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The Farwalker's Quest Paperback – Bargain Price, February 2, 2010

39 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Farwalker Trilogy Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

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. Though Ariel will test to be a Healtouch like her mother, she worries it isn’t her true calling. Then she and Zeke find a telling dart, a mysterious remnant from the past. Its message appears lost, but Ariel knows the dart itself tells a story somehow meant for her. When two Finders come to their fishing village looking for the dart, Ariel reluctantly hands it over, but in the process marks herself as a potential Farwalker, a long-lost trade. The strangers kidnap Ariel, and, with Zeke following, her quest to find the source of the dart and her true purpose has begun. This stand-alone fantasy has a unique setting with an intriguing history and a suspenseful plot. Ariel, as headstrong as she is thoughtful, is an appealing character, and her strong bond with her companions—Zeke and Scarl, her taciturn but caring protector—makes their journey one to follow. Grades 5-8. --Krista Hutley --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


A Bank Street Best Book for 2010 --Bank Street College of Education

This is a solid and well-paced fantasy in which the journey is more important than the conclusion. The theme of finding and accepting one's true calling resonates. --School Library Journal

[T]he book is at once elegant and lyrical, while also offering an intensely paced and action-driven plot for readers who are seeking adventure along with poetic contemplation.
--The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

This stand-alone fantasy has a unique setting with an intriguing history and a suspenseful plot. --Booklist

The story offers crisp dialogue, an exciting plot, and strong secondary characters. --Kirkus --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 and up
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens (February 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1599904500
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 7.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,600,213 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Joni Sensel grew up near Tacoma, WA, where she memorized Dr. Seuss stories and then began creating her own. This early training and a conviction that 'things are not what they seem' drew her to writing fantasy, including the three books of the Farwalker trilogy -- The Farwalker's Quest, The Timekeeper's Moon (Bloomsbury), and The Skeleton's Knife -- plus The Humming of Numbers (Holt) and Reality Leak (Holt). These books have been recognized as a Bank Street Best Book, a Junior Library Guild Selection, a Cybils Award finalist, a Crystal Kite finalist, and a nominee for the Missouri Truman Award.

A full-time freelance writer, Joni has also published two picture books, one of which earned a 2001 Henry Bergh Children's Book Honor from the ASPCA. She lives on the only paved street in a tiny community at the knees of Mt. Rainier in Washington State. Find her on Facebook as well as at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 36 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on December 28, 2009
Format: Hardcover
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, place on the shelf for TEN MONTHS, and still remember like it was yesterday when I get ready to review it. "The Farwalker's Quest" by debut novelist Joni Sensel was one of those books that I sort of assumed I'd never get around to reviewing but over the months I found that I couldn't forget it. I kept thinking about it, and darned if I didn't remember it long after it was over. That, to me, is what middle grade chapter book fantasy fans are really looking for. They may devour book after book like lightning, but why do they do it? They do it because they're searching for the story that touches them, stays with them, and remains with them for years and years. "The Farwalker's Quest" is one of those books. It reuses a lot of old tropes we've seen many times before, but it also will stick with you long after the memory of other fantasies has faded from your mind.

Who hasn't wanted to find a secret message meant just for them? It sounds exciting, like the start of an adventure. But when Ariel pulls an ancient artifact called a telling dart from the bark of a tree, she has no idea where this simple action might lead. Before she knows it two scary looking men have come to town looking for the dart.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Darcy Pattison on February 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Joni Sensel has written a classic journey and quest story that is undertaken by Ariel and Zeke. It's a sort of post-apocalyptic world in which there is still some magic, but much of it is lost or misunderstood. Like all good quest stories, the hero and heroine must leave home and they face strange lands: deserts, forests, mountains. Ariel and Zeke must learn to trust each other and their own strengths in order to find the relics that will restore the lost knowledge and learning to their world. Sensel's story sings along at a fast pace, with strongly drawn characters and a satisfying ending. This is fine storytelling.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By M. Lee on October 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover
As a mother who still tries to screen everything her 13-year-old daughter reads, I found myself first being surprised at how much I was enjoying "The Farwalker's Quest" by Joni Sensel - and then by being more and more disturbed by it. I really cannot agree with the one librarian reviewer who recommended this book for 9 - 12-year-olds, precisely because of the creepy parts she mentioned. No, I don't think we're "all in the clear" because sometimes what is not said is worse than what is laid out guts and blood. And there is plenty of that. I think my biggest issue is with the plot line itself: Scarl, a seemingly young man, stands by and watches while 12-year-old Ariel's mother is killed and body dumped - and, then, with the killer, kidnaps Ariel, in a guise that he will "rescue" her later. Much, much later, after many hints that the girl has developed some measure of crushing on him, he acknowledges himself as her "protector" - but she calls him "father." Kinda uuuky, I think! Then, there is the suicide of the ghost, and Scarl's sort-of-intended I have problems with. I also don't for a second believe Ariel is a 12-year-old who's never been out of her village before. She sounded more like (at least) a 15-year-old - and the description of her killing a bird with her bare hands was just too much like that goat-killing scene in the awful adult novel "Cold Mountain" by Charles Frazier (made into an even worse movie starring Nicole Kidman): pointless and gratuitous. I guess there are cats people and dogs people, and then there are trees-and-rocks people, and birds people, and the varieties shall never meet, but I was really uncomfortable with the "it's-okay-to-kill-when-it's-not-a-tree-or-rock-that's-been-on-this-earth-forever" idea. I know there are people out there - nice people - who are fine with this.Read more ›
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on March 11, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Gold Star Award Winner!

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 fantasy elements of a magical artifact and a heroic quest, but Sensel writes in such a refreshing, original way that this book is far from cliché.

I loved THE FARWALKER'S QUEST! From the very first line, I found myself striding into Ariel's story and loving every step. I couldn't stop walking (and sometimes running) until I reached the last page, and even then I wanted to go on. This is a book I will enjoy stepping into again.

I am especially intrigued with the concept of the Blind War and would love Sensel to guide us back to this time in a new adventure.

Reviewed by: Joan Stradling
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