January 3, 2013
The Farwalker’s Quest by Joni Sensel
We’ve all known a kid like Ariel. She’s the curious one whose always asking why. She doesn’t easily accept limits and because of this decisions can be tough. After all, choosing one thing means ruling out so many other possibilities. That’s the reality that she faces as naming day looms near.
Choose a vocation. Pass the test. Be locked in for the rest of her life.
She supposes that, like her mother, she will opt for healer. She knows the plants and where most of them grow. She can tell you what they’re good for and how to use them. She’s much less good with the sick themselves but knows that it comes with the job. If only she felt truly called like her friend Zeke.
There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that Zeke is a Treetalker. After all, he has his special tree. He sings to it and it answers questions except that lately it has been strangely quiet. At least, its quiet until Zeke brings Ariel to the tree and she climbs up into its branches.
There she finds a strange brass dart — an artifact once sent from one place to another with a message that only one person could read. Who has managed to send out a dart after all of this time and who was supposed to get it?
As Zeke and Ariel try to decide what to do with something so important, two strangers arrive in the village. Ariel doesn’t know why but she immediately distrusts the two men. She doesn’t have much time to think about them though because it is Naming Day. But then the unthinkable happens and Ariel fails her test.
What could be worse than that? She has her answer when she is kidnapped in the night.
I don’t want to say anything more about the plot of this book. Suffice it to say that it will keep you turning the pages as Ariel learns to tell friend from foe and overcomes her squeamishness as she uses her healing skills to stitch up wounds and seek out healing herbs. Zeke too discovers new found skills as the trees seek to speak to him but he hears another set of voices. A slow, ponderous set of voices that speak low and quiet.
This book is hard to categories. It reads like fantasy with the people living in far flung villages and their stories of time past. But many of these stories involve technologies that no longer work including bicycles and lights and so much more.
With a female main character who is strong and adventurous and her male best friend, this book will appeal to both boys and girls. There are some scary bits because the bad guys really are quite bad — thus the need to stitch someone up. But it is an amazing story of strength and courage and not letting the fears and indecision of yourself or others hold you back.