Author: Jonathan Friesen
Hardcover, 303 pages
Publication: August 6, 2013 by Zondervan
Source: Publisher, Z Street Team
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.
AQUIFER is set over 200 years in the future where water is scarce. Our protagonist and narrator, Luca has just turned 16 years-old and is the next in line to become The Deliverer. A Deliverer is a job passed on through generations from father to son, the ability to travel from above ground to below to retrieve water from the only remaining water source, the aquifer. Father Massa has been preparing/teaching Luca the route to the aquifer ever since he was young because the only way to get there is by memory. In a world where feelings/emotions and books are banned, everything is tightly controlled and monitored by the Amongus (guards/police)…because if you wrinkle too much (cause by feelings/emotions) you can potentially be undone (death penalty).
I am always looking for a good dystopian novel, and when I first heard of AQUIFER I was excited because it sounded different/fresh than all the other dystopian. I must admit in the first couple of chapters the story wasn’t grabbing my attention, and Luca’s voice felt disjointed to me. I was lost in the beginning because the terms used were odd and the world-building was barley coming together. For examples Luca talked about how the citizens of New Pert (setting is set in a future Australia) weren’t allowed to ‘wrinkle’, meaning they’re not allowed to show any emotions. Books are also banned, therefore the majority of the people didn’t know how to read or write ‘scratches’. It wasn’t long till the story picked up with nonstop action. The problems I just mentioned seem to just disappear and I found myself absorbed by Luca’s journey to find his missing father.
Luca has always felt different than other toppers (those who live above ground). While many people perfected being emotionless, Luca was the opposite and at times couldn’t exactly pinpoint what emotions he was feeling. Over the course of the novel, Luca grew and fell into the role/prophecy he was destined to fulfill. I love how Luca questioned everything he knew whether it be about his family or the government. He didn’t ask to be the ‘next’ Deliverer but he stepped up to the plate when it matter the most. Another character I really enjoyed reading about was Seward, the pirate that accompanied Luca on his quest. Seward is an unforgiving character and is true to who he is. Luca and Seward’s relationship throughout the book was touching and I was pleasantly surprised when I found out about Seward ties to Luca’s family. There are other great and unpredictable characters that readers will meet along the way and it really made one think... the person/people that you think you know, are they friend or foe?
AQUIFER is a mesmerizing tale of family, friendship, love, secrets, deception and lost. I enjoyed AQUIFER more than I expected. It is by far the best book I’ve read all summer. I'm not sure if there will be a sequel but if there is one, you bet I'll be adding to my to-buy-list! I highly recommend this book to those who love dystopian or a fast-pace read. Give this book a try, you won’t regret it! This is my first novel by Friesen, and surely it will not be my last.