Sunday, August 4, 2013

Aquifer by Jonathan Friesen

Genre:  YA Dystopian Fantasy

Description (taken from Jonathan Friesen's website):
Only He Can Bring What They Need to Survive.

In 2250, water is scarce, and those who control it, control everything. They'll do anything to maintain their power---deceiving, dividing families, banning love ... killing those who oppose them. 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 one chosen to make the yearly pilgrimage: He must descend to the domain of the hideous 'Water Rats,' creatures who mine the essential water and pump it to the desperate 'Toppers,' in exchange for light. But when Luca 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.

So the premise of this book is really good.  But I had a hard time following the execution.  To put it simply, it was too wordy for me, and I wasn't a fan of the ending.

Luca lives in a world where fresh water is scarce.  He lives in a society where feelings aren't allowed and water is rationed off.  The only fresh water comes from underground in the Rat territory.  Only Luca and his father know how to get down there and must make the trek once a year to keep the peace and make the life-saving trade: light for water.  But in this world of deceit and control, Luca finds nothing is as it seems.  The Rats aren't as scary as they seem to be.  The all-controlling Council aboveground doesn't have the control it wants, and Luca finds he is in their way.

This book has a lot of control that we see in dystopian societies, but I had a hard time following it sometimes.  There's the Council that controls everything and the Amongus who enforce it.  It was hard to separate the two in my mind.  And when we enter Rat Territory deep in the caves of the earth, it seems like a beautiful, fantasy place.  Usually I love fantasy and can't enough of it, but I had a really hard time following it this time around.

If it weren't for the ending, I would have enjoyed this book more.  It seemed like the ending was in left field, there was no way to predict it (and it didn't fit with the story in my mind).  So in essence, I think that's what made me think "so-so" in regards to this book.

Thanks goes to Zondervan Publishing for providing me a review copy.

Challenges:  Dystopia Reading Challenge

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