Thursday, September 29, 2011

The People of Sparks

Title:               The People of Sparks
Category:       Science Fiction
Grade:            4-8
Author:          Jeanne DuPrau
Publisher:       Random House
Date:               2004
Pages:             338

Lina, Doon and the people of Ember have survived their escape from the dying city.  Now in the world above, they must make a way for themselves with almost no skills or knowledge about their new environment.  After stumbling on the small village of Sparks, they are reluctantly taken in by its occupants, but vast differences in culture and mounting worries about food shortages cause hostility to grow quickly – a hostility that is fueled covertly by some unknown agent of one of the towns.  Lina and Doon have their own set of differences, and Lina fears they are growing apart.  Stealing away with one of the traders, Lina sets out for the city of her imaginings, hoping to find an answer for them all, while Doon, left behind, tries to uncover the person pushing both the communities toward war.

As well-written as the first, Sparks nevertheless takes a very different tone, focusing on how people groups collide and escalate their conflicts to violence.  DuPrau continues to demonstrate her strong and readable storytelling skills, keeping readers in touch with their favorite characters from Ember and introducing us to several new ones – some likeable, some not. 


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