Cover Image: Dustborn


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Dustborn by Erin Bowman gave me everything I was looking for in a Dystopian YA novel! Battles and love interests, death and new life! This book had soo much behind it and I loved every page within!
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A well paced plot meets exciting western adventure with hints of sci-fi and post-apocalypse, the story of Delta of Dead River kept me on my toes throughout. Due to the plot, it's a real page turner and I found it hard to put down.

The world building was my favourite aspect of this novel. In a desert environment with no water but remnants of a world before, the landscaping tells as much of a story as Delta. The sands offer a trial of survival while also showcasing the things that are buried, meant to be uncovered. Giving hints of locations without over describing them also enables the reader's imagination to run wild with how this lifeless landscape might look and the danger Delta finds herself in.

Because, for much of the book, Delta is in a great deal of danger. From the moment she leaves her pack at Dead River to take her sister for medical aid in childbirth, Delta knows the peril both her world and the people in it possess over her. Then, to return with her niece and find her family abducted, Delta must go through much more strife to get them back. As the blurb suggests, the novel does provide on that Mad Max revenge plotting - Delta is quite ruthless at times. While I wouldn't say Delta and the rest of the cast of characters develop greatly, each fulfil a necessary role to progress the story.

Particular highlights for me were the use of technology and repurposing of old tech in a new light; the discussion of familial bonds and whether blood counts for everything; and the pondering upon faith - in gods and ourselves. Bowman does so much to address these concepts seamlessly within dialogue and descriptions that, by the end of the novel, there has been far more to this story than just a revenge plot. That, for me, is what makes this stand out as a novel unlike anything I've read for a long time.

In summary, if you're looking for a bildungsroman / character heavy novel, this isn't the one for you. However, if you want something with high stakes, fast driven plot and some great plot twists, Dustborn certainly fulfils on those aspects.
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*Review will be posted to my blog on 4/5/21*

I Liked:
*When it takes me days to read a book it usually means I’m not into it. This isn’t the case with Dustborn ~ I think I’ve been so immersed in fantasy worlds that coming back to dystopian takes some getting used to, but really I enjoyed how cutthroat and no F’s given is this world that Delta lives in. I would not survive…at all.

*Aesthetic ~ the cover made me request the book! Love how fiery it looks.

*World Building ~ you get a sense right away, life is tough in this world where water is scarce, and dust storms rage often. Think Mad Max, where people live in small groups or packs. I could really feel Delta’s despair from the first chapter when she needs to get her sister some help. From there everything went downhill for Delta. I think it was unique, especially parts where they described how to make water in desperate times and vehicles they use with old tech/parts that they find.

*Characters ~ Delta is strong because she’s had to be in able to survive. The Wastes coddle to no one. Asher is Delta’s friend from long ago and when they meet again, she’s not sure if she can trust him. We meet other characters like the General who runs Bedrock and his people are loyal to him. The General has something Delta has and will do anything to get the information he seeks. Then there is the Prime who runs Powder Town, Delta gets caught in between trying to figure out who to trust in order to free her pack.

*Romance ~ yes…I mean how can romance bloom in a world like this? But something grows between Delta and Asher, not that it takes over the story at all, this one is all about survival and truth.

Random Notes:
*I didn’t totally connect to Delta and Asher, but that’s not a bad thing and seriously…reading this made me feel like I would die on day one without barely any water! Haha, you know how in reality we always say to hydrate? How do you do that when you have to turn your pee into water and you are dehydrated?! Ugh…I’m so grateful to have water right now haha. I was really intrigued by the characters in Powder Town though. Loved that they had a female ruler and soldiers.

*The twist in the end was good, we get to find out more history and what really happened in the early days.

*Triggers: violence, death

Final Thoughts:
If you like dystopian stories set in basically a desert world, then you will enjoy this one. Delta is practically alone in the world and has to save her pack. She has to do the impossible to do it. But when people come along can she trust them to help her reach her goal? Dustborn is a gritty dystopian story filled with adventure, desperation and even a little romance in the desert.
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Thank you, NetGalley, Edelweiss, and the publisher for the arc. 

Yea so, when you've approved for the same book a month apart on two different sites, I took that as a sign to read this bad boy. Erin Bowman has solidified herself as one of my favorites authors, and I was so excited to see what this book had to offer. I was not let down whatsoever.

First, let's focus on the cover. I get Dune/Mad Max/Waterworld vibes and save for Waterworld, I was in like a chicken wing. The story starts off with Delta and her pack, who live in a sand-filled world where their gods have seemingly abandoned them. When her sister falls ill during childbirth, Delta takes her to a healer. But tragedy strikes and Delta finds that the General has attacked her home, killing and kidnapping those she loves. Little does she know, her world is about to get turned upside down when her childhood friend, Asher, appears. is he there to help or hinder her?? Dun, dun, DUNNNNNNN

Ok, the world0building was so epic. I love worlds that have been dried out or frozen over. It gives the book such a depressing vibe that our protagonist has to overcome on top of the main point of the story. The sands are an antagonist in themselves. It sucks to have to save your family but to also dodge vicious storms and bubbling hot lava-type fields, that's another ballgame. 

