Friday, April 3, 2009

The Farwalker's Quest by Joni Sensel

Zeke's tree would not speak to him.

"Are you sure you've got the right tree?" Ariel asked when he told her. "Maybe you've been hearing another one nearby that got tired of the confusion and gave up."

Title: The Farwalker's Quest
Author: Joni Sensel
ISBN: 9781599902722
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's books/2009
Pages: 387

Zeke and Ariel, twelve years old are out chasing polliwogs in the creek in their lunchtime. That's when Zeke discovers that his tree won't talk to him. Ariel, who was never one cowed down by anything goes back to the tree to force it to speak to Zeke. Thats when they discover a dart with 13 weird symbols. They recognise a few of the symbols for each of the trades it represents but the last one is unfathomable.

Namingfest is three days away, on Apirl first where one can know what trade one wants to apprentice for. Ariel is the daughter of a Healtouch, and wishes to be one as she recognises medicinal plants and has a healiing touch. Zeke is the son of a tree-singer and wishes to be one himself.

That particular dart is given to the Storian of the village for safe-keeping but two finders turn up to claim it. They also want to take away Ariel along with them, recognising her for what she is, but they are not keen to reveal it to her as yet. Ariel fails her namingfest and wishes to be away too. Luna, Ariel's mother is not keen to send her daughter with two strangers to a far away place.

Scarl and Elbert steal Ariel away and kill her mother. They keep her tied and trussed up, taking her to some unknown place. Soon after Zeke follows and rescues her. Both bolt from the captives, finding new adventures on their way. Somehow Ariel knows exactly where to go and Zeke finds that rocks speak to him. It turns out that Ariel is a Farwalker.

Scarl and Elbert catch up with them and Scarl turns out to a protector of the children. They undergo the path of the dart, wanting to find out the Vault that is somehow mentioned in it. When they do, it is a revelation for the children and Scarl too. The treasure is not of Gold but wisdom, the art of living, which was lost in the disease which swept the Earth blinding everyone. People found their eyes-sight but lost everything else.

Despite the violence, I liked the book. The fantasy element is more like in the dreams or as an ESP. This makes it more realistic. Some questions are left unanswered. Maybe, Sensel wants to write sequels. It sure makes a good read for 11-13 years olds. My ARC goes to my 12 year old nephew.

Also reviewed by

CB James