Review: Aquifer by Jonathan Friesen

November 18, 2013

Title: Aquifer
Author: Jonathan Friesen
Publisher: Blink (Imprint of Zondervan)
Pages: 303
ISBN: 978-0-310-73182-5
Publication Date: August 6th, 2013

Only he can bring what they need to survive...

In 2250, water is scarce, and those who control it control everything. And they’ll do anything to maintain their power – deceiving, dividing families, banning love... even killing those who oppose them.

But above all, they seek to control knowledge and communication – ensuring the truth that will bring their downfall will never be known. But one person verges on discovering it all.

Sixteen-year-old Luca becomes the Deliverer, the only one allowed to contact the people called ‘Water Rats,’ who mine the essential water deep underground and bring it to the ‘Toppers’ who desperately need it above.

But when he meets a Water Rat who captures his heart and leads him to secrets – secrets about a vast conspiracy, and about himself – the net around him tightens. Luca and those around him must uncover and share the truth needed to overthrow tyranny – even as they fight for their lives.
The idea of this book caught my attention. I'm always on the lookout for new futuristic/dystopian books. I love the genre. Aquifer sounded promising.

Luca is a fifteen, soon-to-be sixteen year old boy. However, once he reaches sixteen, Luca will be considered a man in the society he lives in and he will be able to take up the roll of Deliverer, as his father and grandfather before him. As a Deliver, Luca has grown-up memorizing a path that leads down into the earth to the only remaining source of fresh water, the Aquifer. One day a year, the Deliverer descends into the earth to deliver a tribute to the underground works, who keep the Aquifer supplied and running, the Water Rats.

This year, Luca's father Massa starts his journey like normal. He sets off into his boat to the secret entrance. While he is away, Luca waits. When the time for his father to reappear from the underground, something goes wrong and his father never appears. He is told that his father needed to rest, while another tells him, his father has been undone, killed.

Luca doesn't know what to believe. He goes on living life by himself in his small shanty, till one day he is approached by Seward, a pirate and one who occasionally works for the government, retrieving the ones who have been undone. On an expedition for recovery, Luca and Seward find that the Council is trying to make it look like that Massa is dead when they recover a body that is dressed like Luca's dad, but doesn't have the same markings.

That part of the story I enjoyed. It was different and the story was an interesting premise. However, I had several moments where I was confused. In this future society, each person had a dial that sent out wrinkles if their emotions fluctuated to much. However, I was confused if they were set up for kids on the wall of their classroom, or they were on their person. There wasn't enough information to the background of these devices and how they came about.

Luca also was hard to understand as the story progressed. You could say that it was teenage hormones that happened, but the speed for which his thought processed change was a bit to quick and hard to follow. It was first about finding his father, then it changed to, I need to keep this girl by me, we can not be separated no matter the cost. She is far to important. Tayla, the girl who Luca became attached to was a bit fickle at times and I could not connect with her.

I also couldn't place who the villain of the story was. At one point it was the police of the system, then the council, then to a third at the end.

I really wanted to enjoy the story. The originality was there, but I was disconnected from the jumpiness of the story and characters.

2.5 out of 5

About the Author:
Jonathan Friesen is an author, speaker, and youth writing coach from Mora, Minnesota. His first young adult novel, Jerk, California, received the ALA Schneider Award. When he’s not writing, speaking at schools, or teaching, Jonathan loves to travel and hang out with his wife and three kids.

Thank you to Booksneeze and Blink, I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

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