Delta is a badarse heroine who, along the way, discovers how far she's willing to go for those she loves, and like most YA, she stumbles and enlists the help of others, whether she trusts them fully or not. She knows she cannot go at it alone. 

The plot itself kept me engaged enough to slog through my days, exhausted because I stayed up way too late reading. I have slogged for you, Erin Bowman, but it was worth it one hundred percent. None of the twists was all that mouth-gaping and wide-eyed, but I enjoyed them nonetheless. 

The cover is epic. Did I already say that?

5 stars. Duh.
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Gripping & fast-paced! Dustbin has high stakes, a fascinating and deadly world, and a main character who you're compelled to root for. Will appeal to fans of Ryan Grandin.
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“Grit, perseverance, and a strong will to survive Delta of Dead River from Erin Bowman’s Dustborn will remind readers of the fervor felt for Furiosa in the 2015 Mad Max Fury Road movie.”

I liked Dustborn.

It’s a familiar story.  

A dystopia set in a harsh landscape: a hellish wasteland that feels like something we could be hurling our own future towards.  I couldn’t help compare Dustborn to a favorite movie from 2015 Mad Max Fury Road directed by George Miller.

You have a planet with limited resources, a cult trying to monopolize one of the largest sources of water and agriculture within the area, while also enslaving and abusing people in order to secure its power, and those people living on the outskirts trying to survive.

Dustborn has a western feel to it too.  Where you’re stepping into uncharted territory and wondering if anyone will survive. 

I mean just look at the cover!

With a quick pace, readers will burn through the first half of the book with relative ease.  The chapters baiting and hooking you into the next like the light at the end of a long tunnel. You crave to get to the ending, running as fast as you can to get to and relish in the warm rays after being in the darkness for so long. 

Though, there are a few lulls throughout, those breaks don’t necessarily distract from the meat and marrow of the overall story.

Perhaps the one aspect of the novel I hoped would be avoided was romance.  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE (yep, all caps) a good romance. But the way Bowman sets up her novel it did not feel like it was needed.

Delta of Dead River feels like the teen version of the Furiosa of Mad Max Fury Road.  This fearless wonder woman who has suffered and lost but still manages to believe in something close to hope. Who is going to do her best to try and save humanity especially those who didn’t have a choice in their enslavement where their choices were forcibly taken away.

I don’t think every novel needs a romance pairing.   And I felt that should have been the case in this story.  Delta held her own.  She was calling the shots and didn’t need to entangle herself romantically with anyone during the novel because that wasn’t what makes this story a good one.

And to me, I think Bowman’s success is in that fact.  That Delta is a young woman who can be on a the world stage, defining herself as lead role while being a badass heroine ready to save the world.

What I really craved was a plutonic friendship between Delta and Asher. Because the story is about survival and fighting for a better tomorrow.  Yes, I know love is something worth fighting for, and is championed in many novels , but for this particular book, I personally think that the romantic relationship wasn’t necessary.

With a major plot twist towards the end that I did not expect, followed by dozens of questions I had once that revelation was discovered, I felt Bowman’s story overall was a good one, and that will have readers hopeful to see Dustborn adapted onto the silver screen.

Happy Reading  ̴ Cece
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Dustborn is an intriguing read. It follows the story of Delta, who tries to make sense of her world in a seemingly senseless time. Delta is marked - literally - to 'save' her people, but what form that salvation comes in, is yet to be determined! A very quest filled, action-packed book that has a great storyline filled with many twists and turns that will leave you unsure of who to trust. 

Personally, I found there were a few 'rough patches' where characters could have been more fully developed to connect better to the reader, but it also would have made this a HUGE book - or even a couple of books to do so. For a stand-alone story, it is incredible how much happens and this makes it very hard to put down!
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I really enjoyed the world building in this book. As Delta sees more of the world around her and learns its secrets the reader gets more of a complete history. This is a very dystopian land and there are a lot of shared elements of culture and religion but also each group has some distinct differences. The story also has a lot of twists that were well timed and really keep the reader on their toes. It is really hard to know who to trust and what any character will need to do to survive in this world. Overall I really enjoyed this book.
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This for me was an ok read, it did feel slow in bits and I think possibly not the right audience for it.  

