Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-07-22
- Reviewer: Staff
Friesen (Aldo's Fantastical Movie Palace) has constructed a future world where fresh water has become exceedingly scarce. Luca is the sixteen-year-old successor to his father, a Deliverer, who makes an annual journey to the underground Rats who control the largest fresh water source: the Aquifer. Luca struggles with daily existence and also with his emotions; emotional expression is punishable by the formidable Amongus, a kind of thought police run by the Council of Nine who rule the Toppers, the people of the surface. When Luca's father does not return from his journey below, the Amongus hunt Luca, so he flees underground for refuge. There he discovers a massive conspiracy that challenges him to reconsider what he thought was true about the world, his identity, and his purpose. Friesen's world is a morally gray one that fleshes out the motivations and struggles of his characters but gives no easy answers for his readers. Though the magnitude of his philosophical questions sometimes feel bigger than the story, Friesen nonetheless offers an entertaining framework for teenage readers to start asking serious questions about emotional responsibility, acting on faith and intuition, the potential blindness of good intentions, and the nature of freedom. (Aug. 6)