Sixteen-year-old Luca will one day take his father’s place as the Deliverer. He will make the annual descent into the depths of the earth, following the secret route that only the Deliverer knows. The burden will fall on Luca to negotiate with the “Rats” who guard the aquifer and ensure that water keeps flowing to the surface. He will be the difference between life and death for “Toppers” living in a world where rain is something read about in history books. For now, Luca’s responsibility is to commit the route to memory.
When Luca’s father, Massa, fails to return from his annual duty, Luca is the only one left who knows the route, but that knowledge puts him in danger. The Council of Nine has grown tired of negotiating with the Rats, and they resent their dependence on the Deliverer. They want control of the aquifer. Luca’s only choice is to run, to follow the route he’s memorized and find Massa.
In Aquifer, author Jonathan Friesen takes us on a journey of discovery. Luca struggles with the burden suddenly thrust on him, and we feel his longing to go back to the state of innocence he enjoyed before learning the truth about the aquifer and the Council of Nine. He starts off searching for Massa, expecting his father to fix everything, but being forced into a position of leadership is exactly what Luca needs. He slowly realizes just how capable he is.
There were a few story elements in Aquifer that didn’t make sense (at least not to me), but there were also some moments of great writing, and Friesen scores a few extra points for the Australian setting. Aquifer makes the perfect vacation read. It’ll hold your interest and keep you entertained, but you won’t get so sucked into it that you can’t put it down long enough to take a dip in the pool.
©2013 Kim Vandel