The world the book inhabits certainly was interesting but I did struggle connecting with the characters.
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Erin Bowman NEVER disappoints. This may be a bit different from her past books, but still undeniably her. There is just a quality to her stories that I love. She's an auto-buy author for me.
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The plot was ok. There were some spots I had to for e myself through. The idea was interesting. Characters were intriguing. Wasn’t that bad.
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This was a decent read for me, I did enjoy the overall plot and setting but I had a hard time connecting with the characters. It was good enough that I flew threw it fairly quick!
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I really enjoyed Vengeance Road and Retribution Rails and was very interested in this book. Boy, does Erin Bowman deliver! Exceptional world-building, action, romance, and a great main character who fondly reminded me of another strong female in a dystopian setting (Katniss, anyone?). Overall, I really enjoyed this and didn't want to put it down! This book also has echoes of Mad Max, so if you loved that film - you will really enjoy this!
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Firstly this cover is beautiful and I really wanted to love this book, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case.

The plot and idea should have been incredible but I felt it missed the mark. I think I would have enjoyed this book more if I could fully connect with the characters but I never felt like I truly learnt anything meaningful about any of them, meaning I struggled to like the characters as well as the book.

Some of the book felt extremely rushed and confusing and other things felt like they were way too long. So the idea was great, just wasn’t executed well enough for me.

Thank you to Netgalley and publishers for a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
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Grab your goggles and strap yourself in for a dusty, bumpy, stormy ride 🥽

'Dustborn' tells the story of Delta of Dead River, our straight-talking, knife-weilding herione who is out to save her pack from the clutches of a despot. The world building in this book is fantastic - there are some Mad Max vibes in this dangerous and parched landscape - and it's easy to get immersed in Delta's journey across the wastes. 

I liked the fast pace of this book, the action scenes were well executed and swept me along. There's a little bit of blood and guts, so heads-up if you get squeamish🗡Whilst I love a good archetype, I found that the characters and some of the interpersonal relationships in 'Dustborn' could have been developed a little more. 

Having said that, I still enjoyed this book and would recommend it to readers who are looking for a fresh take on YA dystopian fiction. Also, the cover is 👌 I give it 3.5 stars out of 5.
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Engaging! Fresh! Gripping! This novel is fabulous. Post apocalyptic has become boring in recent years. Something that felt done, with nothing new to offer. Then this book kicks the doors open wide and wakes up the reader. I can not wait to buy this for the school and share it with kids!
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This book was beautiful. The Mandalorian meets Finnikin of the Rock, I absolutely couldn't put it down.

I've read a bunch of Erin Bowman's books recently, and obviously love her writing. There was something special about Dustborn though. It was a full story, all packed into one book. I never grew bored reading, but it wasn't all action. There was so much character focus, and it was all balanced brilliantly. Every story beat hit exactly how and where they should, and it all built to an ending that had me holding my breath with an eagerness to find out how it would all unfold and a dread knowing the story I was enjoying so much was coming to a close.

I really, really loved Dustborn. It's been weeks since I read it and I still find myself thinking about specific moments and scenes. This is a book I can see myself revisiting for years to come. One of those books I know I'll be able to go to for a sense of comfort.
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Dustborn follows a girl named Delta who is “gods touched.” Delta has a map branded on the back of her skin. Her mother had always told her to keep it hidden and to never tell a soul. When Delta’s family is taken by a ruthless dictator who is trying to control all of the Wastes and find the rumored paradise called the Verdant, Delta must find a way to save them.

The story gave me Mad Max vibes, but only in the sense of the world. The Wastes is a giant desert where random wind storms happen and water is scarce. The characters weren’t memorable, but they fit well enough in the world and the situation at hand. The story was fast-paced, and I appreciated the simplicity of the story. 

I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
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Thank you Netgalley for this ARC in exchange for my honest review.

In this ya dystopian Delta is branded. Ever since she was young, she has always been told to keep her back hidden. And when her family is kidnapped by a dictator who rules over the waste Delta will risk everything to get them back.

I love Erin Bowman, she is a very talented writer. This book is good but I didn't love it. It's fast paced, but it also feels lacking. Like there should have been more. The cover is also lovely!
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If you are like me and have been searching for a good sci-fi/dystopian read, just needing a little chaos to break up the monotony of COVID-19 quarantines, then Dustborn will hit the spot! It is so reminiscent of the movies Mad Max and Waterworld, creating that sense of nostalgia of when we could go outside without a mask, but is so entertaining all on its own. Some people may not like the similarities to these films, but I, personally, really enjoyed the story and its characters.

Delta is a teenage girl living on the edge of Dead River in a post-apocalyptic world that is one continuous desert. Water is hard to come by, and family is all anyone can count on. When she is sent to bring her pregnant sister to another colony to see a healer, her pack is attacked and either killed or enslaved by the mysterious man they call the General. Delta is not one to take this lightly, and sets out to find her pack and kill anyone who gets in her way.

Erin Bowman truly achieved a great thing with Dustborn. The story is familiar, but also told in such a way that it stands all on its own. I really enjoyed Delta and Asher's character development, and the detail Bowman put into building this world without it bogging down the pace of the book. I highly recommend Dustborn to anyone who enjoys dystopian and post-apocalyptic books, or are a fan of the Mad Max movies.
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