Author: Erin Bowman
Pub. Date: April 20, 2021
Pub: HMH Books for Young Readers
Genre: YA SF Dystopian
Delta of Dead River sets out to rescue her family from a ruthless dictator rising to power in the Wastes and discovers a secret that will reshape her world in this postapocalyptic Western mashup for fans of Mad Max and Gunslinger Girl.
Delta of Dead River has always been told to hide her back, where a map is branded on her skin to a rumored paradise called the Verdant. In a wasteland plagued by dust squalls, geomagnetic storms, and solar flares, many would kill for it—even if no one can read it. So when raiders sent by a man known as the General attack her village, Delta suspects he is searching for her.
Delta sets out to rescue her family but quickly learns that in the Wastes no one can be trusted—perhaps not even her childhood friend, Asher, who has been missing for nearly a decade. If Delta can trust Asher, she just might decode the map and trade evidence of the Verdant to the General for her family. What Delta doesn’t count on is what waits at the Verdant: a long-forgotten secret that will shake the foundation of her entire world.
This will be a spoiler free review. Thank you so much to Book Terminal Tours and the publisher for the free copy in exchange for an honest review. I’m thrilled to be a part of this tour. I loved this book so much, and I can’t wait for everyone to read it! Make sure you check out the other tour stops – you can click – here – to check them out! And stay tuned for the rest of the tour, and the other amazing posts coming up!
It’s been a while since I’ve read one of Erin’s books, and boy have I been missing out.
I remember reading Taken in one sitting, in preparation for meeting Erin at a writing workshop. I inhaled that book. I desperately need to read her other books – they’re sitting on my shelves. I’m ashamed I haven’t picked them up yet, but clearly, I’ve been missing out.
This new release, Dustborn, is everything, and I mean everything I love about Dystopian novels. If we’re bring back Dystopian as a genre, I am here for it. Give me more SF in YA and I’ll be so incredibly happy.
I loved this book. I inhaled this book. It threw me a curve ball I did not expect but thoroughly and absolutely loved. In all the things that I *thought* could happen, could explain everything, that wasn’t on my list. I was shocked, and then giddy with excitement.
I loved the Mad Max vibe this book had – pure survival dystopian. And I can’t reiterate enough how much I love this genre. I will say that I was a tad concerned at the beginning, because a certain element is introduced, and to be honest, I’m not a fan of it in YA. But with that being said, I loved how Delta’s feelings changed, and instead of a burden, this element became what she fought for.
Delta was a fantastic character. The growth she goes through in this book is incredible. From where she starts out, unbelieving, jaded, judgmental and only wanting those she loves to survive, she finds new purpose. A new reason to live, to carve out a better life. She learns that for how hard life is, it can always be harder. Her love and desire to protect the ones she claims as family is the source of her drive, her conviction.
The last thing she ever expected to find on her journey, was the boy she left behind years ago.
I loved Asher. The way he’s introduced, phew. Talk about getting off on the wrong foot. I want to say he’s the start of Delta’s misfortune, but let’s be real, her misfortune started way earlier than that. He was just a large bump in the road that knocked her for a loop.
But their relationship, how they complement each other’s personalities, is just so good. They’re in high stress, high stakes situations all the time, so their outbursts make sense. They feel realistic. They’re two teenagers, fighting for the people being hurt by those who claimed the power to lord themselves over others. They’re fighting for a chance at surviving, at having a future worth something. They’re bound to make mistakes, let emotions run too hot, and too high.
I loved that even though we only get snippets of their past, their reuniting and subsequent growing feelings don’t feel forced or even insta-love-y. It just feels like the next natural step – like, we’d spent countless of pages watching them grow together, and fall for each other.
I just loved them so much and their journey. Erin did a fantastic job at writing two characters who are just trying to survive in a world that’s seemingly designed to kill them.
And speak of the world – I mention that it had a Mad Max vibe to it. It truly does. It’s a desolate, dust filled planet. There are freak sand storms, and other storms. The atmosphere and terrain feel very wild west. But it also feels wholly unique – especially with the reveal that happens towards the end – the truth that Delta learns. That truth really flipped everything I thought I knew on its head. It made me view the world in a whole new light, and I loved it. Erin created something truly amazing.
I really, really hope that this gets expanded into a series. I loved that this book ended in a satisfying way but left enough open that there could be more. I need there to be more. I’m not ready to say goodbye to these characters, this world. I feel so starved for Dystopian YA, that I just want more from authors who do it so flawlessly.
So, I need y’all to do me a favor.
Pick this book up, buy it, hype the hell out of it. Share it with your friends, family, anyone. I desperately want more, so let’s show up and hype Dustborn up. Erin deserves it, this book deserves it.
About the Author
Erin Bowman is the critically acclaimed author of numerous books for children and teens, including the Taken Trilogy, Vengeance Road, Retribution Rails, the Edgar Award-nominated Contagion duology, The Girl and the Witch’s Garden, and the forthcoming Dustborn. A web designer turned author, Erin has always been invested in telling stories—both visually and with words. Erin lives in New Hampshire with her husband and children.