Author: Jeanne DuPrau
Published: Random House, 2004
Genre: Children's Science fiction
This is the second book in the Ember series, a popular children's series set in a post-apocalyptic Earth. Although I would never recommend such a thing, you could read this book without reading the first book. There is a bit in second chapter that would be confusing, but overall this book could work as a stand-alone piece.
It's hard to write a review without giving spoilers for either this book or the first book, but I'll start by saying that this is a good book, and if you enjoyed the first book you will also enjoy this one. It takes up right where the last book left off, and we follow the same characters through a new set of adventures. This book seems a bit more preachy and heavy-handed in its moral lessons, but even so it's not obnoxious, and as the moral lesson is peace and tolerance I'm inclined to be forgiving.
Mild Spoilers (especially for the first book!)
In this book the citizens of Ember, fleeing from their dying city, find the town of Sparks, a very different town in a very different world. Sparks has about 400 people, the same as Ember, and are only just coming out of a long period when it was all they could do to survive. They are suddenly overwhelmed by a large influx of people who will surely suffer greatly and probably die if they are not taken in and cared for. The Emberlites know almost nothing about how to function in this new world, and in addition to needing to be told how to do everything they are comparatively weak, prone to heat exhaustion, and eat way too much. The Emberlites, on the other hand, are somewhat annoyed that the people of Sparks work them hard, feed them little, and seem to complain that they do everything wrong. The majority of the story follows the tensions between the two groups, although we also follow Lina on her explorations out to the ancient city from before the Great Disaster.
The other books in the series thus far are:
1. The City of Ember (2003)
2. The People of Sparks (2004)
3. The Prophet of Yonwood (2006)
4. The Diamond of Darkhold (2008)