The Prophet of Yonwood

Written by: Jeanne DuPrau

The Prophet of Yonwood Book Cover
A prequel to the modern-day classic The City of Ember. This highly acclaimed adventure series has captivated kids and teachers alike for almost fifteen years and has sold over 3.5 MILLION copies!

Nickie will grow up to be one of the first citizens of the city of Ember. But for now, she's an eleven-year-old girl whose father was sent away on some mysterious government project.

So when the opportunity to move presents itself, Nickie seizes it. But her new town of Yonwood, North Carolina, isn't what she'd anticipated. It's a place full of suspicion and mistrust, where one person's visions of fire and destruction have turned the town's citizens against each other. Nickie explores the oddities around her--her great-grandfather's peculiar journals, a reclusive neighbor who studies the heavens, a strange boy who is fascinated with snakes--all while keeping an eye out for ways to help the world. Or is it already too late to avoid a devastating war?

Praise for the City of Ember books:

Nominated to 28 State Award Lists!
An American Library Association Notable Children's Book
A New York Public Library 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing Selection
A Kirkus Reviews Editors' Choice
A Child Magazine Best Children's Book
A Mark Twain Award Winner
A William Allen White Children's Book Award Winner

"A realistic post-apocalyptic world. DuPrau's book leaves Doon and Lina on the verge of undiscovered country and readers wanting more." --USA Today

"An electric debut." --Publishers Weekly, Starred

"While Ember is colorless and dark, the book itself is rich with description." --VOYA, Starred

"A harrowing journey into the unknown, and cryptic messages for readers to decipher." --Kirkus Reviews, Starred
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The Prophet of Yonwood Reviews

Bridget
At first I wasn't sure about this one. I couldn't really see the connection between this story and what had happened in the previous two books. Jeanne DuPrau is a good writer though and if you stick to the end of this one you do get the connection. It contains lots of social commentary about topics like war and religion and social constructs. The story of the nations at war isn't fully explained but that doesn't really matter. Only one more book to go in this series for me and I will finish, but At first I wasn't sure about this one. I couldn't really see the connection between this story and what had happened in the previous two books. Jeanne DuPrau is a good writer though and if you stick to the end of this one you do get the connection. It contains lots of social commentary about topics like war and religion and social constructs. The story of the nations at war isn't fully explained but that doesn't really matter. Only one more book to go in this series for me and I will finish, but I need to go read some other stuff now.
Kathy
I enjoyed this book. It is probably a 3.5 star book. It wasn't as good as the first 2 in the series but still a good book.
Melissa
Two of the concerns that pop up in the negative reviews for this book are ones I want to address:

1. It has nothing to do with the other books in the Ember series.

2. It engages in religion-bashing/it’s basically a soap box for the author regarding political or religion-related ideas, which doesn’t belong in a juvenile book.

So, yeah. A few thoughts that make for a longer review that I had planned:

1. I knew going in that this was the odd-book-out in the Ember series, and it didn’t bug me too much t Two of the concerns that pop up in the negative reviews for this book are ones I want to address:

1. It has nothing to do with the other books in the Ember series.

2. It engages in religion-bashing/it’s basically a soap box for the author regarding political or religion-related ideas, which doesn’t belong in a juvenile book.

So, yeah. A few thoughts that make for a longer review that I had planned:

1. I knew going in that this was the odd-book-out in the Ember series, and it didn’t bug me too much that “Yonwood” does not share a setting or characters with the previous books. I like how DuPrau writes children, who have interests and ideas and do not always understand what is going on in the community at large. I enjoy the reading their thoughts about what is going on, their desires and expectations for their own lives, etc. I didn’t mind spending a book with Nickie and especially Grover instead of Lina and Doon.

The extent to which this book is unrelated to the others, though, is so great that it feels a bit like the publishing company put one over on the readers. “Yonwood” could have been a stand-alone novel and might have drawn less ire as one, though some other aspects of the book also drag it down. I listened to the audiobook, and sometime during part 4 (of 5) I began to seriously lose interest. It got a little boring after a while, and some of the plot developments were hard to believe. (view spoiler)[ They’re going to randomly put a bracelet on a kid that renders going to school unlikely, practically impossible? Seriously? Who has this authority? And the prophet’s alleged “no dogs” pronouncement (though it makes for a relatable situation about things that are not harmful being labeled as such). When the no-dog policy is introduced, I just wondered how stupid the people of Yonwood could be. Really. No dogs? They didn’t discuss at this point that maybe the prophet is just sick and not muttering the words of God? Also, it is difficult to take seriously references to “a shield of goodness” or a terrorist plotting in the woods, particularly when the audiobook narrator sounds like she’s saying “terrist” or “terrace” in the woods every time. (She was a good narrator overall, though.) (hide spoiler)] The setting was also distracting, a confusing version of small town in North Carolina that seems no different than our own, with similar technology but with buzzing sinner bracelets and pseudo Phalanx Nations. I get wanting to show correlations between the Yonwood story and our present-day climate of war, politics and religion, but the result is a little muddled and could use more detailed world-building. I am thankful, at least, that the negative portrayal of the people of Yonwood doesn’t match the infuriating sketching of the small South Carolina town in “Beautiful Creatures.” DuPrau is not hateful in her depiction of the ignorance and well-meaning judgmental climate cultivated by Yonwood’s people.

It also has a related lesson about not presuming the worst of the people you do not know, the outsiders, the people who are different than you, which I did like.

The war plotline is one of the elements that does connect this book to its predecessors, though the anti-war sentiment and exploration of how people manipulate a situation to elevate it into a battle was better handled in “The People of Sparks.” The idea of a town living in the shadow of a possible impending war is interesting; in “The Prophet of Yonwood,” it threatens to help morph a book for grade-schoolers into a Treatise on War and Religion. Ugh.

2. Which brings up the other thing. God hasn’t been a player in the previous books, apart from one time when Lina came across the world “God” (or “god”?) or something like it, and hadn’t ever heard it before. (That’s the only part I remember, at least.) God gets pulled into “The Prophet of Yonwood” a lot, often by well-meaning people who are severely foolish in their religious fervor. There’s a lot in the book that could provide starting points for parent-child discussions about God, good and evil, trying to do good, whether we should act as basically the good police when we see other people doing “bad” things, the abuse of politicians claiming God is on their side, and whether any interpretation of God in the book is correct. Is he the God of the stars, which sounds cool but in the context of the book might imply an abstract God who doesn’t care much about the morality of his creation and is just love and light in their broadest, and less potent, definitions. Or is he a “picky’ God who would provide an arbitrary list of “do nots” to a town so they can earn safety in an impending war?

A problem that the book has in dealing with the God question is that it offers no presentation of religiously affiliated faith that isn’t foolish or both foolish and dangerous. DuPrau depicts religion as a thing that leads people astray, separates people, cultivates a sense of needing to judge and punish others, and even ultimately leads to war — all characteristics of human religion, but certainly not the inevitable conclusions to any given religious faith. The people of Yonwood mean well but they do the wrong things in the name of being good and appeasing God. It’s the religion and not the people who are the real antagonist in this novel — which has its strengths (as the religion here is indeed a false one with a lot of problems that reflect ones we see in our own society) and weaknesses (a narrow-minded view of faith in God that is shared with others via a religion or church). Yonwood churchgoers can be depended on to be well-intended but seriously amiss in their application of goodness. These are not churchgoers who actually look to the Bible for guidance, but who have replaced non-arbitrary truth with the words of a sick woman who mumbles them forward into an increasingly strict and ridiculous form of “goodness.” This is a warning that I can heartily agree with: Don’t get your truth from a random person. Do not develop a religion around some woman or man who says something exciting. I would extend that to yourself, as well. Blindly following a church leader, an alleged prophet, or your own fickle and deceptive heart leads you to a place no closer to God and goodness than the people of Yonwood. Religion can feed ignorance when it’s a false religion, or a religion that doesn’t weigh a so-called prophet’s words against the word of God. (I am speaking from a Christian perspective here. The church in Yonwood could have avoided a lot of finger-pointing and spiritual confusion by using the Bible as guidance.)

