Aquifer: Truth Lies Just Below the Surface

Aquifer: Truth Lies Just Below the Surface

by Jonathan Friesen
3.5 17

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Aquifer: Truth Lies Just Below the Surface 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
CatsInSpace More than 1 year ago
Kept me turning pages, but story felt a little flat I have mentioned before that I like to read dystopian fantasy books (see my review of The Fifth Wave), and Aquifer once again fits this category. In the future author Jonathan Friesen presents, the Earth no longer bears fresh water on its surface. The only water safe for human consumption lies below the ground, hidden in an aquifer (hence the title), which is guarded by a race of humans who have devolved to the state of being called “Rats.” Only one person ventures down to visit the rats, and he is called the “Deliverer.” Once a year, the Deliverer follows a path that only exists in his brain through rote memorization from his forefathers and exchanges light rods with the Rats for the promise of another year’s access to water. The story follows Luca, a sixteen-year-old boy who is next in line to be the Deliverer behind his own father, Massa. Luca, and all other humans on the surface, live in a police state where they are not allowed to have any emotions or show any sign of rebellion against the set order or they will be “undone” (forced to kill themselves). But Luca senses he is different from his peers, and when his father goes missing and Luca must keep the connection with the Rats to save the Earth, he learns why he has always felt apart from others. He learns much else that blows the lid off the current state of the world as well when he descends to the world of the Rats. I thought this book had an interesting premise and I was eager to find out about the underworld and the Rat people who lived there. The idea reminded me of the Morlocks in H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine, and I wanted to see what this author had done with a similar construct. Friesen presents a nice twist on the subterranean culture, which I will not reveal here, that sets this book apart. I enjoyed reading the story as it did contain many turns, much like Luca’s memorized route, they kept me turning pages. Teens may find Luca relatable as he is a teenager struggling with his place in the world and feeling different than everyone else around him. The other characters help move the story forward and cause changes in Luca, just as good characters should. My only complaint was that sometimes the Australian phrases thrown in seemed forced.  I should also address the fact that this story is printed by a Christian publisher. However, the Christian elements are few and hardly noticeable. Depending on what the reader is expecting, this could be a good or bad thing. There is no mention of God or Jesus, though Luca is guided by a voice that is never identified. There is a book Luca finds that is more important than any other, and when quoted, it is The Bible, though not identified (the characters wouldn’t know what that was).  Because the story is a bit ambiguous, it could easily have a wider appeal among non-Christians as well as Christian readers.
MyBookAddictionandMore More than 1 year ago
Although there were some plot points that I feel could have been fleshed out a bit more, this was an enjoyable, thought-provoking storyline with an element of spirituality that was not expected. Luca was a character that the YA reader will identify with and ultimately care for by the end of the book. I thoroughly enjoyed how the author described this dystopian future of a world without freshwater on Earth’s surface and a tenable hold on a limited supply underground. It takes place on and around the coast of Australia. It wasn’t fully explained how the world came to be in such a state, but that was likely due to the lack of knowledge of Luca, who tells the story in first person narrative. In this world, the written word had all but been destroyed, as it is seen as a method that could incite rebellion. This was understandable, once the reader learned the extent of Luca’s and his fellow New Pertian’s figurative and sometimes literal imprisonment. The religious undertones are subtle throughout, and although God, the Bible, and Jesus Christ are never mentioned, they are hinted at often. That was a pleasant surprise for me, since it isn’t billed as Christian literature, and that may be in order to market to a larger YA population. However, some of the hints are so subtle, some YA readers may not make the connection if they’ve never been exposed to church or the story of Christ. The only religious connection actually named is the song Talya sings near the end. The story ends with some questions and many other reviewers have assumed it means there is a sequel. I didn’t immediately jump to that conclusion, and I’m not sure if one is planned or not. I felt as though the questions are more for the reader to ask him or herself, and complete the story in their own mind. Overall, an enjoyable read, and I would continue the story if sequels are written at some point. Rating: 4 HEAT Rating: None Reviewed By: Daysie W. Review Courtesy of: My Book Addiction and More
Shopgirl152ny1 More than 1 year ago
