With the growing popularity of dystopic literature for young adults, authors must find a fresh perspective to make their work stand out. Aquifer by Jonathan Friesen has a government that maintains its power not through subtle mindwashing or social planning, but by control of the world’s remaining freshwater supply. Given the rising concern about water supplies—even in America, farms and urban areas dispute water supplies, especially in the barren Southwest—the scenario seems closer to reality than some of the elaborate systems in other dystopias.
However, the water restrictions are minimalized in the novel. If only one freshwater aquifer remains, why aren’t countries attempting desalinization? How is it piped across the world? And how much water are people allowed to use? Wouldn’t the world be on some sort of rationing system? The author did mention water pirates, but there was no indication that people were suffering from lack of water.
In addition, the “dials” that each member wore felt unnecessary. While most fictional dystopias restrict emotion, such a restriction didn’t fit with this government. The author seemed uncertain about the mechanics of his dystopia—while harsh, rules-bound societies are the genre norm, this book would have worked better if citizens were permitted an illusion of freedom.
Fans of dystopian literature will probably enjoy this book, though other readers might be bored.
I received a free copy of this book from Thomas Nelson’s Booksneeze program in exchange for a free review.