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The Farwalker's Quest (The Farwalker Trilogy #1)

3.96  ·  Rating Details  ·  678 Ratings  ·  104 Reviews
Ariel has always been curious, but when she and her best friend Zeke stumble upon a mysterious old telling dart she feels an unexplained pull toward the dart, and to figuring out what it means. Magically flying great distances and only revealing their messages to the intended recipient, telling darts haven't been used for years, and no one knows how they work. So when two ...more
Kindle Edition
Published (first published February 17th 2009)
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Dec 28, 2009 Betsy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'll confess something to you. I'm a children's librarian who reads a lot of children's books in a given year. I don't get a chance to review them all, which is too bad. So my To Be Reviewed shelf in my office gets fuller and fuller as the seasons go by. Sometimes I'll read a book for kids in one month and then immediately review it. Other times I'll read a book, put it on the shelf, and pick it up a few months later, a little fuzzy on some of the finer details. Rarest of all is the book I read, ...more
Eva Mitnick
In Ariel's world, there is no technology at all - not even a simple machine like a bike or a wheelchair. Oh, once there were marvelous gadgets - but then there was a terrible war that rendered everyone blind. Eventually, sighted children were born and the world returned to normal - except that folks had lost most of the knowledge they'd had before the war. And perhaps that wasn't such a bad thing, especially if that knowledge had led to the war.

When Ariel and her friend Zeke find a telling dart,
Nov 03, 2015 Angel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have to say, I'm impressed. It was interesting to see a world where people have lost the knowledge of many technologies used today and have reverted to living in small villages. I also thought the relationships between the characters was very heartwarming. No spoilers! so you'll have to read it yourself :)
Apr 10, 2016 Allison rated it really liked it
Recommended to Allison by: Kindle Daily Deal
The Farwalker's Quest is billed as a Middle Grade Fantasy, but aside from the age of the main characters (12), I really found it quite mature. It's grim (lots of death) and even gruesome at times, so I'm not sure I would recommend it for the younger Middle Grade readers. It's more adventure than introspection or romance, though, so I'm guessing that's why it's not classed as YA.

The story is set in the far future of Earth after a war of technology killed off most of the population. Technology is
Jan 08, 2009 Becky rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

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 g
Kat!e Larson
Jul 06, 2015 Kat!e Larson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was way more intense than I expected. The emotion was raw and the characters real, making it a powerful read. It had a lot of elements of typical fantasy, but also plenty of surprises. It was a perfect combination of familiar and unique.

**I'm not sure how much of the following review contains spoilers. I tried to avoid them, but I'm not good at knowing what's important to keep secret. So read at your own risk.**

(view spoiler)
Dec 30, 2014 Aelvana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ariel was looking forward to nothing more than passing her Naming Day test, being apprenticed as the next Healtouch for her village, and finding mischief with Zeke, her best friend. But that was before the dart. Once the telling dart falls into her hands, everything changes. Suddenly she's on a journey far beyond the life she knew and in danger from those who want to see her dead.

The story has an excellent sense of detail and phrasing. From the very beginning, the characters and their world come
Christy Stewart
Quick read, easy read. One of my most favorite settings, a post-appocalyps, coupled with a nature-pagan context was nicely told through the stories of two young tweens. Plot, characters, and setting aside, I enjoyed this book and it'll be something I remember.
Jun 05, 2016 Yvette rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a Middle Grade fantasy set in a world that has changed since the "Blind War," though it is unclear if this is our world or another. At twelve, there is a NamingTest that each child takes to see if they will apprentice in their chosen vocation and take a new last name such as Healtouch or Treesinger, or spend a year as a Fool. When Ariel fails her Healtouch test, and is kidnapped by two Finders, the harrowing journey to discover her true vocation begins.

I like to keep my eye out for inter
Mark Buxton
Jan 26, 2015 Mark Buxton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Namingfest is much like The Giver and Divergent as children discover their roles in society, in this case when they reach the age of thirteen. The Blind War and Forgetting share the author's notion that societies can destroy themselves through fear and bad decisions. Is it better to forget about past mistakes that were made or learn valuable lessons from them? It's interesting to note that Ariel and Zeke's characters seem to be mostly defined after the Namingfest, but they become new charact ...more
Mar 28, 2012 James rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
If you enjoyed The Hunger Games trilogy, try this young adult novel. It's a classic fantasy built around a quest where the two main characters not only find the Truth about themselves but find their places in the wider world.

