Monday, March 2, 2009

The Far Walker's Quest by Joni Sensel

Zeke's tree wouldn't speak to him.

The Farwalker's Quest
by Joni Sensel is the second magic-free Young Adult fantasy I've read lately. (I wonder if this is a trend or a new sub-genre.) This is not to say that there are no supernatural elements in The Farwalker's Quest. There are, but they are kept very close to reality, more like extra sensory powers than outright magic.

The world of The Farwalker's Quest is a post apocalyptic Australia. Civilization ended long before the start of the novel, when a disease that made everyone blind swept the earth. Those who managed to survive had to give up the modern technology they were used to, eventually returning to a very simple village life centered around farming. After several generations, people regained their sight, but by this time almost all record of the past along with its technology was lost.

For as long as anyone can remember there have been twelve types of work open to villagers. Ariel the daughter of the village healer is clearly adept at identifying medicinal herbs and is learning how to use them. Her best friend Zeke is the son of a tree singer, a man who can communicate with the trees, one in particular, which warn him of impending dangers and offer general advice. The trees have some ability to predict the future, but they are not able to alter it. Zeke wants to continue in his father's footsteps as Ariel wants to continue in her mother's. One day they find a telling dart, a small machine that can fly 100's of miles until it finds the one person its message is meant for. They do not know which of them the dart was meant for nor who it was from and they do not entirely understand its message. They decide to keep it a secret.

When the fourteen-year-old children, Zeke and Ariel among them, are being tested to determine which of the twelve jobs they shall have, Eldred and Scrawl, two finders, arrive at the village. Finders are mysterious figures; they are the only people who still travel from town to town, looking for and finding whatever has been lost in exchange for food and lodging as well as other services and goods. They are after the telling dart, which they say has led them to Ariel. They offer to take Ariel, who has failed her test to become a healer, to join them in a fairly large city where she will become a farwalker.


When Ariel's mother refuses to let her go with the finders, they kidnap her, kill her mother and burn down Zeke's trees to prevent them from revealing where they have gone. Zeke sets out to rescue Ariel though no tree will talk to him after what has happened. Twelve telling darts have been sent out into the world, each given the task of finding the best of each of the twelve jobs. The finders, it turns out, are following the darts, intent of killing each person they find.

The Farwalker's Quest is the first in what looks to be a very entertaining series. The world Ms. Sensel has created is an intriguing one. While The Farwalker's Quest ends with a clear resolution, there are still enough unanswered questions to fill a second and third volume. I was surprised, however by the level of violence in the story. Most of it takes place off stage, so to speak but it seemed fairly heavy to me. I think it took me by surprise because the cover art looks very innocent, like what you'd find on a book aimed at 11-year-olds. In spite of this I loaned the book to one of my 7th grade students. She did not notice the violence, had high praise for the book and is anxiously awaiting the sequels.



WIN THIS BOOK!


If you're interesting in The Far Walker's Quest I have one advanced reading copy to give away. Leave a comment below to enter. Post a link on your blog about this giveaway to be entered three times. Dakota will be selecting the winner Saturday morning, March 7.

This giveaway is part of the Book Giveaway Carnival over at bookroomreviews.com. Check it out for over 100 book giveaways happening this week.

50 comments:

mindy said...

sounds like a great read thanks for the giveaway

ikkinlala said...

This looks like an interesting book. I'd love a chance to read it.

ikkinlala AT yahoo DOT ca

Becky said...

I'd love to win this, thanks.

Becky
(laney_poATyahoo.com)

Sandy Nawrot said...

James, you have really had an interesting line-up of books lately! I would love to be entered into the giveaway!

Chantele said...

Looks great! I would love to be entered!;)

alwayssomething2read(at)gmail(dot)com

Valorie said...

I'd love a chance to win.

Valorie
morbidromantic@gmail.com

Valorie said...

Blogged the contest:
http://www.morbid-romantic.net/2009/03/02/book-giveaways-0302-0308/

Valorie
morbidromantic@gmail.com

Allison said...

Enter me please!! Looks like a great story!

Karen Kincy said...

Please enter me, too!

Blogged about it here: http://ravelda.livejournal.com/327005.html

karenkincy [at] hotmail [dot] com.

