It's not easy to tell, at first, whether The Farwalker's Quest is set long ago, or far away, though it is certainly a time unlike our own. The truth is something the people of this setting have deliberately forgotten.
People in this world have survived through the use of extra-sensory abilities, trained with an apprentice system similar to our middle ages. The main character, Ariel, expects to be a Healtouch, like her mother. Her best friend and companion in adventures, Zeke, is a Tree-Singer, who can hear the trees speak. But when they find something that doesn't belong in their village's forest, everything Ariel thinks she knows about her path in life starts to change.
Darkness and true danger abound in this adventure. Ariel and Zeke are struggling for survival from very early on, with people hunting them, trying to kill them, and unconcerned with who else dies along the way. Deaths of people who matter a great deal to main characters are emotional to the reader and devastating to the characters involved. So, while I enjoyed the read, and this book is recommended for 5-8th graders, I'd judge my 5th grader to be a little too sensitive for this book.
I loved the theme of finding your true calling. The talents the author designed to help her people survive were interesting and well-thought out. The potential for use of those talents in negative ways, as they appear in the story, felt very human and fascinating, to me.
Although The Farwalker's Quest is able to stand alone, the characters clearly had more journey ahead of them. Loose ends remain, with the biggest mystery - who sent that artifact, and why - not entirely explained. It's clearly part of a trilogy, with the story continued in The Timekeeper's Moon and The Skeleton's Knife.