Saturday, March 12, 2011

The People of Sparks by Jeanne DuPrau

This book is written by Jeanne DuPrau and is the sequel to her first novel, The City of Ember. I first read The City of Ember when I was in grade eight (2 years ago), and just a few weeks ago I heard about this book and decided to read it.

The City Of Ember describes an underground city where people use the technology left by their predecessors, but do not produce any. As time progresses, they realize that they are running out of light bulbs— their only source of lighting—and that they must find a solution to this problem. At the end, the protagonists, Doon and Lina, find a way out of the cave (and realize that they have been living in a cave), and throw a bottle into the city, which contains instructions for leaving the city.

Now, continue to The People of Sparks. At the beginning, the survivors from the City of Ember have gotten out of the cave and they enter a small village called the Village of Sparks. The village of Sparks is a farming  community with no technology because of the Disaster—a highly destructive war. The village has a population of 332, and with this population it is hard for the village to support the 417 people from the City of Ember, especially when the village is not particularly rich. However, the mayors still decide that they will give the Emberites (people from the city of Ember) food and shelter for six months, after which the Emberites would have to leave the village and start a new community on their own. 

At first everything goes well and the villagers welcome the Emberites. However, as food supply declines, everyone feels less happy and resentments grow. The villagers are also surprised at the Emberites' lack of knowledge of common objects, such as chicken, rain and pig. Then, a few unpleasant incidents happen which add on to the pre-existing tension between the two groups. Eventually the tension grows so much that the mayors decide to tell the Emberites to leave the village before the six months is up, which causes an uproar: The Emberites decide to declare a war if the mayors insist on having them leave.

The Emberites take jagged glasses and metal sticks to the plaza, where they would threaten the people of Sparks not to make them leave. However, the villagers of Sparks is more prepared. They launch the Weapon--a bomb--which accidentally set the town hall on fire. Then, all the people, including the Emberites, try to save the fire from spreading.

After this incident, the two groups gain trust and peace, and they decide to work on improving the community together.