Shortly before the all-important "Namingfest" that will determine their future trades, Ariel and her friend Zeke find an ancient artifact that changes the course of their lives. Though Ariel recognizes a few of the symbols on the telling dart, the message itself is a myster
Kathryn Mueller
Anyone who read and loved Lois Lowry's The Giver and the accompanying books, will see some obvious similarities with the idea of occupations in this fascinating fantasy by Joni Sensel. I appreciated that the book was longer and the plot much more intricate than The Giver (which I also loved) but I still finished it in about a day because I just couldn't put it down!

The story opens with Ariel and Zeke, 12-year-olds (almost 13) in a small coastal town, preparing to take their Naming test. This wil
Lisa Nocita
Jan 04, 2010 Lisa Nocita rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Farwalker's Quest is an imaginative journey recounting the tales and travails of young Ariel FarWalker and her friend and companion, Zeke StoneSinger. Ariel and Zeke have just turned thirteen and their futures lie ahead of them during the Namingfest, when each child of age tests for their future trade. Zeke hopes to become a Tree-Singer like his father. Ariel plans without any great enthusiasm to become a HealTouch like her mother. But neither ends up with the destiny they expected and they are ...more
Jul 04, 2012 Allison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-teen, fantasy, tween
This was such a good, classic quest story and such a read. There's nothing flashy about this book, no vampires or romances or dystopian societies, but Sensel's solid writing and the touching characters that she creates in Ariel, Zeek, and Scarl shine through. Really for me this story was about the characters and the relationships between them. Sure, there's a quest that they must finish, riddles that they must solve, and obstacles that they must overcome, but what I loved was reading the emotion ...more
Cheri Williams
A magical fantasy, The Farwalker’s Quest, takes place in a futuristic world—a world left devastated and fragmented by the Blind War.

Everyone in Canberra Docks assumes twelve-year-old Ariel will become a Healtouch like her mother. She certainly doesn’t seem talented enough to do anything else. Her best friend, Zeke, hopes to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a village-chief-like Tree-Singer. But just three days before the Namingfest, Zeke’s tree won’t speak to him. Instead, the maple di
This was an enthralling fantasy, and much better than I was expecting! I had never heard of Joni Sensel, but I saw a reference to this novel somewhere and thought it sounded like it might be worth looking into. I'm really glad I did!

It's a fairly typical quest fantasy in a lot of ways. Ariel, who is a little bit of a misfit in her community, finds a "telling dart": a remnant of ancient magical technology that is intended to carry messages. Unfortunately, no one except the village's Storian (teac
Dec 04, 2012 Doris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: young readers, fantasy readers
Shelves: childrens, fantasy
The Farwalker's Quest is listed as the first book in the Farwalker trilogy, and starts us off with a young girl, Ariel, and her friend Zeke, who are both looking to taking an important step on the path to adulthood. They, along with their friend (Madeline?) are ready to take tests to get their second name, which will set them into an apprentice role for their life's work.(view spoiler) ...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Joan Stradling for

When Ariel and her best friend, Zeke, find a magical artifact, their lives are changed forever.

Soon they are on a dangerous journey to discover where the artifact originated. In the process, they discover their true callings and forge an unlikely friendship.

Filled with adventure, surprises, and great characters, THE FARWALKER'S QUEST guides the reader one exciting step at a time into a fantastic trip through Ariel's world.