Don't miss out on this unique, fascinating story set in the year 2250, where drinkable water is hard to find and feelings and art are forbidden! The Council monitors emotion and lethally enforces their rule. Once a year the Deliverer travels down a long and winding path into the heart of the earth to exchange light rods for water with the rats, once human creatures who guard an aquifer, the only fresh water available on earth. Sixteen-year-old Luca, as his son, knows that one day he will take his father's place, but didn't believe it would be so soon. His father doesn't return from his journey and Luca starts to question what he believes to be true. Along with an unlikely group of friends, he retreats underground to make the journey himself to find out what has happened. What he discovers will change everything as he tries to save both worlds. I haven't read much dystopian fiction yet, except mainly the Hunger Games, which I loved, and I find this genre fascinating. I really enjoyed this story and thought the author did a good job of making me sympathize with Luca and really, all of humanity for the type of world they live in. There was a lot of action as someone always seemed to be after Luca and his group and some sadness, but there are also happy moments and ultimately, the story is filled with hope. There's a bit of a spiritual side to the story, which I enjoyed and would have liked to see more of. This is geared toward young adults, but I think any adult would enjoy this if they like unique stories, especially along the lines of the Hunger Games. I received a free ARC copy from Zondervan in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Exceptional. A book that made me think! Finally.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome!
Blooming-with-Books More than 1 year ago
Aquifer By Jonathan Friesen Truth lies just below the surface.... Water is a scarcity in 2250, and for generations one family alone has known the path to the only source of water.  The water lies deep below the surface guarded by a mutated race of beings known as Water Rats. This is Luca's destiny - to become the next Deliverer.  Emotion is forbidden.  Art is illegal.  Freedom is outlawed. Possession of books is unheard of.  And to break the law is to risk being undone! One the day that Luca turns 16, something goes wrong and the role of Deliverer falls on him before he is ready.  The secret that Luca carries in his head is the only hope for a world that depends on the annual negotiations for water.  Having never completed this trip into the unknown except in his mind Luca struggles to control his fears as his world is about to come undone.  With time running out can Luca find the Aquifer before the world above falls into chaos? The world of the Water Rats is something that Luca's father never told him about and nothing prepares him for the unknown world that he is about to enter.  But someone wants the knowledge that Luca guards and they will do anything to get it.  Relying on the help of new acquaintances and a inner Voice Luca is in a race against time and the Amongus to keep the water flowing to the world of the Toppers.  Aquifer is page turning excitement that you won't want to put down.  Not only will you want to re-read it again, but you'll want to share it with all your friends!  Add it to your want to read list today, you won't regret the time you spent reading it. This is not your normal YA fare.  Clean excitement that thrill teens and parents alike! I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher Blink / Zondervan through Z Street Team in exchange for my honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Imagine living in a world without fresh water when you turn on the tap. Imagine living a life of total control, where fear, anger, and love are prohibited; a land where children are “taken, developed, and returned;” a land where books are banned. This is sixteen-year-old Luca’s world in 2250. Author Jonathan Friesen’s YA novel, AQUIFER, explores a world where people are not always who they seem and one misspoken word or action can prove fatal. To have water, the Deliverer goes to the underground Aquifer once a year and trades rods of light with the feared Water Rat people that control the Aquifer. Luca’s father is the Deliverer, and when he does not return from his journey seeking water, Luca must take his place. Not only does Luca worry about his father, he has just turned sixteen and knows nothing about how to even reach the Aquifer, yet he must complete the task of going underground and bringing water to his world or everyone will die. AQUIFER is a story of lies, family secrets, and betrayal. It’s also a story of friendship and learning to trust. Are the Rat people friends or enemies? Are they so different to the people that live aboveground? When Luca meets Talya, a Rat girl, she stirs feelings inside him he’s never before felt. He begins to question what he’s been told his whole life. Is one world better than the other? Both worlds have their problems. Luca soon must make a choice. What he decides could destroy everything and everyone he loves and believes in. The author’s vivid imagery places the reader in the story with Luca and his friends. The darkness of the caves closes around you, and the water threatens to suck you under. You hear the screams of the people, struggling simply to survive. The tenderness of Luca and Talya as they discover first love makes you want life to turn out good for them. But the odds for their happiness are slim. AQUIFER would make a great addition to high school libraries and classrooms for a discussion on our natural resources and what might happen to them someday, if we don‘t conserve them. You’ll also want a copy for your own library, to remember how precious, not only our water is, but truth and friendship, as well. I’m looking forward to continuing Luca’s journey to see what happens to his world. ###
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I would say that this was an okay book.  This was not a book that if I needed to, I could put it down and not sit wondering what would happen next.  At times, yes it did have a quick story line, but overall it seemed to move slowly. What had originally interested me was the fact that this was a "futuristic" book.  It takes place about 240 years from now, and the world has only one source water, the Aquifer.  And the only way to get the water is to exchange light for the water.   It seems like it could be potentially good, but to me the story didn't move fast enough and did not have me invested in the characters enough.  Normally, if I really like a book, I can sit down and read it in a day or two.  This book, took me over a week to read, and it's not even that big.    
