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The prophet of Yonwood
Book
2006
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Trade Reviews

  Booklist Review

Gr. 4--7. Set about 50 years before the previous books in the Embers series, this novel focuses on 11-year-old Nickie, who believes her great-grandfather's old mansion in Yonwood, North Carolina, may be a haven from the city wracked with fear of impending war. Unfortunately, the place isn't exactly idyllic. Nickie's experiences in Yonwood further the idea, established in the previous books, about the role of God in human affairs. Why, for example, would God say one thing to the Prophet of Yonwood and another to a prophet halfway around the world?--a provocative question that is certainly apropos to what is happening in the world today. --Sally Estes Copyright 2006 Booklist

  Kirkus Review

With the U.S. teetering on the brink of war and her father off on a secret government job, 11-year-old Nickie's trip with her aunt to the small town where her great-grandfather lived and died is a welcome break from reality. Yonwood, however, is governed by a cabal who interpret for the Prophet, a local woman who has been struck insensible by a fiery vision of doom. Nickie wants to comply with the Prophet's apparent directives, but she struggles to understand how her friendships with Grover, a local boy, and Otis, a lovable mutt, fit (or don't fit) into the Prophet's plans. DuPrau effectively depicts a community in the grip of a millennial fever, the residents eager to appease an angry God in increasingly twisted ways. Less successful are subplots involving Nickie's explorations of her great-grandfather's effects and the weird research of a curmudgeonly astronomer. Thinnest of all is the connection to Ember, which is encapsulated entirely in an afterward. This will disappoint Ember's fans, but those who read this offering with no series expectations will find it a provocative read with an appealingly conflicted protagonist. (Fiction. 10-14) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Summary
It's 50 years before the settlement of the city of Ember, and the world is in crisis. War looms on the horizon as 11-year-old Nickie and her aunt travel to the small town of Yonwood, North Carolina. There, one of the town's respected citizens has had a terrible vision of fire and destruction. Her garbled words are taken as prophetic instruction on how to avoid the coming disaster. If only they can be interpreted correctly. . . . <br>As the people of Yonwood scramble to make sense of the woman's mysterious utterances, Nickie explores the oddities she finds around town--her great-grandfather's peculiar journals and papers, 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. Is this vision her chance? Or is it already too late to avoid a devastating war? <br>In this prequel to the acclaimed The City of Ember and The People of Sparks, Jeanne DuPrau investigates how, in a world that seems out of control, hope and comfort can be found in the strangest of places.
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