Thank you so much to Terminal Tours and HMH Teen for having me as a part of the Dustborn Tour! I loved the other Erin Bowman books that I read (Contagion and Immunity) and I own Vengeance Road and Retribution Rails, so they’re definitely on my list to read really soon (as soon as I get a break from all of the library books and ARC that I’ve committed to… I probably need to reduce my commitments some…). I love Erin Bowman’s writing style so I was sure I was going to like Dustborn and I definitely wasn’t disappointed! Dustborn came out on April 20, so make sure you go grab it now!
Dustborn 4/5 Stars
Summary from Goodreads:
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.
First off, let’s talk about how gorgeous the cover for Dustborn is. I love all of the oranges and and blacks and the underlying blue shadows and the highlights of blue and the blue on the spine. It all comes together into a striking cover and dust jacket that really captures the essence of the setting of this book. And now, let’s talk about that setting- I’ve read a lot of postapocalyptic books and what I liked most about this world was that even without the map that was provided (which, let’s be real, was an incredible map), you could really picture where everything was and how it looked. I especially liked how Bowman described the Barrel as thin and narrow, like it was the barrel of a rifle. I really liked Delta and how she stuck to her beliefs no matter who questioned her or how hard things got. I also liked how she was able to reconnect with Asher and even though she didn’t trust him at first, they were able to work together. The secrets held at the Verdant were definitely not what I expected, but I really liked the way that Delta was able to take that information and use it to make allies to work towards what she wanted. She showed a lot of resilience and that was super cool. Pacing wise, the first half was a lot slower than the second half, which is why Dustborn was a 4 star instead of a 5, but I still think that it’s and incredible read and I highly recommend it to anyone. You won’t be disappointed while reading Delta’s story!
Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:
“Like always, there’s no good answer.” (Pg 8)
“Trust no one. The rule of the wastes, the law of the land, our guiding order since Alkali Lake.” (Pg 16)
“I’m so sick of the stars and blind faith.” (Pg 30)
“‘Life is cruel, Delta. It is a cruel, ceaseless cycle, but it is the way of things.’” (Pg 31)
“‘The gods will only return if we are loyal, Delta. Be loyal to the cause. Tell me what it says!’” (Pg 93)
“‘I’m the delta and you’re the bay. I lead to you. You depend on me. We’re a team, and I’m not gonna let anything change that. Understand?’” (Pg 132)
“Whatever’s in the water isn’t merely numbing the General’s workforce, it’s chipping away at their minds, their memories, their very souls.” (Pg 136)
“Our gods deserted us and so we started looking for hope in one another, choosing names that remind us of what we’ve lost, hopeful that a loved one with that name might make us feel closer to what we so desperately need.” (Page 228)
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. You can visit her online at embowman.com, on twitter @erin_bowman, or on instagram @heyerin.