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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

"The Timekeeper's Moon" by Joni Sensel (Reviewed by Cindy Hannikman)

Visit Joni Sensel's Website here
Read FBC's Review of Farwalker's Quest here
Order The Timekeeper's Moon from amazon here

Author Introduction: Joni Sensel is the author of The Farwalker's Quest. She is also the author of other children's and YA books such as, The Humming of Numbers, and Reality Leak. She currently lives in Washington State near Mt. Rainier.

Overview: Ariel Farwalker, has just found out that she is the first Farwalker in many years. Recently she has been hearing the moon calling to her in the night. It tells her to do various actions. Although Ariel has been ignoring the voice of the moon it is almost at the point where it's follow what the moon is telling her to do or go crazy.

After a devastating evening of following what the moon has told her to do, Ariel decides she must venture past her small town to fully understand what the moon wants her to do. All Ariel knows is that it involves a mysterious map that was found within her telling dart. The map is marked by symbols and keys that no one has been able to understand.

Zeke, Ariel's best friend, can speak to the stones. The stones and rocks believe that if Ariel does not embark on this quest then she and the rest of the world may not survive. With this in mind, Ariel and Scarl leave an injured Zeke behind and head out to unknown lands in search of who sent the mysterious telling dart and what might be a part of a mysterious society that has for many years been lost to the people of the world.

The Timekeeper's Moon, takes readers on a journey through uncharted lands as Ariel and her friends learn more about what life was like before the Wars and uncover new secrets. Meanwhile, Ariel learns more about what it means to be a Farwalker.

Format: The Timekeeper's Moon, is a children's/YA adventure/fantasy novel. It stands at 336 pages. It is scheduled for release March 2, 2010 by Bloomsbury Publishing.

Analysis: Farwalker's Quest was one of my top favorite books for 2009. Although after reading it there were many many questions I had, I can say without a doubt almost all those questions were laid to rest in The Timekeeper's Moon. Surprisingly, I was more engaged with this book then I was with the first.

Joni Sensel's writing is beautiful and flowy. She has the unique ability to write a book that is geared to a middle grade/YA audience but that makes even an adult want to read and jump into the world that she has created.

One of Sensel's strong points in her writing is her character building and portrayals. As mentioned in my review for Farwalker's Quest, Sensel creates three dimensional characters that aren't afraid to act like real life humans. Her characters show signs of being selfish, jealous, and needy. However on the flip side, these same characters are strong emotionally, and are good natured. Having three dimensional characters makes it easier for the reader to relate to the story and pick a character that they can relate to throughout the novel.

Although Timekeeper's Moon starts out with familiar characters from Farwalker's Quest, mainly Zeke, Ariel and Scarl. This novel introduces readers to a whole new set of characters that are all unique in their own ways. This fresh breath of characters kept me intrigued as I was learning more about each character but also kept a level of familiarity as I had known and become comfortable with Ariel.

Readers familiar with Ariel will get to see Ariel not only grow in her career as a Farwalker but also as a young woman. She develops a young love, and might even get to experience her first kiss and crush. Scarl also seems to grow in this novel, as he seems to be growing in his role as a father like figure to Ariel and even explains a lot of life's experiences to her. It was a relief to see established characters grow and not become stale or boring.

While I enjoyed Farwalker's Quest, there was something about The Timekeeper's Moon that seemed more polished and entrapped the reader easier. Farwalker's Quest dropped hints about the setting of the book being almost post apocalyptic, as there was an example of a device known as a "bike" talked about but no one understood what it was or had seen one. In Timekeeper's Moon this area of the novel is explored a little more and it's very clear that a War has taken away what readers today are used to. This was an aspect that I wanted to see explored and I enjoyed that it was touched upon.

Another area that Timekeeper's Moon expanded upon was that of the Farwalker calling. In the first novel it was touched upon what a Farwalker was but readers weren't able to see how Ariel develops her Farwalking skills or people's reaction to her skill as a Farwalker. There is a scene in Timekeeper's Moon where Ariel goes up to an unknown village and shows to the readers what is involved in truly being a Farwalker. From introducing herself and telling her story, to taking messages from village to village and trading items that these villagers might not have heard of or were helpful to them. Along with the Farwalker calling, readers also get a further look into the Flame Mage calling as Ariel befriends a Flame Mage.

Although TimeKeeper's Moon is a sequel to Farwalker's Quest and would best be enjoyed as being read after Farwalker's Quest. I really believe it could be read on its own. There are references to Farwalker's Quest and the events that happened in that novel but it's explained well enough that readers who hadn't read Farwalker's Quest will still understand what is going on.

Although the novel comes to a close, I'd love to see more of Ariel and all the characters that we have become familiar with. Each time I read either the Farwalker's Quest or TimeKeeper's Moon I am pulled into Ariel's world and life, and find it hard to come back to the real world. I'd jump at a chance to see more of Ariel and feel there are a lot more areas that could be explored and more adventures for Ariel to undertake.

In the end, I loved Timekeeper's Moon and find myself wanting to reread it again. Joni Sensel topped herself with this novel and brought a bit more mature and fluid writing style to this book. There is plenty of action and adventure to pull the reader into the book from the first couple of pages, and those looking for lovable/realistic characters will be certain to find them in this novel.


brizmus said...

This sounds like a super fun journey of a book! I'd never heard of it, but it's going on my wishlist right now!

Charlotte said...

I think a third book is called for...I agree that there's a lot of room for more story!

Cindy said...

Brizmus, it is a fun and enjoyable journey adventure book. I really enjoyed both books and am a huge fan of having others read them. I've recommended them to several other people and they've all enjoyed them. I hope you do too!

Charlotte, Yes I really hope there's more stories :). I think Joni Sensel's writing gets better and better with the books so I can only imagine what a third book would be like :)


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