This soap box part of the book just seems really weird sometimes, for a juvenile novel. I’m surprised the publishing company was cool with the direction “The Prophet of Yonwood” took, both regarding the God talk and the lack of connection to the other Ember novels. “The Prophet of Yonwood” was a surprise, even though I kind of knew what I was getting into. It went further than expected in its God talk and had even less to do with Ember than I expected. (It isn’t a prequel! A prequel would be a welcome addition to the series, but this isn’t one.) But it wasn’t terrible, despite the author defining the religious with all the depth and grace of a political campaign. It is a little bland, and well-intentioned in its discussion of war and religion. Sometimes it hits on something interesting and thought-provoking, but overall it’s a book that means well but doesn’t hit the mark.
The Moorchild :: Derailed :: Kabuki, Vol. 1: Circle of Blood :: The Unknown Shore :: The Stranger
Jennifer Rayment
Not my favourite of the series but it was an interesting prequel to the City of Ember. Found it a little bit too in your face discussion about religion and not enough story or character development.. I had a really hard time listening to one of the scences -- SPOILER WARNING - when they got rid of the dogs because they were a distraction from loving god. I found it heart wrenching and disturbing and cannot imagine a younger child listening to and not be slightly scarred. Ok I am a bit of a sensi Not my favourite of the series but it was an interesting prequel to the City of Ember. Found it a little bit too in your face discussion about religion and not enough story or character development.. I had a really hard time listening to one of the scences -- SPOILER WARNING - when they got rid of the dogs because they were a distraction from loving god. I found it heart wrenching and disturbing and cannot imagine a younger child listening to and not be slightly scarred. Ok I am a bit of a sensitive little thing but it kinda affected my rating of the book. I know its not fair to rate a book on this but I rate my books on my enjoyment not on the talents of the author. There is a lot to enjoy about the story and it does give you some insight into the City of Ember. As an adult listener there is some interesting discussions you could have with your child and I do also agree with the authors beliefs but I think the moral of the story overshadowed the actual story.

Favourite Quotes/Passages

“The idea seemed to be that if you prayed extremely hard--especially if a lot of people prayed at once--maybe God would change things. The trouble was, what if your enemy was praying, too? Which prayer would God listen to?

Grover shrugged. "It's nature," he said. "Nature likes the snake just as much as the mouse.

“Why did people always blame kids for things like this? As far as Grover could tell, grown-ups caused a lot more trouble in the world than kids.”
Erin
I remember enjoying the first two books when I was younger and hitting a wall with this one. I now fully understand why I hit that wall.

This book was boring. I was looking forward to seeing how the city was built, but none of that was in there until the end. So, it really didn't feel like a prequel at all. It felt like a completely different series more than anything.

The plot wasn't awful and I didn't hate the main character, Nikki, but there was nothing spectacular about this book for me. I t I remember enjoying the first two books when I was younger and hitting a wall with this one. I now fully understand why I hit that wall.

This book was boring. I was looking forward to seeing how the city was built, but none of that was in there until the end. So, it really didn't feel like a prequel at all. It felt like a completely different series more than anything.

The plot wasn't awful and I didn't hate the main character, Nikki, but there was nothing spectacular about this book for me. I think it's one that would be better if it wasn't in the series as much as I hate to say that.
PakTung
The prequel of the City of Ember series was a little duller than I expected, compared to the other three books that lifted my hopes up for this one. However, I still liked most of this book where it talks about Nickie, who would grow up to be one of the first citizens of Ember, and her adventures through Yonwood where she tries to accomplish her three main goals.
ariel
I don't understand all the bad reviews of this book. Sure it was rushed with some loose ends hanging (or at least not ending not explained in detail), but it wasn't all that bad. It was kind of detached from the first two books however, but the book itself wasn't bad. I just wish there was more of a connection to the City of Ember then just a few short pages.
Shaina Leitch
None of the books have been able to captivate me as much as the first. This was a prequel to the first, which I always like. It's good to get the backstory and have a few questions answered.
I would have liked to hear more about Hoyt McCoys story even though I felt like what he was doing was a bit out of the genre. It almost felt like the author was reaching a little too hard for something else. He was still am interesting character though, possibly my favorite if he gets a little more character None of the books have been able to captivate me as much as the first. This was a prequel to the first, which I always like. It's good to get the backstory and have a few questions answered.
I would have liked to hear more about Hoyt McCoys story even though I felt like what he was doing was a bit out of the genre. It almost felt like the author was reaching a little too hard for something else. He was still am interesting character though, possibly my favorite if he gets a little more character development in the final book.
Slytherpuff
I really liked this book. I didn't feel that it really connected with the series it is in until the very end. This book should have mentioned prequel on the front cover and had a novel like 0.5 to sure that it is one. I can't believe what happened with the dogs. I'm glad that Grover got to go on the expedition. It was a very interesting end due to the war starting.
Zaz
Be nice with yourself, skip this one, it's uninteresting and useless in the series.

Well. I enjoyed very much the first two books. The Prophet could be pretty much summarized by "boring". The main characters were once again a boy and a girl, which was appreciated, but none of them was interesting to follow, the events they were involved in being quite flat, except for the fact there were pets. The story was set in a future not really distant from nowadays, so nothing new here, and it was focused Be nice with yourself, skip this one, it's uninteresting and useless in the series.

Well. I enjoyed very much the first two books. The Prophet could be pretty much summarized by "boring". The main characters were once again a boy and a girl, which was appreciated, but none of them was interesting to follow, the events they were involved in being quite flat, except for the fact there were pets. The story was set in a future not really distant from nowadays, so nothing new here, and it was focused on a town with a prophet. While the world was facing threats, the town went crazy interpreting the things a "prophet" said, so the story was heavy with religion and "(odd) things you must do to show god you love him so you'll be saved" (for someone not at all into catholicism, it was pretty annoying and not something I'd like to share with kids). The book was sold as a prequel to Ember but it was just vaguely related to it near the end, so it wasn't satisfying as a prequel. And neither satisfying as a fiction or a dystopia or a children book. I'll forget I read it.
Mizuki Frizzell
This book is the prequel to the last two books in the series, so it kind of gives you an idea of what it was like before the disastrous war.

One word: boooooooooring.

I'll just say that I had high hopes for this book because the last book wasn't the best. I guess I'm disappointed with this book.

Like the second book, this book has annoying characters, but on to of that, this book is pretty boring. Probably because there were no fantasy-ish things involved. I mainly read books that have things to d This book is the prequel to the last two books in the series, so it kind of gives you an idea of what it was like before the disastrous war.

One word: boooooooooring.

I'll just say that I had high hopes for this book because the last book wasn't the best. I guess I'm disappointed with this book.

Like the second book, this book has annoying characters, but on to of that, this book is pretty boring. Probably because there were no fantasy-ish things involved. I mainly read books that have things to do with fantasy, even sci-fi will do, but because this book had none what so ever, I found it boring. As you can see, I'm quite a picky reader.
#HIS Reads #Book-a-Week Challenge
Kate
The Prophet of Yonwood is a prequel of sorts to the City of Ember though it comes as book three in the Book of Ember series. I didn't expect Yonwood to tie-in all that much with Ember, so when it didn't, I wasn't disappointed or surprised. There are a few links - we hear a little about the Builders, and of course we see the start of war and destruction - but the story itself focuses on a small town and good verses evil.

Nickie is visiting Yonwood with her aunt as they tend to Nickie's great-grand The Prophet of Yonwood is a prequel of sorts to the City of Ember though it comes as book three in the Book of Ember series. I didn't expect Yonwood to tie-in all that much with Ember, so when it didn't, I wasn't disappointed or surprised. There are a few links - we hear a little about the Builders, and of course we see the start of war and destruction - but the story itself focuses on a small town and good verses evil.

Nickie is visiting Yonwood with her aunt as they tend to Nickie's great-grandfather's estate upon his passing. While in Yonwood, Nickie finds herself caught up in the political climate of townsfolk. There's a prophet who has seen a vision of doom, but if the people can do what she says is God's will, Yonwood will be safe. Of course, not is all as it seems, and trying to determine what is good and what is not good is not always black and white. Nickie learns this lesson as she also learns that in her own way, she can make a difference.

I enjoyed this book quite a bit. There was enough mystery that kept me reading to find out what would happen next. DuPrau tends to be a little heavy-handed in her messages, but a loss of civil rights is a staple in dystopian lit. Compared to other stories in the genre, DuPrau handles this well, showing how simple it is at times for people to give up their rights in the name of safety.

On to book four - The Diamond of Darkhold!
-Sakura-
So so so bad. This book was preachy boring and honestly made no sense whatsoever. DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME WITH THIS BOOK!!!!

First of all the writing was awful. I felt like the author had just sat down and written it in an hour and then sent it off to be published unedited. Which is a massive shame. The writing was uninteresting,bland and just generally boring.

