The Prophet of Yonwood is a science fiction-fantasy novel, written by Jeanne DuPrau. While published third in The Books of Ember series, The Prophet of Yonwood forms a prequel to the other books in the series.
War looms on the horizon as eleven-year-old Nickie and her aunt travel to the small town of Yonwood, in North Carolina, America. There, one of the town's most respected citizens has had a terrible vision of fire and destruction: the future of the world – or so the people of Yonwood believe. As the people of Yonwood scramble to make sense of the woman's strange utterances, Nickie explores the town – and is surprised by what she finds...
I did enjoy this book a little bit, but not very much, and not as nearly as much as the previous two books in the series, The City of Ember, and The People of Sparks. Of course, these two were a tough act to follow: they are two of my all-time favourite books, but I still felt slightly let down by the author, after her brilliance. The book didn't really seem to know what it was doing; if it was trying to be an adventure-style novel, as with the previous two, it failed, as it just didn't grip me. On the other hand, if it was trying to be a thoughtful book, it should have focused a lot more on the thoughtful moments. Throughout the book, I was expecting it to take off, but it never did – there wasn't even an exciting climax.
However, it did teach me one very important point successfully – we all desperately, desperately, need the Bible. Throughout whole book, the main character asks, "is that right? Is doing this right?". But, because of the lack of the Bible, she has no reference point. When she asks her aunt, the aunt replies with,
"I guess if I had to answer, I'd say that you look to see if what you're doing causes harm. If it hurts anyone. If so, it's probably not good."
It's just about okay for a child, I guess, but what about, say, fighting the Second World War (from Britain's point of view)? It caused harm. Does that mean it was a "bad" thing? It is a pity the aunt did not say that she should search for the answer in the Bible, but there you go. I'm not sure what the author means you to follow, but I think that she merely means to raise questions in the reader's mind.
Overall, very disappointing – I would not recommend it.
I thought The Prophet of Yonwood was very good. I used the characters in it for my games. I used the old house as well. I thought it was not as good as The City of Ember and about the same as The People of Sparks. When I was reading the book I wanted to keep coming back to it and finish it. I did not think the bit about the dogs was very good.
I didn't make it beyond chapter 1! It just wasn't interesting.
I enjoyed it mostly but I found Mrs.Beeson annoying and I think it would be better if they left out god all together.
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- Reading Age: 13+
- Reading Aloud Age: 12+
One description of how a snake eats a baby mouse.
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- Other books in The Books of Ember series.