Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The People of Sparks, Jeanne DuPrau

I absolutely LOVED this Second book of Ember. Doon and Lina's adventure continues above ground when they come upon the City of Sparks. Of course, the people of Sparks feel obligated to help, even though the people of Ember more than double their population and they are some of the few survivors of the Disaster (which had both a war aspect and natural disaster aspect, reminiscent for me of The Testing and it's '7 stages of war, 4 wars and 3 huge Earth calamities, I think that was the book with that).

It's interesting how almost immediately, the two groups begin to compare ways of life....much technology has been lost and there is no electricity in Sparks, but they had electricity in Ember, different foods are available above than below, there are animals and weather conditions (Ember's climate was always the same) and much plant life that Emberites never knew. It's also interesting to note how quickly one person's unhappiness and wanting to blame someone else (scapegoat), and another's quest for power/control can escalate into an all out war. Misunderstandings get outrageous and no one seems to be willing to listen to another. Of course, innocent children are able to help.

There is one really quiet, wise adult figure who is not from either group. She explains to Lina about conflict and war. It's very matter of fact and not in a condemning sort of way, but in a "this is human nature" way, I felt.

There is also an emotionally charged scene in which Lina wants to make the right choice, but no one else is making the right choice and she is afraid to do it on her own, but as soon as she does, pretty much the entire community follows suit. Often it only takes one person to be courageous enough to do the right thing. We can't always wait for someone else to do it. Even children can be examples for adults. Sometimes as adults we are even more hindered in our minds than we would be as children.

Can't say enough good about this book!!!

**I have to say that I am partially into Book 3 which is actually a prequel, and I am honestly not quite sure what to think of it, as I am not sure of the author's intent on the way she is treating religion in Book 3. I will withhold final judgement on it until I finish and hopefully see what her point is, but just know that if you are religious, you may feel put out with her treatment of her characters and how they view faith, religion, God and love of God and what it will "do" for you.

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