Saturday, February 8

Aquifer by Jonathan Friesen

The year is 2250. Freshwater is limited to a single aquifer, which is then routed to inhabited reasons. Those who are in charge, the council, have limited emotions to create a peaceful world. Luca, sixteen, is able to hide his emotions from this council. When his father goes missing, his entire world is changed. He travels underground and begins to learn the secrets of the aquifer and of the council, but the secrets he uncovers could have unintended consequences.

The prologue sets up the world and gets us comfortable with the dystopian setting as a fishing vessel pulls a woman’s corpse from the sea. It is full of mystery and sets up this dystopian world. Had the rest of the story followed the feel and strength of this prologue, I feel that this book would’ve been very entertaining. Unfortunately, I feel that Aquifer quickly lost steam.

I often felt the world created was disjointed and I had trouble suspending my disbelief. The setting is a future earth, or at least an alternate universe earth. There are references to other countries, such as ‘Australya’ or ‘Sowt Amerika.’  There are ‘Kopters’ which are described as a type of helicopter. These alternate spellings seem random and I never got the sense of a history behind them. Is there a reason ‘south’ has changed to ‘sowt?’ Is it a dialect thing? Is it more of an alternate earth setting, where countries are similar but not exact (such as The United Isles in The Rithmatist)? Regardless, these changes seem unnecessary.

In addition to these changes, there are some questions regarding to the functioning related to the world. There seems to only be a single aquifer on earth. If this is correct, how is this aquifer able to distribute water across the globe? I never got the sense that the technology distributing the fresh water was that sophisticated.  Then, is there one global government? Does the council in Aquifer stretch to other countries, or is it a regional item?

Now, this may sound like nitpicking, but these were the questions that I thought about throughout the book. I found Luca’s story a bit boring. As a character he was presented as a stereotypical ‘chosen one,’ and a disinteresting one at that. I was hoping to spend more time with the characters presenting in the prologue. I also found the story to be disjointed. Many times things seem to happen without explanation. Perhaps there will be a sequel to fill in some gaps, but by time I finished the book I still didn’t understand everything that happened.

There were two main parts that I found engaging. The first was the prologue, as mentioned earlier. The second was the one scene I could feel emotion in. After several people are killed, the families of the deceased are approached, and you could feel the heartache and the emotional conflict.

I truly wanted to like this book, especially after the strong prologue. However, the world felt underdeveloped, the characters dull, and the story often confusing or disjointed.

1.5/5 stars

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers and Zondervan as part of the BookSneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 

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