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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  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.  


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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  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.  

30 review for Dustborn

  1. 4 out of 5

    Carrie

    Dustborn by Erin Bowman is a young adult fantasy read that mixes in a lot of different elements. This one is a post apocalyptic with a western feel to it, think along the lines of Mad Max. Along with a sort of western dystopian setting you have a bit of sci fi and some romance making a good mix involved in the story. Delta of Dead River is the main character in this dust covered fantasy world. Delta, her mother and sister live with their pack in a village in the desert. Venturing away is frowned Dustborn by Erin Bowman is a young adult fantasy read that mixes in a lot of different elements. This one is a post apocalyptic with a western feel to it, think along the lines of Mad Max. Along with a sort of western dystopian setting you have a bit of sci fi and some romance making a good mix involved in the story. Delta of Dead River is the main character in this dust covered fantasy world. Delta, her mother and sister live with their pack in a village in the desert. Venturing away is frowned upon as the thick dust encompasses all that surrounds the village but survival here is getting tougher and tougher each day. Delta’s sister however is pregnant and when things don’t go right with the birth Delta sets out to try to save her sister and her child. I was quite taken with what the author created with these characters and setting immediately upon beginning to read this one which is sort of rare with me when it comes to fantasies these days. