This is not a terrible book. While I do appreciate the thought of a prequel, the Prophet of Yonwood meanders a lot, so much so that when DuPrau finally connects the dots in the end, the anti-climactic finale feels very rushed instead of awe-inspiring. As well, DuPrau boldly incorporates many different subjects in the novel, including violence, impending/inevitable war, religion and faith, which is great to see in a young adult novel. However, the reason this Prophet of Yonwood doesn't quite work as well as People of Sparks is because the subjects and themes here aren't so much commented on and tied back in at the end, making them feel haphazardly thrown in. This book is still a decent read -- I particularly liked the parallel of the heightened tensions of the Cold War -- but it had the potential of being something greater than it was.