The People of Sparks


The People of Sparks, the second Book of Ember

Jean DuPrau

Yearling, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, 2004


Once again, as in The City of Ember, it is Lina and Doon to the rescue – this time they must make even more difficult choices in leading their fellow Emberites to safety.  Lina finds the city of her dreams and is deeply disappointed; Doon has to struggle with his anger and lies being told about him. Both must somehow bridge the gap between the two peoples and bring them together when others would have the two groups be at war with one another.

Main characters

  • Lina, 12 year old girl with a thirst for adventure and dreams for the future
  • Doon, 12 year old boy and best friends/fellow adventurer with Lina with a knack for all things mechanical

Secondary character

  • Poppy, Lina’s only living relative and young sister
  • Murdo, adoptive mother to Lina and Poppy
  • Doon’s father, who as far as I remember has no name (I would have to go back and reread the first book to make sure, so for now I will say he is nameless)
  • Edward Pocket, Doon’s friend from the library in Ember

New Characters

  • Torren Crane, younger than Lina, he was the first person who saw the Emberites coming and described them like insects coming over a hill; he is a hateful little boy and thoroughly unlikeable (at least by me); nephew to Dr. Hester
  • Hester Crane, the scatterbrained village doctor who takes in Lina, Poppy and Mrs. Murdo
  • Tick Hassler, well named for his tick (the insect)-like attributes and mob stirring tendencies
  • Mary, Ben and Wilmer, Sparks town leaders, of which Ben is dead-set against the refugees, Mary is tolerant of them and Wilmer is neutral but sides with Ben more often than not.
  • Caspar and Maddy, roamers (scavengers of outlying areas) who spend a couple of nights in Sparks and when they leave they have a stowaway with them (3 guesses as to who!); Caspar is Torren’s older brother and Maddy is from another settlement and teaches some valuable lessons to their stowaway.

So when I first started reading the book, I really enjoyed it. But as it went on I started to not like it as much. Not because of the writing or the story line – but because of the characters and how they were treating the people of Ember! The people of Sparks were nice at first but then became resentful and mean-spirited. I guess that says something about an author’s ability when a reader has an emotional reaction to her characters.  The book ended with a hopeful future and I am looking forward to reading the next installment.

(Although the third book is a prequel, I will have to wait until the fourth book to see what happens to Lina and Doon as they settle into their new home. BTW, why do authors do that – write one or two books and then go back and write a prequel? Why didn’t they write it in the beginning and the story line would be that much further along. Drives me crazy.)


Courtesy The Secret Files of Fairday Morrow

Courtesy Deviant Art

 The People of Sparks - The City by Nameisavailable

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