Blurb: Only he can bring what they need to survive.
In the year 2250, water is scarce, and those who control it control everything. Sixteen-year-old Luca has struggled with this truth, and what it means, his entire life. As the son of the Deliverer, he will one day have to descend to the underground Aquifer each year and negotiate with the reportedly ratlike miners who harvest the world’s fresh water. But he has learned the true control rests with the Council aboveground, a group that has people following without hesitation, and which has forbidden all emotion in the name of keeping the peace. This Council has broken his father’s spirit, while also forcing Luca to hide every feeling that rules his heart.
But when Luca’s father goes missing, everything shifts. Luca is forced underground, and discovers secrets and mysteries that cause him to questions who he is and the world he serves. Together with his friends and a very alluring girl, Luca seeks to free his people and the Rats from the Council’s control. But Luca’s mission is not without struggle and loss, as his desire to uncover the truth could have greater consequences than he ever imagined.
Aquifer by Jonathan Friesen is an odd book. It’s set in a dystopian Australia which was interesting and unique. While obviously taking place in the distant future, the technology seemed all over to me – many aspects felt almost primitive but then other technologies seemed quite advanced. The ever-present dials perfectly embodied that contradiction – their capabilities seemingly outweighing the archaic wrapping. I didn’t understand the technology and most of it seemed unrealistic so I had to reclassify the book from realistic-dystopian to AU-dystopian to wrap my brain around it all.
The story started rather slowly, and it had a very melancholy feel. It did a fantastic job setting the mood and environment but since I was awaiting the “story” to start, it felt a little dragged out. But once things got going, I was hooked. The land below-ground was fascinating and I was sad we didn’t get to spend more time there. Luca was an interesting character, struggling with trust and unearthing layers upon layers of secrets that his entire world has been built on. And I loved the veiled references to God and faith – it wasn’t preachy at all but it hinted and pointed at something more.
Romance is very toned down, though definitely on the insta-love side of things. This was more of a middle-grade level book in my mind. I can see this story highly appealing to boys (though girls should like it just fine). The cast reminded me somewhat of Peterson’s The Wingfeather Saga, being a bit of a ragtag group of characters. The only thing I wished for was an epilogue or one more chapter to wrap things up a bit. The story ended rather abruptly and with a few questions unanswered. It’s like ending Star Wars after the death star explodes but without the ending award scene.
And can I just mention that I love the cover. It captures the setting and tone perfectly.
How do you feel about epilogues?
Disclosure of Material Connection: I won a copy from JillWilliamson.com in a giveaway. I was not required to write a positive review (or any review at all). The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.