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Aquifer: Truth Lies Just Below The Surface by Jonathan Friesen is an unique tale with deception, love, freedom, and faith combined into one package. While I did enjoy this book, it was missing the emotional attachment that is necessary for any truly gripping book. I found myself scanning the pages wondering when it would be over. But over all it was a fairly well written book, with little to no grammatical or spelling errors. Aquifer followed the basic plot of literature and had no monumental plot twist, leaving me hungry for more of an edge of your seat read. I did enjoy the characters and their personalities though. I would recommend this book for someone looking for a quick read or a unique story to do a book report on.
Paperback_Princess More than 1 year ago
Wow, I did not like this book. I will admit that going into this book I wasn't aware that this was a pubbed by a religious publisher, but I also read Doon by the same publisher and didn't dislike it as much as I did this one. There is a difference between a religious book and an overly religious one that beats you over the head with it which this one did. I really thought the concept of this book was going to be interesting, but in the end the follow through was a mess. Luca was this privileged pain in the ass through the entire book. Not only that but while he was supposed to be the prophet and savior, he was so selfish believing that everyone should do things for him. There were a few times that he did try to do something good, but it hardly seemed like his motive to do those things were all his own. This book really beat you over the head with the religious tones. Not just that, but there was instalove out the ass and ugh. Its actually hard to talk about the problems that were in this book. I also hated the totally misogynistic view that this book took towards women. When we were finally introduced to a love interest, she had to listen to everything that he said, and she was hardly entitled to her opinion, and she was so dumb. All in all, this book was an aggravating waste of time, and I wish I had paid better attention to who the publisher was. I will admit that this book is one that was just not for me, but could do it for someone else.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I received a copy of AQUIFER by Jonathan Friesen from Thomas Nelson via BookSneeze. I was thrilled at the chance to read it, as I’d seen the book in Barnes and Noble, and fell in love with it. The cover caught my attention first – you can feel the raised bubbles – and the synopsis stole me away. Water is scarce and those who control it are in charge. It sounded like a great futuristic young adult novel. Then, a friend recommended I read it. She’s obsessed with dystopian stories so she reads a lot of them, but she only tells me about the winners. So, there I was, with a copy of the book in hand. I was gripped from the prologue forward. The action was nonstop, mixed in with mystery, and the characters were riveting. The only downside I found involved the descriptions. At times, I had trouble picturing what was going on. Since this was a whole new “world,” I would have liked to be immersed more. The first part of the story did set the stage well – I must admit, it did drag at times – but I couldn’t picture the setting or the characters, or what exactly they looked like. I recommend this to dystopian fans, and I will definitely look for more of his work.
