Reviews provided by Syndetics
Publishers Weekly Review
In this ambitious sequel to The City of Ember, "DuPrau offers a thought-provoking novel about brinkmanship and the way societies can plant the insidious seeds of war," according to PW. Ages 8-up. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
School Library Journal Review
Gr 4 9-In this sequel to The City of Ember (Random, 2003), DuPrau continues the adventures of Lina and Doon, who have led the 400 residents from the underground city of Ember to the unfamiliar world above. The refugees are tentatively welcomed, housed, and fed by the people of Sparks, located near the wasteland left by the long-ago Disaster that destroyed most of civilization. Conflicts arise between the two groups, mainly due to the differences between the sheltered, electric-powered life in Ember and the low-tech, farming-based existence in Sparks. As conflicts and violence escalate, Lina explores the wasteland and Doon finds himself caught up in the rhetoric of the militaristic and charismatic Tick. A dramatic conclusion brings the characters together and gives hope for the future of both groups, resolving the current conflicts but leaving room for future adventures. While remaining true to her characters and the building tension of the story, DuPrau clearly explores themes of nonviolence and when to stand up for oneself. The text smoothly involves new readers and fans of the first story, creating a range of three-dimensional characters in both the Ember and Sparks groups. While less gritty and mechanical than Philip Reeve's Mortal Engines (HarperCollins, 2003), and more interpersonal than Lois Lowry's The Giver (1993) and Gathering Blue (2000, both Houghton), this title will hold a similar appeal for readers who enjoy speculative fiction. This novel will make them stop and think, and its immediacy and drive make it a good choice for even reluctant readers.-Beth L. Meister, Yeshiva of Central Queens, Flushing, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Gr. 5-7. In this engrossing sequel to The City of Ember 0 (2003), young Doon and Lina have led more than 400 people from the underground city of Ember to Earth's surface, where they find the hardscrabble town of Sparks and ask for help. Everything is strange and fascinating to the Emberites, and while the people of Sparks feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of the newcomers, they agree to help them as best they can. Things seem to go smoothly for a while, and then tempers rise: the Emberites feel overworked and under fed, and the Sparks inhabitants feel put upon for having to share their few resources. The tension grows until violence threatens to break out. Once again, Doon and Lina play a large role in events. DuPrau develops the growing distrust between the two groups in a natural manner and convincingly portrays the Emberites' struggle to adapt to so much that is completely new to them. A satisfying follow-up to the first book. --Sally Estes Copyright 2004 Booklist
Horn Book Review
(Intermediate, Middle School) Lina, Doon, and four hundred others have safely escaped from their imperiled underground City of Ember (rev. 5/03), but the town they find to take them in offers only conditional haven. For six months, they are told, the people of Sparks will help them, but relations between the two groups unravel well before the deadline. Fans of the exciting first book will surely want to continue the adventure here, but this sequel is comparatively uneventful and talky, and Lina and Doon don't have enough to do. DuPrau's characterization of the Sparks community, however, is as considered as her picture of Ember was in the first book. Ember had plumbing and electricity but few natural resources; Sparks supplements its agrarian subsistence with the scavenging of rubbish from the civilization (ours, one infers) destroyed generations before. The contrast and conflict between the groups are interesting in a social-sciences kind of way, so while the book is less story than situation, there's plenty to discuss. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Book Review
At the end of The City of Ember (2003), Lina and Doon had found the way out of their doomed underground home. At the opening of this hotly anticipated sequel, they have led some 400 survivors to the village of Sparks, a community of above-ground dwellers only just beginning to see prosperity after years of Disaster-induced privation. Although the citizens of Sparks uneasily welcome the Emberites, the two groups, propelled by suspicion, narrow-mindedness, and misunderstanding, find themselves battling over resources and power in a depressingly familiar dance. A climax such as the ending to the previous tale is by definition followed by an anticlimax, and this offering, deprived of its compelling setting and situation, has lost some of the drive and focus of its predecessor. Still, Lina and Doon remain engaging protagonists, and they are joined by emotionally credible new characters. Although some of the scenes deteriorate into set pieces ("One bad thing after another leads to worse things," muses Lina. "So you do a good thing, and that turns it around"), this fast-paced tale of post-Apocalyptic strife will resonate with new and returning fans alike. (Fiction. 9-13) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.