Sensel, Joni. 2009. The Farwalker's Quest. Pub. Feb 2009. Bloomsbury USA. 400 pages.
Zeke's tree wouldn't speak to him.
The Humming of Numbers was one of my favorite 2008 reads, so I was ecstatic to get a chance to read her newest book The Farwalker's Quest. The book stars two kids--twelve year olds: Zeke and Ariel. They're approaching an important date: Namingfest. Soon they'll take tests to determine what paths their futures will take. Zeke hopes to become a Tree-Singer. Ariel hopes to follow in her mother's footsteps and become a Healtouch. Each person in the community has a gift; a gift that contributes to society as a whole. Of course, for those that fail to pass the test, there is the shame of wearing the name 'Fool' til the next year's festivities. (Though there are a few unfortunate souls that wear that name for life.)
Three days before Namingfest, the two find something in a tree. Something ancient. Something fascinating. Something dangerous. (Though it takes a full day for that to be realized.) Something that will bring strangers into their town. Something that will change both of their lives forever. That something is a magical artifact, a "telling dart" that is capable of flying hundreds of miles and revealing its message only to the intended recipient. That this 'dart' found the girl, Ariel, speaks volumes. It will be the best and worst thing that ever happened to her in her short life.
It brings adventures and dangers and new friends...and enemies...her strength and will be tested every step of the way.
I loved this one. Loved the world Sensel created. Loved that it's set so far into the future that society has collapsed upon itself, entered a dark ages of sorts, and is only just beginning to revive again. Loved the characters. How these relationships are built and developed through the novel. How easy it was to care about them all. Loved that so many of the characters were developed. There is a richness to the characters, to the world. (That's not always the case.) Loved the adventures. Loved the pacing. The intensity of it. Each chapter kept me hooked and wanting more.
I'd say this is perfect for fans of The Giver, City of Ember, and Ursula K. Le Guin's Annals of the Western Shore series (Gifts, Voices, Powers).
I know it's not saying much being as how it's only the first full week of January, but this is my best read so far!
© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews