Monday, 5 August 2013

Aquifer by Jonathan Friesen

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Zonderkidz-Books and Netgalley.
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Only He Can Bring What They Needed 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 by Jonathan Friesen

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Aquifer(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Zonderkidz-Books and Netgalley.)
15-year-old Luca lives in a world where water is scarce. His father is the water deliverer, who must go below ground to obtain fresh water for the people of the town in which he lives.

I can’t give much more of a summary for this book, because I found it really hard to work out what the hell was going on.
We started off with some woman being found in shackles and drowned, then moved on to Luca. We were told a little about how there was a lack of water, and that previously some people had discovered water below the earth, and those people now lived and bred down there, and were now called rats. Once a year the deliverer went down there, and exchanged ‘rods of light’ for another year of clean fresh water.
Luca’s father was not all there though, he has previously had his memories wiped, and seemed a bit nuts. When he then went off to do the exchange, the people who governed them – the ‘Amongus’ tell Luca that his father has been retired, but Luca then finds out that he has actually been ‘undone’ (this involves shackles being attached to the arms and legs, and then the person jumps into the sea and drowns – no I don’t know why they do this, but it is apparently a more peaceful way to kill someone). This means that Luca is now the new deliverer.

Anyway, there were just so many things going on that weren’t explained in this book that it made it super confusing. The people talked about their ‘dials’, and said that their dials ‘wiggled’. As far as I could make out, these dials must have been implanted or something, and these dials allowed the Amongus to tell when they were lying or experiencing strong emotion? Not very clear and not well explained at all.

When we did then get some information about how this world came to be, we got an info dump, and there still wasn’t enough information to really know what was going on. We got a story about the world flooding and everyone except for one family being killed, which sounds to me an awful lot like the story of Noah and the Ark from the Christian faith. Not sure if this was intentional, or whether this book was supposed to have some sort of religious connotations or what, but that’s what it seemed like to me.

These were just a couple of the things that bothered me about this book, but there were more, and this book just became unreadable for me. After struggling with it, I eventually gave up having gotten so frustrated and confused that I couldn’t take it anymore.
I think this could be a good story, if there was more world building and better explanation of things, but as it is I really couldn’t enjoy it.
Overall; confusing and poor world building.
4 out of 10.


  1. Sorry to hear this one was confusing and the world building wasn't great

  2. Well that's too bad, it sounded interesting. I hate confusing books.

  3. Eh. Dystopia really isn't my thing anyway...