Books, Reviews

The Prophet of Yonwood Book Review

All these words, written so long ago, seemed to say to her, Remember us. We were here. We were real.

The Prophet of Yonwood by Jeanne DuPrau is the prequel novel to the City of Ember series… but not really.

Plot Summary

An eleven-year-old girl spends a summer in Yonwood, North Carolina helping her aunt clean out her great grandfather’s house. During this time, she is immersed into an odd town with even odder townspeople. Nickie has to learn the difference between good and evil and who you can trust.

What I Thought

This book is supposedly a prequel to the City of Ember series, but it’s not. The entire story has no relation to the first two books until the last two pages, which ultimately makes reading this book a complete waste of time.

The story is about eleven-year-old Nickie, a girl who will eventually – 50 years in the future – become one of the first citizens of Ember. At the beginning, Nickie is spending the summer in North Carolina with her aunt cleaning out her late Great Grandfather’s house to fix it up to sell. The town turns out to be a very peculiar town with weird, naive natives who have strange religious overtones and follow this insane lady and do whatever she says. It’s honestly not interesting in the least.

Reading this book is like reading an author’s scattered notes and ideas for a story. There is not plot. DuPrau just takes you on these goose-chases that do not lead anywhere. For example:

  • There is a random girl and her dog living in her great grandfather’s attic
  • Nickie finds a letter written in a weird crosshatch type of way
  • Nickie finds a picture of Siamese twins
  • Her great grandfather’s journal talks of a mysterious vision
  • Some citizens of Yonwood are required to wear noisy bracelets against their will
  • There is an albino bear in the woods posing as a “terrorist”
  • Nickie’s father sends her odd letters

Literally, this story can barely be called a story, but the worst part is that it has no relation to the City of Ember. This should have been a standalone book, not dubbed a prequel just because the uber annoying, naive, childish main character will grow up to live in Ember.

This book could have been great if written from a Builder’s perspective or talked about entering Ember and what it was like in it’s prime or why they chose to teach this or that or not provide this. It could have been very intriguing and informative, but instead we get this piece of garbage.

My Review: 0 Stars

Do not waste your time with this “prequel.” I recommend to no one.

Did you feel this was an adequate prequel to the series?

 

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Books, Reviews

The People of Sparks Book Review

‘When someone has been mean to you, why would you want to be good to them?’ You wouldn’t want to. That’s what makes it hard. You do it anyway. Being good is hard. Much harder than being bad. – Lina Mayfleet

The People of Sparks by Jeanne Duprau is the second book in the Book of Ember series…

Plot Summary

At the end of The City of Ember, we find out there is in fact a way out of the underground establishment and it is one big cliffhanger. In The People of Sparks, we learn that a great majority of the Emberites made it out and now they have entered a new town called Sparks. The citizens of Sparks take pity on the people from Ember and house, feed, and teach them. Through a sequence of events and the meshing of two different types of people, disagreements arise and Lina and Doon do everything they can to avoid the beginning of a war.

What I Thought

The People of Sparks is T R E M E N D O U S L Y better than it’s prequel. If you’re like me and finished the first book feeling kind of let down and are now on the fence about reading the next one, D O  I T.

This story is all about war. Jeanne explores what wars leave behind, how wars start, and how to prevent war. What I liked most is that she isn’t afraid to throw people under the bus for being the reason for war, because let’s face it, we are. There is conflict and there is resolution, but it doesn’t come easy. You get to be a part of a lot of peer pressure and confusion, but I think the story really comes together in the last 100 pages or so.

It isn’t a perfect story and there were some parts that really frustrated me. *Spoilers* First, Lina’s journey to the city was lame and unimportant. Sure, this was the connection to the first book about her drawings, but the chapters where Lina is on the road are boring and don’t add much to the story. Second, I was frustrated with the Emberites throughout majority of the second half of the book. They are very whiny and have attitudes of expectation. They are constantly complaining about how they deserve food and shelter, but the truth is, they don’t. Yes, they came up out of the ground with nothing, but they don’t deserve anything and the people of Sparks didn’t have to share their food or their shelter with them. They could just say sucks to suck, but they didn’t and the Emberites needed to recognize their generosity as well as their apprehension. Now the people of Sparks weren’t all innocent, but that doesn’t make the Emberites any more deserving. *End Spoilers*

Overall, I thought it was a great story of how conflict arises and how to put an end to it. One more thing to add: in this book, I found it hard to believe that Lina and Doon were 12 year olds. Instead, I envisioned them as more like 15 year olds… those who have read it, do you agree?

My Review: 4 Stars

If you are on the fence about continuing the Book of Ember series, I highly suggest giving this book a chance. I definitely enjoyed it and thought it was a much better story than the first.

Have you read The People of Sparks? Did you think it was a good sequel?

 

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Books, Reviews

The City of Ember Book Review

The main thing to do is pay attention. Pay close attention to everything, notice what no one else notices. Then you’ll know what no one else knows, and that’s always useful. -Doon’s Father

I am a huge fan of dystopian novels, but I was getting sick of the typical young adult stories, so I had been avoiding them. While searching Half Price Books for a new series to get into, I discovered the City of Ember. I knew it had been made into a D I S M A L movie, but it was only $2.99, so I thought I would give the book a chance to speak for itself.

Plot Summary

Hundreds of years ago, the city of Ember was created underground to ensure the the survival of the human race. The people of Ember were given everything they would need to survive until it was time for them to resurface. Now the city was running out of food, supplies, and most of all electricity. There was no hope for the city until Lina and Doon find pieces of an old piece of paper they believe might save the city!

What I Thought

I didn’t love The City of Ember, but I didn’t hate it. I found it be a bit of a slow read with some moments of over description, but I did like how a young adult dystopian novel was written without the safety net of a love story. The City of Ember is a solid story with a pretty original idea, but the images from the movie kept popping into my head making me see stupidity while reading instead of what I wanted to see (if that makes sense).

Definitely felt that making the two main characters 12 year olds was a little unrealistic, but if you don’t think about their ages while reading, it doesn’t affect too much. I like the lessons that are taught about anger and paying attention. Really, I finished the book and wasn’t blown away or super anxious about continuing the story. It does end on a cliffhanger and the last 50 pages or so are interesting, but the rest of the story is a little slow.

My Rating: 4 Stars

If you like dystopian books or a good story sans romance, I would recommend giving The City of Ember a shot! Because I have read the sequel and found it to be much more enjoyable, I would say read this book, so that you can enjoy the sequel as well. All in all, not left with many thoughts.

Have you read The City of Ember? What did ya think?

 

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