Review: Dustborn by Erin Bowman

Posted by Jessi (Geo) on June 14, 2021 | 0 Comments

Review: Dustborn by Erin BowmanDustborn by Erin Bowman
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers (4.20.2021)
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover, 432 pages
Source: Library

4.5 Stars

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.

My thoughts

I was born of this dust, and I am never going to escape it.

This is the book I’ve been waiting for and didn’t even know it! In the sea of 3 star books I’ve read in the past few months, it was refreshing to read something that sucked me in, and I needed that. The cover and synopsis drew me in when I first heard about this one, but I wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy it because Bowman’s books have been hit or miss for me. Contagion was good, Taken was okay, and I didn’t like Vengeance Road. But this one surprised me!

I was hooked from the very beginning. It felt a lot like Blood Red Road paired with a reverse Waterworld. It was awesome! I absolutely LOVED the post-apocalyptic dust world, it was fantastic! The pacing was fast and the story was compelling, and I found myself gobbling this book up. I flew through the first half of it in one sitting – I was super bummed because I had to put it down to sleep! I easily could have finished it all in one chunk if it weren’t for adulting. (Stupid adulting!!)

I also appreciated that there were a few surprises along the way! View Spoiler »

It will always hurt to lose the people we love, so we might as well love them fiercely with whatever time we’re given.

Delta was a great lead. It’s been a while since I’ve actually connected a main character. She was fierce and stubborn and easy to relate to. I also love the parallel to the “grumpy old person gets strapped with kid” trope – Delta gets stuck with her baby niece even though she doesn’t want to be. I enjoyed the blossoming of their relationship and how Delta slowly warmed to Bay. Actually, I enjoyed all of the relationships except the romance – I loved the sense of found family that this book had going for it. The only character I didn’t care much for was Asher. He was a bit bland, and because of that, I wasn’t particularly interested in the romance. I liked Reed, I loved Harlie, and some of the other side characters were cool, too. The General was okay – I wish he’d been more fleshed out, though, especially since he was the main villain. He only appears a couple times, and I never really got a feel for him. I felt like there wasn’t much to him at all.

I have a couple of minor complaints that kept this book from being 5 stars for me. The main one is a glaring plot hole that really bugged me. View Spoiler » The second is that I got just a little bored when Delta first got to Powder Town. That was my least favorite part of the book. The third is very small indeed, but something that always catches my eye and distracts me from the story: A misspelling. Two, actually. In one conversation, when they’re talking of infiltrating Bedrock (The General’s city), the term ‘breach’ is spelled as ‘breech.’ TWICE. The first time, I thought it was just a typo, but the second time made it even worse. Here’s the context:

“[…] there is still the issue of his dam wall – breeching it, accessing Bedrock itself…”
“The blast barrels will breech the wall.”

That is definitely not how it should be spelled in this context, but ok. BUT then, on the very next page, it was used correctly!! (“[…] but I believe they will breach the wall.”) Shame on the editing team for not picking that up. Like I said, it’s a small issue yes, but one that drives me absolutely bonkers.

However, all in all this was an engrossing and unique read and I highly recommend!

Overall Assessment

Plot: 4.5/5
Premise: 5/5
Writing style: 4/5
Originality: 4.5/5
Characters: 4/5
World-building: 4/5
Pace: 4.5/5
Feels: 4/5
Cover: 4.5/5
Overall rating: 4.5/5

Jessi (Geo)

Posted in: Book Reviews | Tags: , , , , ,

Subscribe to Novel Heartbeat to get more posts like this!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.