The People of Sparks
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|The People of Sparks|
First edition cover
|Country||United States, Canada|
|Series||The Book of Ember series|
|Genre||Children's literature, post-apocalyptic, science fiction|
|Publication date||May 25, 2004|
|Media type||Print (hardcover and paperback)|
|LC Classification||PZ7.D927 Pe 4|
|Preceded by||The City of Ember|
|Followed by||The Prophet of Yonwood|
The People of Sparks, a post-apocalyptic science fiction novel by Jeanne DuPrau that was published in 2004, and it is the second "Book of Ember" of the eponymous series, a sequel to The City of Ember, which also includes The City of Ember, The Prophet of Yonwood, and The Diamond of Darkhold. At 338 pages, it is the longest "Book of Ember" to be released.
The Playtone Company (the production company that released the City of Ember film) also purchased the rights to The People of Sparks, but after the box office failure of the first film, plans for the sequel were shelved.
Having to leave from living in an underground city for over 200 years, the 417 refugees of the city of Ember can't go back and have no idea how to survive on the surface. Wandering for three days, exhausted and hungry, they come across the village of Sparks. The people of this small village reluctantly agree to take in the refugees for 6 months, just long enough to teach them to survive on their own. They are allowed to stay in an old hotel, the Pioneer Hotel, which was once grand but has now fallen into disrepair. Most of the rooms have been picked clean of furniture prior to their arrival, making it necessary for the people of Ember to sleep on the floor. There are only 75 rooms, which averages 5 to 6 people a room.
There is not enough food for everybody in Sparks, leaving a disaster for both the people of Sparks and the Emberites. The starving Emberites don't seem to know anything about the surface, and the villagers soon begin to resent having to take care of them. Lina Mayfleet, Poppy Mayfleet and Mrs. Murdo are told to live at the doctor's house, where there is a whiny boy named Torren Crane. As tensions mount a mysterious series of acts of vandalism against the people of Ember heightens the anger on both sides, until conflict seems inevitable. The people of Ember are growing restless and the people of Sparks want to get rid of them, as they are not being very civil to each other. Soon the food the Emberites are provided with is more and more unpleasant. The Emberites are unwelcome and they know it. The Emberites are told that at the end of six months they will have to leave and start their own civilization in the Empty Lands. Meanwhile, Lina leaves with a roamer who travels to old cities to find treasure, hoping to find the city she has been dreaming of and drawing. There she finds not a beautiful city like she expected, but a crumbling metropolis (Los Angeles after the disaster). She arrives back to Sparks disappointed.
The climax occurs when Sparks' leaders decide to make them leave immediately following a riot led by a man by the name of Tick Hassler. The Emberites fight back, led by Tick, but the town leaders decide to use the fabled "weapon", which turns out to be a rusty machine gun, which explodes due to lack of use, and causes town hall to catch on fire. The Emberites watch passively as the people of Sparks try to save the building, most hoping the building will burn down. But Lina decides to help the people of Sparks, upon which most of the people of Ember decide to pitch in and they all succeed in putting out the fire. As this happens, Doon Harrow sees that Torren is trapped in the burning tree by the building, rushes in, and bravely saves him before he catches on fire. This act turns around the spiral of resentment and it is discovered that it was in fact Tick Hassler, who perpetrated the acts of vandalism against the City of Ember. This results in a bright future for both the people of Ember and the people of Sparks, symbolized by Doon's rediscovery of electrical currents, partly due to a school science book describing how to create one, and Torren's light bulb, given to him by his older roamer brother, Caspar A. Crane.