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The People of Sparks is a post-apocalyptic science fiction novel, written by Jeanne DuPrau, and published in 2004. It is the sequel to The City of Ember, and is, in publication order, the second novel in The Books of Ember series. Chronologically, it is the third novel in the series.

The story opens where The City of Ember left off – with the residents of the dying city of Ember following the Instructions for Egress and joining the main characters, Lina Mayfleet and Doon Harrow, above ground. After wandering in the wilderness for days, the people of Ember happen upon the village of Sparks, one of the few human settlements to have been started after an event called the 'Disaster'. Confronted with the four hundred residents of Ember in dire need of food and shelter, the three leaders of Sparks are reluctant to help, especially as the Emberites and the people of Sparks soon find themselves at odds. The Emberites are puzzled by the lack of electricity, plumbing, medicine, and other comforts they had in Ember. They also find it difficult to adapt to sunlight, animals, and nature. The residents of Sparks, in contrast, do not believe that the people of Ember came from an underground city, are impatient with their lack of knowledge about the world, and resent their use of limited resources. As the two groups of people get ever increasingly hostile towards each other, it looks like the Emberites' escape was for nothing...

Reader's Reviews


Brilliant! Highly unusually for a sequel, it is every bit as good as the first book, The City of Ember. Inspiring, exciting, thrilling, suspenseful and well written, it makes for wonderful reading. Highly recommended to anyone over the age of 11. Very thought provoking as well, with lots of "What is the right thing to do here?" moments.


The People of Sparks was not as good as the previous book in the series, The City of Ember, but it was still a very good book once I got into it. Out of 10, I would give it 9-and-a-half.


An excellent sequel to The City of Ember. I wondered whether Jeanne DuPrau would be able to follow up the original book, but she presents the contrast between the Emberites and the people of Sparks extremely well. The main theme of this book is conflict, and how to handle it. There is no real violence, but there are a variety of situations where different characters (or groups of people) come into conflict because of mis-understandings or shortages of food and resources. All these situations ring very true to life, and leave the reader to consider who is right or wrong.

I'd warmly recommend this novel for readers of 12+.


Deals with the theme of conflict at both an individual level and a world level. Another excellent read from this author.


This is a very satisfying follow-up to the cliff-hanger left at the end of The City of EmberThe People of Sparks inspires hope and shows that something can be done about bleak situations. DuPrau kept the Emberites true to their original characters from Ember and depicted a very realistic scenario based on the situation of the two groups of people, and answers many of the questions from the previous book, while at the same time creating new ones to keep readers wanting more. An excellent sequel!


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Parental Guidance

  • Reading age: 12+
  • Read aloud age: 11+

Very moral novel. The themes are slightly older in this novel than The City of Ember.

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External links


  1. Jeanne DuPrau information on Random House (PDF file)

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