjoyable enough. I will be continuing on with the series.