Aquifer by Jonathan Friesen | Book Review


Genre: YA, Sci-fi/Dystopian                      

“Don’t look back. Protect her. Save the world. Got it.”
– Jonathan Friesen, Aquifer (Luca)

Buy Link: Amazon

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. [Goodreads]

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In a world with a limited water supply, there is one person who goes underground to the Aquifer to negotiate with the people who live down there in order to maintain peace and have access to the water source. This story takes place in New Pert, Austrayla which is an interesting component of the story because they are isolated and surrounded by salt water when fresh drinking water is a limited supply.  Luca is next in line for this role and has been trained his whole life to take over after his father. Luca is forced into the role a lot sooner than expected when his father goes missing and must risk his life to save his people and the water source. Feelings, emotions and reading is forbidden and what Luca discovers will change his whole life.

This story was unique and had some interesting elements that I have not read about before in a book. As in most dystopian worlds, the living conditions and circumstances were hard to deal with. The book has some magical/supernaturalish elements to it as well which I was not expecting. The citizens are forced to wear these metal detectors that show if they are experiencing too many emotions and such and I felt like this concept was not explained and presented well enough. I thought the world building was great, but I thought there were a few things left unexplained leaving unanswered questions and the overall writing was good, but there were some problems I had with the style and use of italics. Luca was an intriguing character. He feels so alone in the world and makes such great sacrifices for the community. I did feel like a lot of the time I was feeling really sad for him and I do not believe there was enough character development as there should have been. I was not totally sold on Luca being the hero. The underground world was so fascinating and I wish that more time was spent on that part of the story.

Overall it was a unique setting and situation presented in the genre of YA Dystopian. I feel that those who love and devour dystopian novels would be interested to pick this up. It is a good book, but I wouldn’t say it was outstanding so I feel like those who are so-so on dystopian might not be able to enjoy it.