DeenaML said...

LOVE the concept and the cover. Thanks for the review!

Rue said...

Sounds like an interesting book. I enjoy post-apocalyptic fiction. Thanks for the chance to win.
ruthann (dot) francis (at) gmail (dot) com

clenna said...

Very interesting - I'd love to win this book.

Marie said...

I would love a chance to read this!

vmlay@artsci.wustl.edu

Melissa said...

I'd love a chance to win and read this, great giveaway!

mlb108[at]gmail[dot]com

unpissenlit said...

Alright, you've totally piqued my interest from the very beginning of your post with the quote, "Zeke's tree wouldn't speak to him."

I'd love to be entered into this giveaway. Thanks!

ds said...

Please count me in! This sounds really interesting (then again, everything you read sounds really interesting).

MOMFOREVERANDEVER said...

would love to read

traymona said...

This sounds like my kind of read.
traymona[at]aol.com

Stacie said...

Please count me in.

FatalisFortuna said...

I've heard about this book a few times, I'd like to win!

Lady Roxi said...

Love to have this.

Thanks,

darkfyre1(at)gmail(dot)com

neko03 said...

im interested
KawaiiNeko2008 (at) aol (dot) com

Alyce said...

If I mailed you some dog treats to put in with my name would that be unethical? :)

I've added this one to my wishlist just in case I don't win. Great review!

akreese (at) hotmail (dot) com

ellie said...

Sounds like a great book. Thanks for the giveaway. Please enter me.

windycindy said...

My two sons would enjoy reading this book! Please enter my name in your drawing. I appreciate it!
Thanks, Cindi
jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com

Becca said...

This sounds very interesting. Please enter me. I would love a chance to read this. Thanks!
rebecca.bradeen(at)verizon(dot)net

sally apokedak said...

Oh yes, I would really like a copy of this book.

sally at paraklesis dot com

demmi said...

yes I would love to read this book con5459(at)gmail(dot)com

deltay said...

Yeah, I've heard that this {sub}genre is getting pretty popular these days.

lucidconspiracy[at]gmail[dot]com

toohotforturtle said...

This would be perfect for my 14 year old who is recently becoming a huge fantasy book freak!!

gahome2mom said...

Cool! I love fantasy books! Thanks for the chance to win!
litheorchid(at)hotmail(dot)com

rottawa said...

I would like to give this to my son if I win. He loves to read and this is his genre

rhondastruthers at yahoo dot ca

Sherrylinn said...

Sounds like a good one for our daughter, thanks for the chance to win.


slcremer at gmail dot com

Jinxy and Me said...

Looks great! Thanks for the giveaway!

Blodeuedd said...

If it's open to all then I'd love to win this one :D

Boo Bear's Place said...

i would love to win this to give to my hubby he loves books like this

ezziriah(at)gmail (dot)com

Tracey said...

Thanks for the great giveaway. My daughter would love this.

Terra H. said...

I'd like to read this book. Thanks.

partymix25(at)hotmail(dot)com

Jennifer said...

This sounds really good! Thanks for the opportunity!

kairilily at yahoo dot com

Debs Desk said...

Please include me in your giveaway.
Thanks
Debbie
debdesk9@verizon.net

DesLily said...

i'd like to be included in the giveaway

deslily@aol.com

Sandra K321 said...

My son would love to read this book, it's exactly the style he likes.

Bcteagirl said...

For quite a while now I have been wanting to get into post apocalyptic literature. Thanks for this contest!

caseykelp said...

Sounds like a good read. Thank you for the giveaway.

Molly C. said...

This sounds like a really interesting book. I hope I win.

jolt! said...

What a unique storyline. I'd definitely like to win it and read it!

C. B. James said...

Entries for this giveaway are now closed.

Please stop by later today to see who Dakota selects as the winner.

I give away one or two books a month, so keep coming back for more.

Qwill said...

Choose me Dakota. hehe

Meaghan F. said...

Looks like a really fun book!

gautami tripathy said...

I reviewed it here:

http://readingandmorereading.blogspot.com/2009/04/farwalkers-quest-by-joni-sensel.html

and linked yours with mine.