The storyline and plot was non-existent. Main character finds a girl, main character finds a picture, main character does this and that. I So so so bad. This book was preachy boring and honestly made no sense whatsoever. DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME WITH THIS BOOK!!!!

First of all the writing was awful. I felt like the author had just sat down and written it in an hour and then sent it off to be published unedited. Which is a massive shame. The writing was uninteresting,bland and just generally boring.

The storyline and plot was non-existent. Main character finds a girl, main character finds a picture, main character does this and that. I was hoping this might lead to something in the end but it didn't.

The story was so preachy. It felt like the author was forcing you to believe in God or else you are automatically evil. This is not an exaggeration but every chapter has some mention of God and how the war going on in this book could be stopped if everyone believed in God.

The main characters were boring. They had no personality traits and were some of the most weak minded characters I have ever read about. This is the message you want to get out? That you should be weak minded and do what everyone tells you to do and not think for yourself?

To conclude this was a horrendous book and I would not recommend this to anyone.
Nikki
Woah. So one of the challenges of BooktubeAThon is to read a book without letting it go. Need to go to the bathroom? Keep that book in your hands. Change into your pyjamas? (as I had to do, which is very difficult with one hand, trust me) Keep that book with you!

Originally I wanted to use the fourth book of the Hitchhiker's series for this challenge because that one is pretty short. But when I was 160 pages in and hadn't let go of this book, I was like 'why the hell not?' It's been four hours si Woah. So one of the challenges of BooktubeAThon is to read a book without letting it go. Need to go to the bathroom? Keep that book in your hands. Change into your pyjamas? (as I had to do, which is very difficult with one hand, trust me) Keep that book with you!

Originally I wanted to use the fourth book of the Hitchhiker's series for this challenge because that one is pretty short. But when I was 160 pages in and hadn't let go of this book, I was like 'why the hell not?' It's been four hours since I started reading and I'm done! So proud.

Now about the book: This book is set way before the original series of City of Ember. Which could be a cool thing because that would give us some insight in all the horrible events that lead to the reason to build Ember. Except.. it was not. This book takes place about fifty years before those horrible things start to happen. Say what now? Yeah, not so cool anymore.
In my humble opinion this book was completely unnecessary and could have been left out of the series. Well, except for the last 1,5(!!) pages because suddenly DuPrau realised she had to link this story to the rest for it to make sense. Ah, well. I guess she couldn't describe the horrible events with war and such because it's a childrens book.
Jen
I'm a fan of Jeanne DuPrau's Ember series, and this prequel was no exception. There's a great heart to her books!

In this one, the US is on the brink of world war. Eleven-year-old Nickie goes to stay for a bit in Yonwood, where an elderly woman's vision of a post-apocalyptic world is manipulated by a religious fanatic bent on making the town free of sin as "The Word of God." When the Prophet babbles "no singing," it becomes prohibited, and sinners are cuffed with horribly loud bracelets for thing I'm a fan of Jeanne DuPrau's Ember series, and this prequel was no exception. There's a great heart to her books!

In this one, the US is on the brink of world war. Eleven-year-old Nickie goes to stay for a bit in Yonwood, where an elderly woman's vision of a post-apocalyptic world is manipulated by a religious fanatic bent on making the town free of sin as "The Word of God." When the Prophet babbles "no singing," it becomes prohibited, and sinners are cuffed with horribly loud bracelets for things like singing in the shower.

Since just last week I heard a pastor on the radio boasting that his flock was actively praying for the death of President Obama and all members of Congress who voted to pass health care reform because it goes against the will of God, this book really resonated with me.

"I quoted St. Augustine to her: 'If you understand it, it isn't God.'"
Jane
This is the 3rd book in the The City of Ember series.

When I first started reading this, I thought, whoa, this is a totally different book, maybe I got the wrong book...

This is set with a whole different set of characters, set more in current days, BEFORE the "big disaster" that happened while the citizens of Ember went about their lives underground. It's not until the very end that you see the tie in to the series.

It's a good story but not as good as the first two books.
Erica T
Ok I didn't LOVE the first two books in this series so maybe I should have stopped after #2. This one was just not that good and, honestly, had very little to do with the other 2 books in the series. It is the prequel, but there was so little tie-in that occurred so late in the book you would barely realize it. Overall I just thought this book was weird. I also thought there was a lot of mention of random things that never really got tied up (white bear, photograph of Siamese twins, letter writt Ok I didn't LOVE the first two books in this series so maybe I should have stopped after #2. This one was just not that good and, honestly, had very little to do with the other 2 books in the series. It is the prequel, but there was so little tie-in that occurred so late in the book you would barely realize it. Overall I just thought this book was weird. I also thought there was a lot of mention of random things that never really got tied up (white bear, photograph of Siamese twins, letter written between lines) or explained. I will probably have to read the last one to see how it all ends but I sure hope it's better than this one.
Aidan Henderson
This book is a trap. It's advertised as a Book of Ember #3 when, really, except for a vague reference at the very end of the novel which seems to have been thrown in as an afterthought, it shares no relation to the first two installments in the series. Makes a reader feel tricked into reading it.

Furthermore, it's dull. It was tedious to read it, I didn't care about any of the characters, and I felt like stabbing Mrs. Beeson in the eye - not out of strength of feeling, but just to see something a This book is a trap. It's advertised as a Book of Ember #3 when, really, except for a vague reference at the very end of the novel which seems to have been thrown in as an afterthought, it shares no relation to the first two installments in the series. Makes a reader feel tricked into reading it.

Furthermore, it's dull. It was tedious to read it, I didn't care about any of the characters, and I felt like stabbing Mrs. Beeson in the eye - not out of strength of feeling, but just to see something actually happen.

I don't even know why I'm giving the thing a 2-star rating... Perhaps because I reserve 1 for the ones that really pissed me off?
Anna
The third book in the series veers off from our protagonists...and also from our time period. Instead, we travel to still-future, but past-from-the-previous-heroes'-present North Carolina and see the perils of religious prophets. While interesting, I think it would have been more interesting if this wasn't the third time the author made the same point --- power corrupts. And, as a resident of the Bible Belt, it felt more like an outsider looking in than like the real religious aspects of our are The third book in the series veers off from our protagonists...and also from our time period. Instead, we travel to still-future, but past-from-the-previous-heroes'-present North Carolina and see the perils of religious prophets. While interesting, I think it would have been more interesting if this wasn't the third time the author made the same point --- power corrupts. And, as a resident of the Bible Belt, it felt more like an outsider looking in than like the real religious aspects of our area. This book could be easily skipped.
Maroniae
Took me just as long to read this short book as it took to read the first two books. I was just uninterested. The appeal of the first two books was the absence of god, and this one just shoves it down your throat. Plus it feels like it is leading nowhere. Only in the last chapter I read what I wanted to know. I wish the author could write a book about a builder and connect it to what those first 20 yrs in the cave were like, then I would call it a prequel. Oh, and include what tore the cities ap Took me just as long to read this short book as it took to read the first two books. I was just uninterested. The appeal of the first two books was the absence of god, and this one just shoves it down your throat. Plus it feels like it is leading nowhere. Only in the last chapter I read what I wanted to know. I wish the author could write a book about a builder and connect it to what those first 20 yrs in the cave were like, then I would call it a prequel. Oh, and include what tore the cities apart and how some people survived the destruction. THAT would be interesting.
Ever
I really liked this book up until the last few chapters. I felt like the author had spent a lot of time gearing up for a big climax and it never happened. Plus the 'Afterward' felt like a huge cop-out; that could have been the outline of a whole new book, but it just got tacked on to 'Yonwood' as an afterthought. On the other hand, I did like the idea behind the prophet; I can see how a town with a prophet can get a little crazy. But on the whole - could have been tons better.
Randy
DuPrau usually has her shit together...the first, second and fourth books in the Ember Series are right on but The Prophet of Yonwood just didn't transition correctly for me. It was like being in the dentist's chair and 98% finished with a root canal awhen the dentist says, "Opps, we're going to have to start over."

Most of the time when writers feel they need to tie up some loose ends, they are WRONG.
Cayden O
Out of all the books of ember this is my least Favorite. Overall, the book was repetitive in the fact of the book constantly talking about the mansion Nickie was staying in and the prophet. The story in general was boring and had nothing to do with Ember it self until the end. There was zero suspense and I never felt truly immersed in the book.
Ruth E. R.
NOT for kids, although libraries contain it in the juvenile section. It exposes children to promiscuity and portrays those who believe in absolute truths and morals as backwards and tyrannical. It might be valuable as giving insight into how kids learn to question reality and grow confused.
Kristin Owens
Just don't see the point of the book. You don't even find out until the very end why you're supposed to read it in the series. I feel like there are several opportunities where weaving in the relationship to Ember would be appropriate. The first two books were great.
Cassidy Stokes
It was really good but I have a few complaints.

1. It wasn't in first person.

2. it should have been the prequal.

and 3. I found it pointless. i mean, why not just carry on with the great story you had going?
KayteReads
I really disliked a majority of this book. It was way to focused on religion, and there was absolutely no point to it. I did like the ending, but this prequel seriously wasn't needed. It barely focused on what happened.
Lily
I hope this book won't be as much as a dissapointment as 'People of Sparks' was compared to 'City of Ember', but so far it just seems to be a little boring like 'People of Sparks' was at some times.
Amy
Wish I liked it better, but I loved City of Ember so much, this was not as good. Interesting story, though.
Shelly
This third book in the serie didn't sit well with me and I felt like a lot of questions that could have been answered weren't. Didn't like this as much as the other two.
Sarah Churchill
A prequel to the story told in the first two books, but I felt it to be very slow, uninteresting and pretty unnecessary to the series. Fingers crossed for book 4!
Ashton Herrod
This book was just as as well-written in form as the first two in the series. However, there were some major issues with it and its philosophies.

First, the fact that the prequel is the third book in the series was a bit jolting. It seemed out of place. Beyond that, the most intriguing part about this post-apocalyptic series was the mystery behind exactly why the world had destroyed itself. She had done enough hinting in the first two books to satisfy my curiosity, while still keeping an element This book was just as as well-written in form as the first two in the series. However, there were some major issues with it and its philosophies.

First, the fact that the prequel is the third book in the series was a bit jolting. It seemed out of place. Beyond that, the most intriguing part about this post-apocalyptic series was the mystery behind exactly why the world had destroyed itself. She had done enough hinting in the first two books to satisfy my curiosity, while still keeping an element of mystery. I think by labeling the wars religious wars and having this whole prequel takes away some of the mystery and leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.

The next problem with the book was the heavy anti-religious tone. The author seems to have had experiences with "Cultural Christianity," because this is the way she portrays religious people in this book. The religious people follow their faith completely blindly, are incredibly judgmental, and shove their beliefs on others. This is not how Christianity is meant to be. She also portrays the God of these people as someone who is waiting to strike down or judge people. True Christianity is not meant to judge people who are not Christians. In fact, Christianity is seen in ancient times as being persecuted, not the ones doing the persecuting. The God of the Bible calls Christians to lay down their lives, not take lives.

After saying all of this, there are two things which may be gleaned from her portrayal of religion. She seems to have experienced people who claim Christianity, but in fact, do not follow it. Secondly, Christians can read this and see how many people view Christianity from the outside and so Christians should strive to follow what the Bible actually says about being a Christian.

One issue with her philosophy is that the alternative morality she gives to this clearly wrong, blind-faith religion, is something that the character Crystal says. Paraphrasing, she says that to know if you are doing good, you should check if what you're doing is hurting anyone. If it is not hurting anyone else, then it is probably a good thing.

There are several problems with this. First, is she speaking of emotional hurt, physical hurt, psychological hurt, etc.? If one of these is left out, then why? If all of these are meant when she says that we shouldn't hurt others, then where is that line drawn? I might hurt my child's feelings (or physically if I spank her) if I discipline her, but does that mean that I should not discipline her? I might hurt someone's feelings, if I fire them because they were a poor worker. I might hurt a family member's feelings if I get them help for their drug addiction. And finally, what if the very fact that I hold the belief that a good action is something that doesn't hurt others, hurts someone's feelings who doesn't believe the same way? Where is the line drawn?

In addition to all this, where does this moral law come from? It cannot be universal. There are cultures, where hurting someone is considered okay or even good. So, is their morality wrong or is ours wrong? Is morality an arbitrary thing decided by each person or is it decided by the culture or is there a moral law giver, God?

DuPrau brings up a lot of heavy philosophical points here that do not hold water in the real world. It was an interesting read, but not the best of this series.
MrHooker
Wow what utter garbage. I LOVED book one City of Ember. The second book was good but not great. The writing was very much geared for YA readers and somewhat preachy and all the characters (adults too) were very naive.

But the third book... where do I start. When you hear prequel to Ember you think hey we'll find out about how the city was built. Why it was built and the events that led up to it etc. Instead you get some nonsensical plot that has nothing to do with it and in the last 2 pages brie Wow what utter garbage. I LOVED book one City of Ember. The second book was good but not great. The writing was very much geared for YA readers and somewhat preachy and all the characters (adults too) were very naive.

But the third book... where do I start. When you hear prequel to Ember you think hey we'll find out about how the city was built. Why it was built and the events that led up to it etc. Instead you get some nonsensical plot that has nothing to do with it and in the last 2 pages briefly ties it in to City of Ember.

"Okay it doesn't tie in a lot with ember but what about the story itself? Can you just enjoy that?": NO! It's completely unbelievable even to a young adult reader.

(view spoiler)[ So random lady collapses. Nosy busybody neighbor finds her and tells everyone she has had a vision. Then nosy busybody tells everyone they need to give up music, singing, snakes etc because they are evil. Okay then everyone in town says yes we must do this because random crazy lady says so. Everyone in town says yes these things are evil let's give them all up. Cops in town are even enforcing edicts from the lady who talks to prophet.... In America.... Under what logic are people following the orders of some random lady who claims to visions? Has she prophesied in the past with great success and accuracy so that everyone believes her? Nope. Nothing. Just random lady has a vision and we give up everything and go along with it.

Lady says we need to get rid of dogs too because people love their dogs and aren't loving people enough. So love is a zero sum game? You can only love one thing? Can't love more than one person? More than one of my kids? If I give love to one I somehow have less love to give the others???!!! Oh and main characters aunt is the only one who thinks that doesn't make sense.

Oh and and all the adults are so dumb (just like in Sparks) Everything is a witch hunt now. Everyone believes there is a terrorist in the forest? But no one is sent out there to find him? Terrorist based on what? Then you find it was a white bear? So a white bear looks like a terrorist now? Oh and at the beginning they see a blob of blood on the rag and everyone defers to the nosy neighbor and waits in rapt attention for her assessment of the shape of the blob of blood. That she will determine if it has some special significance??? What!! (hide spoiler)]

Lastly the author is very preachy bringing up that our country thinks our God is right and the enemy thinks their God is right. Oh and we will kill the "evildoers" yep she said that straight up reference to G.W. Bush. So if you want politics thrown in along with a lot of questioning if there is a god or not and how do you know which one is right then go for it... Personally I think it has no place in the YA novel. My 8 year old will be skipping this one.
Kristoffer
I feel like I have a fair number of complaints regarding this book, but I am still giving it three stars because it was entertaining. One of the main problems with the book is that the story is incredibly stupid. This town has a lady who had a vision of the future but can barely speak, and almost everybody in the town starts believing she's giving commandments from god. The entire police force even starts punishing citizens for not following stupid commandments like one to not sing or one to not I feel like I have a fair number of complaints regarding this book, but I am still giving it three stars because it was entertaining. One of the main problems with the book is that the story is incredibly stupid. This town has a lady who had a vision of the future but can barely speak, and almost everybody in the town starts believing she's giving commandments from god. The entire police force even starts punishing citizens for not following stupid commandments like one to not sing or one to not keep dogs as pets. The police put constantly noisy bracelets on people they consider to be "sinners", and the bracelets can't be removed. They are basically torturing citizens for small things. Somehow, nobody turned to any higher authorities to get all of these idiots removed from power for these stupid acts. The whole plot makes no sense. Also, the book has practically no connection to the other Ember books except for a small added bit in the epilogue. I think the author just added that bit so she could add it to the series so it would sell well.

I doubt the next book makes any mention of the events in this book, and the way that it connects to the first two books doesn't matter. I haven't read the next book yet, but it seems very likely that you can and probably should skip reading this book if you are reading the Ember books. Jeanne DuPrau, if you are reading this, please make some official change to the Ember books to make this book 0 or something rather than book 3 because it doesn't belong. You should never have written this book, at least not as an Ember book. Shame on you.
miha ha
Zgodba se začne veliko veliko prej pred prvo knjigo, ko mesta Ember sploh še ni bilo, ampak se čuti v zraku neka velika nevarnost in ljudje počnejo mal čudne stvari...
Niki in njena teta prideta v Yonwood, kjer jima je umrli ded zapustil hišo, v tem mestu pa je neka prerokinja ki je imela vizijo uničenega sveta in celo mesto, pod vodstvom gospe Beason, upoštevajo njena navodila. Prepovedane so luči, prepovedano petje, cel kup prepovedi, sploh pa je ta gospa odločna spravit s sveta vse kar ni "pr Zgodba se začne veliko veliko prej pred prvo knjigo, ko mesta Ember sploh še ni bilo, ampak se čuti v zraku neka velika nevarnost in ljudje počnejo mal čudne stvari...
Niki in njena teta prideta v Yonwood, kjer jima je umrli ded zapustil hišo, v tem mestu pa je neka prerokinja ki je imela vizijo uničenega sveta in celo mesto, pod vodstvom gospe Beason, upoštevajo njena navodila. Prepovedane so luči, prepovedano petje, cel kup prepovedi, sploh pa je ta gospa odločna spravit s sveta vse kar ni "prav" - seveda zelo po njeno.
Niki odkrije na podstrešju eno deklico s kužkom, se spopriatelji z enim fantom, ki ga zelo zanimajo kače in skupej opazujeta vse čudnosti, ki se dogajajo... Ta deklica s podstrešja postane kasneje pomočnica prerokinje in želi delat dobro, ampak je dobro po navodilih gospe Beason, ki se je malo preveč napila moči ki jo je imela kot interpret prerokinjinih vizij...
Cel kup ljudi obtoži za grešnike in te dobijo neke tuleče zapestnice, potem ukaže da se morajo vsi znebit psov, ker tako pravi prerokinja ... Vse se je zapletalo in blo vedno bl čudno, na koncu pa pride Niki do prerokinje nekako in ugotovi, da je ona samo opisovala svet, ki ga je vidla v svoji viziji, ne pa dajala ukaze za življenje... gospa Beason je bla nad tem še najbolj razočarana.

Čisto na koncu pa izvemo tud kako se ta zgodba vključi v zgodbo o mestu Ember - Nikin oče je bil eden izmed inžinirjev, ki so ga gradili in je bla Niki, potem ko je že stara, ena izmed povabljenih da gre živet vanj...
Caitlin
This book is properly a prequel and really contributes next to nothing to the main series. Nickie is a young girl living about 50 years prior to the Disaster - but it appears there is an imminent disaster now. She and her aunt go to a town where her great-grandfather has just died so that they can clean up his house to sell. Nickie finds out that there are a lot of rules in this town because a woman has seen a vision of the Disaster. Everyone needs to behave and avoid sin...which leads me to the This book is properly a prequel and really contributes next to nothing to the main series. Nickie is a young girl living about 50 years prior to the Disaster - but it appears there is an imminent disaster now. She and her aunt go to a town where her great-grandfather has just died so that they can clean up his house to sell. Nickie finds out that there are a lot of rules in this town because a woman has seen a vision of the Disaster. Everyone needs to behave and avoid sin...which leads me to the other issue I have with this book. Religion is portrayed throughout it as a positive thing but ends up being naive and misguided by the end - it's all too mushy for a middle-readers book. The author seems to come through as being against (organized) religion but doesn't bother to come right out and say that.

Nickie meets interesting people and learns interesting things, but most of them are left mid-story when Nickie and her aunt leave town at the end of the book. They're wrapped up in the epilogue; in my opinion, the epilogue would have been better as one or more additional books. If you are thinking of reading this but don't find the first few pages interesting, read the epilogue and that gives you all you need to know about the ties to the main series.
Meghan
The City of Ember was OK, nothing spectacular...The People of Sparks was booorrriiinnnggggg...The Prophet of Yonwood? I got a few chapters in and just couldn't go on anymore. I realize that, as I am an adult, these books aren't marketed to me, they're made for young (VERY young) children, but having read engaging children's/young adult literature in the past, these books leave MUCH to be desired. When I was young I read The Hero and the Crown, Harry Potter, The Iron Ring, Ella Enchanted, Island The City of Ember was OK, nothing spectacular...The People of Sparks was booorrriiinnnggggg...The Prophet of Yonwood? I got a few chapters in and just couldn't go on anymore. I realize that, as I am an adult, these books aren't marketed to me, they're made for young (VERY young) children, but having read engaging children's/young adult literature in the past, these books leave MUCH to be desired. When I was young I read The Hero and the Crown, Harry Potter, The Iron Ring, Ella Enchanted, Island of the Blue Dolphins, A Wrinkle in Time (the whole series), The Chronicles of Narnia, Julie of the Wolves, etc... all of which I would still enjoy (and have enjoyed) as an adult (whether bc of nostalgia or because they're simply good books, I cannot say for certain). More recently, as an adult, , I've read the Fablehaven books, The Hunger Games, and Percy Jackson and the Olympians, all young adult series, and all three series that I enjoyed and would have loved had I been a kid.

That I disliked the Ember books so strongly and found them boring, despite my ability to generally enjoy young adult fiction even as an adult, makes me think 'young me' would not have liked them either.

What irked me the most is hard to determine, but if I had to choose I'd probably say the obvious, thinly-veiled, allegorical/"I'm now going to tell you the specific lesson you are supposed to get from this story" style of the writer.
These books pretty much read like this:

Example (summarized) from The CIty of Ember
DuPrau: And here's the moral of the story children: we should not let our anger get the better of us! (a reasonable idea, but watch how we're supposed to learn this lesson). So here is a cleverly placed example of why getting angry is so soo soooo bad: Doon got so angry he picked up a piece of junk from the living room and through it JUST as his father was coming through the door. OUCH. It hid Doon's dad on the head. Doon's dad was hurt and suggested that maybe throwing things wasn't a good idea...he'd always said letting your anger get the best of you could lead to unexpected consequences...
So THAT'S the moral of the episode kiddies! Anger leads to throwing things and hitting people in the head! .................o.O

(From the other books)
Or, "acting hastily without thinking/planning first can lead to problems later."
Or, "lying can get people in serious trouble."
Or, "war is bad." (O_O of course we shouldn't go to war over stupid things like who wrote "go back to your cave" in mud....) It's so obvious the lesson she's trying to convey through a trite, overly-simplified childish example more "suited to children" I suppose...>.> I get what you're saying, DuPrau, you don't have to hit me over the head with it; and by the way--kids are capable of picking up more subtle/complex themes and ideas, just like the big folks can. Surprise! Even if they can't, putting those bigger ideas in there increases the readability and re-readability of the books, making them more enjoyable for all ages.

Rather than deal with big ideas about life and what it means to navigate this complex, messy, morally ambiguous, difficult reality we live in, she decides to dwell on simple, "lesson of the day" type messages, along with relating what everyone eats and how much food they get each day and what individual jobs they have, etc etc...Not to mention how often the characters make decisions that are just plain stupid, just to highlight another one of DuPrau's little moral tales.

The people of ember have lived under the ground for years in a slowly dying city, they finally come up onto the surface and are faced with the struggle of surviving in a post-apocalyptic Earth that is completely foreign to them...how has this been made into a boring, simplistic backdrop to DuPrau's "lesson of the day???"

And let's go back a bit, wouldn't it have been interesting to see first-hand in the second book how the people of ember took the idea that there was a way out--how they dealt with that information, whether they believed it or not, how some decided to try to get out anyway, the horror of everyone being trampled on the way out. If she wanted to continue her "allegory of the cave" idea she had going, she could have had some believe and others not believe the message Lina and Doon sent down, she could have explored the beliefs of the "believers" who were waiting for the builders to come back to save them. There was just so much to explore there! But the author just skims over all that in a retelling by Lina's caretaker after the fact. It's just so poorly done!

Or, in the case of this prequel, we could have finally seen what happened--how the Earth's civilizations came crashing down, how the various disasters developed and how they affected what came later, how people could end up destroying each other, how the city of Ember was made and what made people think Ember would be a good idea, why there weren't more Embers out there. Heck, how 100 babies could be genetically diverse enough to have a sustainable population for a couple hundred years. Instead, we get a story about a girl who doesn't want to sell her grandad's house and the babbling lady "prophet" who is used to control a whole town...It's like the author thought that kids wouldn't want to know those things (and maybe they wouldn't, I don't know) so she tells a completely different story to get more of her "lessons" across that just happens to involve some people that lived before the end of pretty much everything.

There is so much wasted potential for a really great story here.

