Parched: The Days Before Exile (The Wastelands Book 1) by Anne Joyce Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

In a world torn apart by nuclear war and water barons tightening their grip on the worsening water supplies, two people find themselves confronted with a dark and hidden agenda in the wake of a string of disappearances in author Anne Joyce’s “Parched: The Days Before Exile”, the first book in The Wastelands series.

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The Synopsis

It’s the 2040’s and the world has become a more terrifying place than anyone could’ve foreseen. The country is recovering from a devastating nuclear war that has left much of the earth scourged and uninhabitable. Some billion-dollar corporations took advantage of the destruction by purchasing the rights to water and selling it back to the public at ridiculous prices.

Joshua Wyman and Maria Perez struggle to adapt to this new violent world where muggings and murder over water are a common occurrence. The new water barons assign an army of brutes called “Purifiers” to instill order, but when people start mysteriously vanishing, Joshua and Maria begin to wonder if the Purifiers are behind their disappearance.

When Maria receives a frantic email from a friend in danger, she learns of the water barons’ plans for the “indigents” who can’t afford water. She desperately searches for someone to share her dark secret with who might be able to help. When her information falls into the hands of a violent anarchist group, their beaten down, oppressed city must confront what its inhabitants have long since hinted about, but never dared to whisper. Uprising

The Review

This was such a unique and fun read for me. Coming into this story, I was intrigued as this was the “prequel” to the author’s book “Arid”, which I read and reviewed here before. Getting to return to this world and the characters before the events of that initial book from the author was such a unique and fun experience as a reader and reviewer. The story felt fresh and the mythos behind the water barons and the brutality of the Purifiers has perfectly mirrored in the dystopian atmosphere and haunting tone that the narrative took on as things began to break down at an accelerating rate in this narrative.

The blend of strong character development that really pulled the reader into the emotional element of this narrative along with the very real-world themes that this narrative dealt with made this such a brilliant story. The fight for survival and the desperation that comes in the face of society’s breakdown was palpable on the page, and the exploration of nuclear war, fallout, global warming, and big business controlling much of our society really has never felt more real or scary as it does now, especially in the face of more radical groups rising out in not only our nation but the world armed to the teeth hoping to impose their own way of thinking. The haunting atmosphere comes from the author’s natural ability to tap into the real-world fears we all have in this current climate.

The Verdict

Haunting, gripping, and entertaining, author Anne Joyce’s “Parched: The Days Before Exile” is a must-read narrative in 2022. The dystopian thriller was so engaging and was able to use creativity to highlight the real-world dangers and fears many have around the world today. If you haven’t yet, preorder your own copy of this book today, or grab your own copy on May 2nd, 2022!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Anne Rasico (AKA Anne Joyce) was born in a small town in Indiana you’ve probably never heard of. She composed short stories and comic books as a child to amuse her family and began writing poetry at the age of thirteen.

In 1998 she received an Honorable Mention for Literary Excellence for her poem “She Didn’t Come Home.” She attended business school and made the Dean’s List for three consecutive years, putting her love for writing on the back burner. It wasn’t until her mid-twenties that a political post on social networking rekindled her literary flame that has since become a bonfire.

In 2013 her novella When the Chips Are Down was named a Finalist in the MARSocial Author of the Year Contest. When she is not writing, thinking about writing, or going insane from writing she enjoys camping, fishing, swimming, and otherwise spending time with loved ones. She is mother to three extremely spoiled cats. Crazy cat lady? Probably.

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