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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
Sands Rising is a work of thrilling dystopian fiction penned by author H. M. Wilhelmborn and forms the first book in The California Ballot Killings series. Recommended for mature audiences due to its theme, but without graphic content, this exciting and dramatic tale centers on the life and work of Janet Whitaker Virdis, a mother of four whose family and own life hang in balance after weather-related disasters have destroyed large parts of southern California. Working from San Diego, Janet’s mission was to work with a political party that promised to lift California out of its climate crisis, but when the desertification of the land threatens the life of her own children, Janet’s tale becomes less than altruistic.
Part climate fiction, part intense family drama, the pairing of these two genres makes for fantastic reading, with a solid concept and plenty of emotional journeys to follow. Author H. M. Wilhelmborn sets the scene well amid the new and emerging power structures of a California that is returning to the desert in a global crisis where nothing and no one is safe from the ravages of climate change. The attention to detail in Janet's development is stellar, considering every facet of her high-pressure career and family commitments, but also her individual view beyond those roles. This makes her a highly relatable character and offers an on-the-ground perspective from which the story is told, giving the drama high stakes as it moves to its proposed grisly conclusion. Overall, Sands Rising is a highly recommended read as an intelligent dystopian story for the modern age.