Summary: The characters are one-dimensional, the plots incredibly boring, the "message" of the books a giant cave-man club that continually whacks you over the head, forcing you into submission...and eventually unconsciousness. Overall, I'm surprised the Ember books are so popular, especially among us "bigger folk." I won't be reading the next one; a wikipedia search as provided me with the essential plot points to satisfy what little curiosity I had about what happened to Doon and Lina, as well as what happened in this prequel book.
On to better pages!
Nicole Hadenfeldt
All around my response to this book, especially compared to the first two books is..."eh...".

Okay so here is what I liked. The characters are charming as always and there is a bout of conflict that teaches younger people some of the more vague lessons in life such as morals and how we determine what is right and what is wrong. They do a great job of simplifying it down to does this action harm another being. Pretty great summary of determining what is right and wrong. Simple, not perfect by any All around my response to this book, especially compared to the first two books is..."eh...".

Okay so here is what I liked. The characters are charming as always and there is a bout of conflict that teaches younger people some of the more vague lessons in life such as morals and how we determine what is right and what is wrong. They do a great job of simplifying it down to does this action harm another being. Pretty great summary of determining what is right and wrong. Simple, not perfect by any means, but a great start.

Here is what I didn't like. I didn't feel I was getting the answers I was looking for and so a lot of the time I was wondering why I was reading it, and even why it was written?

So SPOILERS from here on out because I just can't ignore some issues.

Okay continuing what I didn't like. Literally none of this book really ties into the first two except to say that Nickie feels that people should be saved and so she volunteers to be a part of the city of Ember. Okay, why was what she did so important then? This might be answered in the fourth book, but I don't know how important it actually will be. Plus, I might have been tired while I was finishing this book, but I very distinctly remember 2 entire pages being about taking the dog for a walk....really????

Okay end rant!
Max Sotelo
The Prophet of Yonwood by Jeanne DuPrau is the third book in The City of Ember series, but is a spinoff from the main story line. It takes place about fifty years before the settlement of Ember when the world is in complete turmoil.
This book is one of my favorites, but it's not my favorite book out of the series. The book tended to get a little boring at times and it tended to drag on, which resulted in me giving a four star rating. My favorite character was the Prophet because this book is titl The Prophet of Yonwood by Jeanne DuPrau is the third book in The City of Ember series, but is a spinoff from the main story line. It takes place about fifty years before the settlement of Ember when the world is in complete turmoil.
This book is one of my favorites, but it's not my favorite book out of the series. The book tended to get a little boring at times and it tended to drag on, which resulted in me giving a four star rating. My favorite character was the Prophet because this book is titled after her, and any prophet interests me quite a lot. The part about the Prophet that freaked me out a little was the fact that she always saw fire and destruction in her visions.
This book is amazing, and even though it's intended for children, I would recommend this to any age. This book has a lot of hidden messages for the current world, such as to cut out hatred. This book might be a look into the future of humanity, with all the political tensions.
Susan Carpenter
The Prophet of Yonwood, while book three of the Book of Ember series, takes place before all the other books, on a time line.

I have to go back to the text to get all the names right, but for now will write that the main character is a young girl named Nikki, who is going with her aunt to a large house that needs to be cleaned up and or sold.

She, the main character, does not want it sold. She wants to live there with her family. Nikki has other goals that summer, and sets about looking for a way The Prophet of Yonwood, while book three of the Book of Ember series, takes place before all the other books, on a time line.

I have to go back to the text to get all the names right, but for now will write that the main character is a young girl named Nikki, who is going with her aunt to a large house that needs to be cleaned up and or sold.

She, the main character, does not want it sold. She wants to live there with her family. Nikki has other goals that summer, and sets about looking for a way to fulfill them. She is sidetracked by a little ball of fur that steals her heart.

This is not as compelling as the other three in this series, but is necessary to get the whole story.
It is also an excellent cautionary tale about how well meaning religious folk can be very wrong and not be aware of it, and even become dogmatic to the point of blinding themselves to the truth.

Maizie & Justine
The Prophet of Yonwood is the third book in the City of Ember series, and a prequel to the series. I actually read this after reading the other three books, and enjoyed it very much. It doesn't touch on the City of Ember itself much, but I did find the story-line interesting. It focuses Nickie as she and her aunt fix up her recently deceased great-grandfathers home in Yonwood. While in Yonwood, Nickie becomes interested in the prophets visions of fire and destruction, obtaining her three goals, The Prophet of Yonwood is the third book in the City of Ember series, and a prequel to the series. I actually read this after reading the other three books, and enjoyed it very much. It doesn't touch on the City of Ember itself much, but I did find the story-line interesting. It focuses Nickie as she and her aunt fix up her recently deceased great-grandfathers home in Yonwood. While in Yonwood, Nickie becomes interested in the prophets visions of fire and destruction, obtaining her three goals, meeting her new friend Grover, and Brenda Beeson. The book itself is set many years before the disaster, but there is talk of it throughout the book. I really liked (such a bland word) this novel, but I do wish there was a bit more on the future, and the Cit of Ember itself. Otherwise, I loved this novel, and am upset to see that the series is over.
Irene Webb
This book was a pointless waste of my time. There were moments I enjoyed it but it shouldn't of been part of this series. I mean the story wasn't bad, it just didn't have anything to do with the other books. I'm interested in the underground city not some random kid living in an old house. I get this kid ends up being the woman who left behind the journal. The woman who was there at the beginning of Ember. If it didn't connect like that I would've given it two stars. I just didn't like the story This book was a pointless waste of my time. There were moments I enjoyed it but it shouldn't of been part of this series. I mean the story wasn't bad, it just didn't have anything to do with the other books. I'm interested in the underground city not some random kid living in an old house. I get this kid ends up being the woman who left behind the journal. The woman who was there at the beginning of Ember. If it didn't connect like that I would've given it two stars. I just didn't like the story of the dog and the prophet who saw the horrible future. I didn't like how much this had to do with religion. Basically the whole book was about religion and people obsessively taking advantage of it. I didn't really like the characters. The plot was definitely bad. But it wasn't written bad and it wasn't hard to get through. So it deserves three stars.
Amber Plant
This was ok. When I picture a prequel to a series I think...the story before the story. A setup to the story that you are currently reading. This was not really a prequel. It was a totally separate story -not even based in the same geographical area, time period or with any characters pertaining to the main story. This book in itself was cute. It had a good storyline with good characters but...I kept waiting for it to lead into the regular series. And it never really happened. Ok, to be truthful This was ok. When I picture a prequel to a series I think...the story before the story. A setup to the story that you are currently reading. This was not really a prequel. It was a totally separate story -not even based in the same geographical area, time period or with any characters pertaining to the main story. This book in itself was cute. It had a good storyline with good characters but...I kept waiting for it to lead into the regular series. And it never really happened. Ok, to be truthful, in the five page afterword summary, the author quickly explains how this story kind of leads somewhat into the main story. Talk about a letdown when you are expecting a book to answer all the questions that the first two books didn't answer. Guess I'll hope that the forth book will come full circle and finish this series up correctly!
Naomi Campbell
We actually did not like this book. We were disappointed that it didn't seem to have anything to do with the other characters or the storyline of the other two Ember books. However, most of the way through it, when we were like, "Maybe it'll have a great clincher or really, really leave us hanging at the end," I did guess HOW in the world this was going to tie in. And then that guess ended up being true. But yeah, like nothing ever really happened in this book. We are hoping that the fourth one, We actually did not like this book. We were disappointed that it didn't seem to have anything to do with the other characters or the storyline of the other two Ember books. However, most of the way through it, when we were like, "Maybe it'll have a great clincher or really, really leave us hanging at the end," I did guess HOW in the world this was going to tie in. And then that guess ended up being true. But yeah, like nothing ever really happened in this book. We are hoping that the fourth one, which will be coming soon on hold from our library, will be a fabulous finale for this series. We really did love the first two. They had such great characters and adventure. This one also drove us crazy because the poor gal had no idea about life at all, and we were just shaking our heads back and forth about her suppositions about God.
Cati
I did not realize this was a prequel to the first 2 books until after I read it and then saw the book description. The whole time I was reading it, I was thinking it very strange and didn't understand how the heck this was supposed to be the 3rd in a series when it had absolutely nothing to do with the first two books.

Finally, in the last chapter there's a quick and dirty tie-in to the first book. It felt like the story was just wandering around all over the place (confused prophet, potential d I did not realize this was a prequel to the first 2 books until after I read it and then saw the book description. The whole time I was reading it, I was thinking it very strange and didn't understand how the heck this was supposed to be the 3rd in a series when it had absolutely nothing to do with the first two books.