The_Psychotic_Housewife More than 1 year ago
I enjoy apocalyptic style fiction, and because of the storyline (lack of water in the future), this one caught my attention. This is a young adult book, but adults can enjoy it too. Whether you also find the storyline interesting, or you're just looking for a good book for your teen to read, this one is a great choice. Set in the area where Australia would be today, I enjoyed it a lot.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Aquifer by Janathan Friesen was a pleasant change from the usual distopian novels. This author has great imagination and isn't afraid to write something a little different from the current "top rated books". The life of a deliverer is not all it appears. Generations of one family that goes below once a year to form an agreement to supply water to the "toppers". Above everyone is told lies to keep emotions in check and daily lifestyle uniform. Until one day everything changes and all that has been becomes the biggest wrinkle commited. I thought this was a wonderful story, sometimes confusing but easy to follow for a more advanced reader. Reading this made me want to watch Waterworld, oh how I love that movie! This book is labeled teen fiction but I would put this at more of a college light read. It wasn't inappropriate at all but just has a lot going on. If you are unfamiliar with water systems or government this book would appear more fantasy when realisticly we aren't so far off. All in all, this was enjoyable. I wonderful winter read as it wasn't particularly depressing nor was it making you miss the beach! This book was provided free of charge by booksneeze in exchange for an honest review, everything I have written are my own words and my honest thoughts.
Maria41 More than 1 year ago
Pros:  I enjoy dystopian books, and one reason that made Aquifer jump out at me was its setting, which is Australia.  I think there are enough books written about dystopian America, so it was great for another country to be featured.  The "problem" in the dystopian world of Aquifer was different, too: lack of water.  I liked Luca's characters mainly because he is very brave and eager to do the right thing.  I think he sets a good example for kids reading this book. Cons:  So, was this book an equal to the Hunger Games? No.  Why? Because Aquifer's plot and events were very confusing.  I found myself getting lost, especially at the beginning, as there are flashbacks of past events.  I had to read some sections twice to figure out why the characters were going where they were going.  Also, the book was basically all dialogue, with no background information.  It is told from Luca's perspective, so that may be what limited background info, but I feel like Luca could have revealed a little more past than he did.
VicG More than 1 year ago
Jonathan Friesen in his new book, “Aquifer” published by Blink introduces us to Luca. From the back cover:  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 and art in the name of keeping the peace. And 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, lies, and mysteries that cause him to reevaluate 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. The quest is on.  Luca’s father is missing and now Luca must not only find him but also deal with the subterranean group called the “rats” for another year’s worth of water.    I think this is great Science Fiction.  The theme of society is played out with those above, who need the water, those below, who supply the water and the one person with direct contact with both levels.  Since the link between the two societies is vital why is someone trying to kill Luca and made his father go missing?  Watching the story all play out as Luca has to stay alive, bring the light to the “rats” to ensure there is water for another year and, also, find his father.  ”Aquifer” is full of twists and turns just like the path from the surface down below.  Luca is a warm and likable character and we get engaged in his life.  This is an exciting book, extremely well paced and highly thought provoking. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book for free from Blink through 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: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Erlessard More than 1 year ago
It’s about likeability and I’m not sure this book had it.  AQUIFER’s characters, setting, and plot were both gritty and ugly.  The way the story is told, however, causes the reader to believe the story is much more shallow and unfinished than it actually is. I worry that for some readers, the filled plot holes at the end of the book might be too late to salvage the story.  Without giving away too much of the twist, I can say that the world building is intentionally designed to feel fake.  There’s a layer of world building beneath the one the reader is introduced to in the beginning chapters, yet I don’t know if all the aspects of that world are explained thoroughly enough. My perception of the book was that it has a handle of scenes with striking similarities to THE GIVER (such as the boy learning a dangerous secret when he inherits his new position in society), yet as a whole it delivers quite a different message.  I can’t say that I enjoyed how the story evolved, though it was thoroughly unpredictable from start to finish.  Some of the minor characters felt like plot devices rather than people and it’s a shame than their lack of depth restricted how much the main characters could develop. I’m sure that this will be a book enjoyed by some and not liked by others.  Without giving away the ending, I can’t pinpoint exactly what type of people will love this book.  What I can say is that AQUIFER most certainly ventures outside of what is expected of the YA dystopian genre.
Sarah_UK1 More than 1 year ago
(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.