This book has common fan
Louise Spiegler
Dec 30, 2009 Louise Spiegler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Joni Sensel’s The Farwalker’s Quest has much to recommend it: a likable and engaging heroine, strong supporting characters and a satisfying theme of finding your mission in an intriguing but imperfect world. Ariel, her central character, is spunky, sometimes grumpy, but kind and empathic and intelligent as well. She lives in a future world in which technology has all but disappeared as the result of a cataclysmic war (even bicycles are mythical mechanisms!) and communication is limited between t ...more
Betty Jo Pritchett
I would recommend 'The Farwalker's Quest'. I enjoyed reading it. I liked the characters- Ariel, Zeke and Scarl. The dystopian history of their world was fairly original and I was intrigued by the premise of the 'Blind War' and the 'Forgetting'. Both of those events led Ariel's world to what it is now, a fairly primitive culture which survives with only 12 trades and almost no modern day technology, machines, and knowledge. Right before her 'trade' test, Ariel and Zeke find a dart with symbols on ...more
Jul 07, 2010 Krysta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, adventure
I checked this book out on a whim to kill time and didn't expect to read more than a few chapters. Well, it ended up being more engrossing than I had anticipated. The premise is interesting wherein the society is in a post-apocalyptic situation, so far set back that the concept of a bicycle is full of wonder and almost incomprehensible. While they've lost most technology, to survive the people developed various talents through the centuries like communicating with trees and the ability to "find" ...more
Ariel and her best friend, Zeke, are ready for Namingfest, a day when they choose one of the twelve trades and are tested to become an apprentice. When Ariel and Zeke find a telling dart, a long-lost magical artifact from the past once used to send messages, they decide to try to figure out how it works on their own. Before they can determine its message, however, two Finders appear in search of the dart, and they are forced to hand it over. Ariel, however, has a feeling the dart is meant for he ...more
May 10, 2010 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Without giving away too many of the book's surpises . . . despite the title, for a good part of the book there is neither a Farwalker nor a quest. The beginning of the journey is not voluntary, and is in fact quite traumatic, and both the identity of "Farwalker" and a sense of purposeful "quest" are hard surprises in the midst of some stark realities.

As they approach their naming day, thirteen-year-olds Ariel and Zeke are filled with excitement and apprehension. They've learned everything they c
Oct 26, 2009 Miranda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Farwalker's Quest follows the story of a thirteen year old girl named Ariel. It begins with her and her friend, Zeke, finding a "telling dart," an object that was thought to be out of use for years. The discovery of this artifact set in motion events that will irrevocably change Ariel and Zeke's lives.

When I started reading this book, I had some doubts on whether or not it would be a good read. Two of the main characters (Ariel and Zeke) are just about to turn thirteen at the beginning of th
This juvenile fantasy novel gave me a very bad case of first-reads guilt. I entered the giveaway because I had just discovered giveaways and was overexcited by them and entering draws almost at random. I won this book. I read it and it kept up my interest until the end, but I didn't fall in love with it. Much of the world building didn't make a great deal of sense to me (I never was really convinced by the concept of a "telling dart" which is central to the book). Still, I know every book is its ...more
Kristen Jorgensen
Ariel and Zeke, best friends, are looking forward to the upcoming naming fest (a sort of graduation) where they will be tested and start their new trades. Zeke can talk to trees while Ariel is trying to become the next healer of the village. Unfortunately everything goes wrong and Ariel finds herself on a journey toward a mission, and treasure that she never imagined.

I was excited to read this book. I especially liked the beginning and the descriptions of the world Ariel lives in. I also thorou
Aug 24, 2009 Kirby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am not generally a fantasy reader but, as with her Humming of Numbers, Joni Sensel drew me right in to this other time and place. Though the reader figures out well before Ariel does that she's not going to pass her test to be a Healtouch, that only adds to the drama and tension of this amazing and gritty story. Ariel is a compelling and complex character, and so is her apparent nemesis, Scarl. Childhood friend, Zeke, grows up fast and displays immense courage in his attempt to rescue Ariel wh ...more
Sep 04, 2014 Krsten rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! It was full of adventure and I thought it was unique. I enjoyed the change of hearts in the characters. There were some dark parts in roles that I didn't understand, but there is a sequel and maybe that will help unveil the mysteries.
May 10, 2010 Naomi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010

Excellent children's book from a Northwest writer. I really enjoyed the character development. Even though the plot was a bit slow/repetitive at times, I didn't seem to care, because I enjoyed "being with" the characters so much. I hope she writes more of these characters. It certainly felt like a setup for a series.

13-year old Ariel and Zeke discover a dart with a hidden message. Intended for Ariel from an unknown sender, it changes the direction of their lives in dangerous and unexpected ways.
Rita Webb
Aug 10, 2012 Rita Webb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to me by my daughter.

I enjoyed this immensely.

Ariel is a spunky sort of girl, and when she trusts her instincts, good things happen. It was sad to watch her struggle through so much of the turmoil that her adventure brought her. But fun to watch her grow.

Favorite character is Scarl. Curmudgeon to the core. He's the adult in this story, and he's the one that protects them and guides them. Yet, he's not the one in charge. I loved watching his relationship with Ariel grow as she began t
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