Finally, in the last chapter there's a quick and dirty tie-in to the first book. It felt like the story was just wandering around all over the place (confused prophet, potential doom, crazy, religious lady, crazy old man, terrorists in the woods and a bunch of random stuff in an old house, and so much more...), and maybe DuPrau forgot her point to the story.

I hope the 4th book is better.
Linda
This is supposedly a prequel to the two “Ember” books. There is no connection made to Ember until the second-to-last page! I found the first 1/3 fairly interesting. Then it went downhill. I had a hard time connecting with Nickie and the other characters. Amanda starts off as an intriguing character then turns into mush.
Too many things happen without explanation or purpose. Why the letters from her father? Why isn’t the reader given a chance to decode the message? The Prophet's exposure is anticl This is supposedly a prequel to the two “Ember” books. There is no connection made to Ember until the second-to-last page! I found the first 1/3 fairly interesting. Then it went downhill. I had a hard time connecting with Nickie and the other characters. Amanda starts off as an intriguing character then turns into mush.
Too many things happen without explanation or purpose. Why the letters from her father? Why isn’t the reader given a chance to decode the message? The Prophet's exposure is anticlimactic and unrealistic.
DuPrau’s writing has its weak moments in the first two books but this book just didn't seem very well put together. The “what happened afterward” gives a bit of closure, but it’s just told like a weary and worn travelogue. I had to force myself to finish this book.
Sherri
I read a lot of negative reviews of this book, because it didn't follow the same pattern as the first two books. In fact, this book gives the reader a good little glimpse into pre-disaster America. War is on the horizon, and the religious nuts are out. I was not at all offended by the loud portrayal of the fanatical religious sect in this book. I thought it was pretty accurate. This sort of thing really does happen all over America. People get caught up in their ideals and beliefs and lose sight I read a lot of negative reviews of this book, because it didn't follow the same pattern as the first two books. In fact, this book gives the reader a good little glimpse into pre-disaster America. War is on the horizon, and the religious nuts are out. I was not at all offended by the loud portrayal of the fanatical religious sect in this book. I thought it was pretty accurate. This sort of thing really does happen all over America. People get caught up in their ideals and beliefs and lose sight of what's really important: love and tolerance and understanding and acceptance. Nickie's struggle to understand her place in all of this drama kept the pages turning. In the end, you find out how she was selected to be among the first settlers of the new City of Ember.
Amanda
I am probably being too harsh, but this book was not necessary. We had two books of people who were uneducated, lacked common sense, and somehow lost technological development. With the city of Ember, it made more sense. But somehow, like the fire at Alexandria, the people of Sparks had no idea of what happened in the world.

I wondered what the point of this book was while I was reading it. It was yet another town, full of ignorant people, who somehow have no common sense about, anything? This s I am probably being too harsh, but this book was not necessary. We had two books of people who were uneducated, lacked common sense, and somehow lost technological development. With the city of Ember, it made more sense. But somehow, like the fire at Alexandria, the people of Sparks had no idea of what happened in the world.

I wondered what the point of this book was while I was reading it. It was yet another town, full of ignorant people, who somehow have no common sense about, anything? This series seems to eschew science and religion simultaneously. Which is odd.

If you liked the first two books, like I did, do not read this one. It doesn't add to the story. I hope the Diamond of Darkhold is better.
Aanya
11 year old Nickie and her aunt travel to the small town of Yonwood to visit her late grandfathers house. Nickie decides that she would really like to live their and makes it her mission to convince her aunt to stay. Meanwhile, war is a possibility in America and a prophet in Yonwood has started saying things in her sleep about what to do.

I enjoyed reading this book but until the last page I had no idea how it fit into the other books. I thought that the author could have explained that more. Yo 11 year old Nickie and her aunt travel to the small town of Yonwood to visit her late grandfathers house. Nickie decides that she would really like to live their and makes it her mission to convince her aunt to stay. Meanwhile, war is a possibility in America and a prophet in Yonwood has started saying things in her sleep about what to do.

I enjoyed reading this book but until the last page I had no idea how it fit into the other books. I thought that the author could have explained that more. Yonwood seems like a very interesting town but is definitely somewhere I don't want to live. I thought the ending was great and was very well thought out. If you've read the other two Ember books then I would recommend reading this.
Hannah Elizabeth
This book is set fifty years before the war, before The City Of Ember. Just like the two prior books in the series, The Prophet Of Yonwood really makes you think. It makes you think of the civilization you are apart of, the civilization you depend, on crumbling. A young girl moves into a town where things don't seem to be normal. One of the towns members begins having visions of fire and destruction. Her words are being taken as prophetic instructions on how to avoid an encroaching disaster. One This book is set fifty years before the war, before The City Of Ember. Just like the two prior books in the series, The Prophet Of Yonwood really makes you think. It makes you think of the civilization you are apart of, the civilization you depend, on crumbling. A young girl moves into a town where things don't seem to be normal. One of the towns members begins having visions of fire and destruction. Her words are being taken as prophetic instructions on how to avoid an encroaching disaster. One of her neighbors is an odd man who studies the sky, and proves interesting throughout the story. This book would prove a great read for people who believe you should follow your own thoughts, instead of others. For people who like mystery and adventure, but mostly for people who love to think.
Rosemary
My reviews of the first two books in this series said "a bit slow at times" (The City of Ember) and "starts out at a gentle pace" (The People of Sparks). Nonetheless, I thought the quality writing deserved 4 stars in the case of both books.

This book, The Prophet of Yonwood, is also slow paced, and despite the consistently good writing I almost didn't finish it. The setting lacked the imagination of the other books and without an interesting world to explore, it lacked intrigue. It did pick up pa My reviews of the first two books in this series said "a bit slow at times" (The City of Ember) and "starts out at a gentle pace" (The People of Sparks). Nonetheless, I thought the quality writing deserved 4 stars in the case of both books.

This book, The Prophet of Yonwood, is also slow paced, and despite the consistently good writing I almost didn't finish it. The setting lacked the imagination of the other books and without an interesting world to explore, it lacked intrigue. It did pick up pace enough when (view spoiler)[ the dogs were rounded up and taken out into the woods (hide spoiler)] for me to finish it.
Ahmed Alfozan
The Prophet of Yonwood follows a girl named Nickie who is traveling with her Aunt crystal and follows a woman named Athea. In the story the authors main purpose is to tell the back story of The City of Ember and give readers an explanation on why the city was built. The author does this by using Athea who's the prophet of a town called Yonwood due to the visions she has of the world ending and Nickie and her father who's secretly working on planning the City of Ember. Both of these characters li The Prophet of Yonwood follows a girl named Nickie who is traveling with her Aunt crystal and follows a woman named Athea. In the story the authors main purpose is to tell the back story of The City of Ember and give readers an explanation on why the city was built. The author does this by using Athea who's the prophet of a town called Yonwood due to the visions she has of the world ending and Nickie and her father who's secretly working on planning the City of Ember. Both of these characters lives and the things they do help to provide detail to why the city was built and why it was so un-successful.
Jane Halliday
It was good, I promise, but I was disappointed yet again. When I was told this was a prequel, I was incredibly excited to know more about Ember in its first stages, how it was built and whatnot. But this wasn't what the story was about. I was confused why there hadn't been any mention of it until I read the last chapter. Honestly, I'm still tremendously curious about the construction process, and I'm guessing my questions will remain unanswered.

Other than that, I still had lots of fun. Ignoring It was good, I promise, but I was disappointed yet again. When I was told this was a prequel, I was incredibly excited to know more about Ember in its first stages, how it was built and whatnot. But this wasn't what the story was about. I was confused why there hadn't been any mention of it until I read the last chapter. Honestly, I'm still tremendously curious about the construction process, and I'm guessing my questions will remain unanswered.

