Friday, May 1, 2015

The People of Sparks (Book of Ember, #2)The People of Sparks by Jeanne DuPrau
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a sequel to New York Times bestselling dystopian The City of Ember. The first book, Ember, was a story of setting and plot, while Sparks is a story of characters and relationships. The author has done good job of capturing the tensions involved in a refugee situation, especially one where there aren't enough resources to go around--a better job, I think, than most adult books on the topic.

As a Middle school or Young Adult read it opens the door to a good discussion of the difficulties and rewards of politics, and there are some good life lessons, not the least being the idea that the only way to stop bad events from escalating, is to return good for bad and convince your opponent to stop the cycle of retaliation:

“Can't it be stopped?" said Lina. . .
"Maybe it can be stopped at the beginning," Maddy said. "If someone sees what's happening and is brave enough to reverse the direction."
"Reverse the direction?"...
"Yes, turn it around."
"How would you do that?"...
"You'd do something good," said Maddy. "Or at least you'd keep yourself from doing something bad."
"But how could you?" said Lina. "When people have been mean to you, why would you want to be good to them?"
"You wouldn't want to," said Maddy. "That's what makes it hard. you do it anyway. Being good is hard. Much harder than being bad.”

Though it is not as plot driven as Ember, I found this a thought-provoking read about the future, the past, the nature of conflict, and the road to peace.

Audiobook version (fantastic production with this.)

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