Title: The Farwalker's Quest
Author: Joni Sensel
Genre: Juvenile Fantasy
Page Count: 372
Why I read it: wanted to
Ariel has always been curious, but when she and her best friend Zeke stumble upon a mysterious old telling dart she feels an unexplained need to figure 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 strangers show up looking for the dart, Ariel and Zeke realize that their discovery is not only interesting, but very dangerous. The telling dart and the strangers lead them on a journey more perilous and encompassing than either can imagine, and in the process both Zeke and Ariel find their true calling.
The Farwalker's Quest was a Cybils Awards Nominee for Middle Grade Fantasy and Science fiction in 2009, which is where I first heard of it. It started off a little slow, and I was afraid it wasn't going to be my cup of tea, but things picked up a bit, and I quite enjoyed it.
It's pretty much your typical quest story. There was a lot of walking and camping and questing, but it was very well done. I found Ariel a bit petulant and annoying, but I had to remind myself that she was young, and going through trying times, and that it was okay. And once I could get past that, I really loved the story. There were some interesting elements, and some that I've read before (Naming Day at age 13, or the like, has been done already), but none of it felt like it was just a copy of previous books.
Looking on Goodreads, I see that this is the first of a series, or at least that it has a sequel, which is nice because I'd like to re-visit this world. I would recommend this one to fans of YA or juvenile fantasy. It deserved to be nominated for the award, even if it didn't win.