Other than that, I still had lots of fun. Ignoring my disappointment, I think this one was a lot better than the second book of the saga. It's good, no doubt.
Mari
By norm, I don't like prequels, but this one was the exception of the rule. I wouldn't say that was the best book I've ever read, or even the best book in the series, but it was very cute, absolutely well writing, and, mostly, it added something in the series. There was a reason for this book to exist and I liked very much to know the story behind Ember, what happened and why.
I would recommend this reading, but like the author herself told us, there is not necessary to read this book to understa By norm, I don't like prequels, but this one was the exception of the rule. I wouldn't say that was the best book I've ever read, or even the best book in the series, but it was very cute, absolutely well writing, and, mostly, it added something in the series. There was a reason for this book to exist and I liked very much to know the story behind Ember, what happened and why.
I would recommend this reading, but like the author herself told us, there is not necessary to read this book to understand the series. But, if you want a quick read and answers for a lot of questions, this is the book for you!
Lauren Grey
If I could give 0 stars, I would. This was one of the worst books I have ever read. It is supposed to be a prequel to the City of Ember, but only the last two pages contained any prequel information. No suspense was built and it was just a useless book with no real story. Also, the author seemed to forget who her audience is... her first two novels were geared toward older youth and young adult, this was written for 7 year olds. Waste of time. If you like the City of Ember books, DO NOT WASTE YO If I could give 0 stars, I would. This was one of the worst books I have ever read. It is supposed to be a prequel to the City of Ember, but only the last two pages contained any prequel information. No suspense was built and it was just a useless book with no real story. Also, the author seemed to forget who her audience is... her first two novels were geared toward older youth and young adult, this was written for 7 year olds. Waste of time. If you like the City of Ember books, DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME!
Gavin Histen
This is a backstory book that doesn't really tell the backstory. Instead it tells a random tale about a girl and her trials in Yonwood after her great grandfather dies. The only useful piece of information that you get out of this in relation to Ember is that her father is off working on the secret city underground and you find out where he is located. That is really it and it comes in about the last 5 pages of the book. If you take away the remainder of the story it adds nothing to the Ember tr This is a backstory book that doesn't really tell the backstory. Instead it tells a random tale about a girl and her trials in Yonwood after her great grandfather dies. The only useful piece of information that you get out of this in relation to Ember is that her father is off working on the secret city underground and you find out where he is located. That is really it and it comes in about the last 5 pages of the book. If you take away the remainder of the story it adds nothing to the Ember trilogy. This is a completely different story only marginally related to the Ember trilogy.
Megan
This is supposedly part of the Ember series, which I liked. But it's mostly just a story of a girl who visits a small town, where a mean woman is controlling everyone with "prophecies" from a "prophet". (By the way, the prophet is described as super old and frail, but then it's revealed she's only 64. People in their 60s do not look like this woman was being described.)

I enjoyed the first two books in the series. This one was lacking, and there was only a page or two at the very end that reveale This is supposedly part of the Ember series, which I liked. But it's mostly just a story of a girl who visits a small town, where a mean woman is controlling everyone with "prophecies" from a "prophet". (By the way, the prophet is described as super old and frail, but then it's revealed she's only 64. People in their 60s do not look like this woman was being described.)

I enjoyed the first two books in the series. This one was lacking, and there was only a page or two at the very end that revealed a connection to the series.
Ted
Interesting, but ultimately disappointing. This felt like filler, written to extend rht series without adding anything to the core story of the people of Ember. It's also a heavy handed, fairly clumsy cautionary tale that ultimately brings us right back to where we started. I like Nicki and her aunt well enough, but Grover is a confusing mess of decisions and habits that serve the plot more than his character. The interactions between people still feel authentic, and there are good lessons in he Interesting, but ultimately disappointing. This felt like filler, written to extend rht series without adding anything to the core story of the people of Ember. It's also a heavy handed, fairly clumsy cautionary tale that ultimately brings us right back to where we started. I like Nicki and her aunt well enough, but Grover is a confusing mess of decisions and habits that serve the plot more than his character. The interactions between people still feel authentic, and there are good lessons in here, I just think it's a step down from the first two, which I really liked.
Rachel
simple,short and sweet .. the last two pages of this book was worth the read!

There has been some debate on whether this book should be read first, while I lean toward this idea because of the backstory that is included about The City of Ember I also lean against it because it would ruin one of the mysteries that makes The City of Ember intriguing.

With that, this book places weird anywhere in the series. You could almost not read it and be fine but if I had to choose I would read it second.
Matt
What I liked: the author changed the setting dramatically, shifting back to before the cataclysm of the prior two books. That was interesting.

What I did not like: the characters. They were wooden & one-dimensional. It was exceptionally easy to know what each individual would do at any given point in the story, so there was very little real tension. Sure, I was rooting for some folks over others, but I knew the punchline before the joke was even told. I could see where the author was trying t What I liked: the author changed the setting dramatically, shifting back to before the cataclysm of the prior two books. That was interesting.

What I did not like: the characters. They were wooden & one-dimensional. It was exceptionally easy to know what each individual would do at any given point in the story, so there was very little real tension. Sure, I was rooting for some folks over others, but I knew the punchline before the joke was even told. I could see where the author was trying to introduce mystery & uncertainty, but it just didn't work for me.
Raven R. (AvalonReadsBooks)
Okay, so after reading this book I have a few questions.

For starters, why is this book #3 in the series? Why was this important to the story? Why were these characters important if only one of them does anything of note? And it's not even much? Did we really need to know where that stupid journal came from? Cause I wasn't all that interested.

This book seemed superfluous. I didn't get much character growth, just a bunch of crazies. I'm just not sure why it was important to this series. It just Okay, so after reading this book I have a few questions.

For starters, why is this book #3 in the series? Why was this important to the story? Why were these characters important if only one of them does anything of note? And it's not even much? Did we really need to know where that stupid journal came from? Cause I wasn't all that interested.

This book seemed superfluous. I didn't get much character growth, just a bunch of crazies. I'm just not sure why it was important to this series. It just didn't seem like it worked where it was placed in the series.
Omar Hasan
I think that this book is very descriptive. It doesn't just jump from one place to another. It goes slow and makes sure that you can feel everything the narrator is saying. the book has some downfalls and random useless parts, but that is the only trouble that its a little noticeable. Nickie, the main character, is very independent and loves to explore. She also loves her family and animals. In the story, she figures out all the weird things that go on in Yonwood.
Jameyanne Fuller
This book was kind of meh. I really enjoyed the first two books in the series, and I expected a relevant prequel about how Ember was built. It became relevant in the end, but the rest of the book felt like a political crusade against the evangelical right, which generally I'm all for, but not in young adult fiction. I was disappointed in this book, but I have hope for the final book in the series.
Jen
I was not impressed by this book. As others have said, the message felt very heavy handed and the characters were not very likable. One entire star was added for the way that this book tied into the original story, which was very clever and I got snippets of but didn't fully get the implication until the end. Worth reading to feel like I had the full picture but I think that's only because I'm a completionist, I can't actually recommend this book.
Rebecca
Not a bad story, but not exactly what I'd call a prequel either. Ninety percent of the prequel as relating to the other books was in the last chapter. This was more of an exploration on the radicalization of religion, though not any particular religion. It's a topic that deserves to be discussed, and the story was still in the Ember/Sparks world and did provide a bit of background, but it was more of a companion and just wasn't what I was expecting.
Stephanie
This book was a completely unnecessary detour in the series. Taking the reader back to when Ember was created. Except, you do not read anything interesting about the history, but rather the girl who wrote the journal in the first book. And, her whole story is pointless! Right up to the cryptic postcards from her father...the mystery is solved in the last few pages as an afterthought. What a waste of time. Idiotic characters and lazy writing.
Angie
This was a good book. It is about what a city does when the end of the world is near. It is written from the view of an 11-year-old. It is supposed to be book number three in The City of Ember series. But seeming as it is a prequel, I read books one, two, and four first. This told the whole story of the city of Ember. Then I went back and read this book, the prequel. It made sense to read them in this way. I enjoyed the series.
Amy Lou
Whew! I was skeptical for a good portion of this book, but it read fast, and it was a rather interesting story. I was extremely distraught when there was danger to the dogs. Some things never change.
Anyhoo, the ending tied it all into the original City of Ember books quite nicely, so I appreciated that. Not a bad read, but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend to anyone who isn’t of a middle grade age or reads mostly that genre of books.
Hope
This is the 3rd book in the series and though I did enjoy it.... it wasn't as good as the previous 2. This book was a prequel of how ember got started but didn't say a lot. I had hoped to learn more about the builders but instead it of one girl who is one of the first to enter the city. she the one who leaves behind the journal that they find leaving the city in the first book. The book is good I guess I expected more from it and was left a bit disappointed.
wendy
obviously a prequel but you don't get the actual connection until literally the last two pages. i found that annoying as i was really starting to look for the resolve as the story was wrapping in the last three chapters.

an okay read but you certainly don't need to and the first two stories were more enjoyable. on to the last...
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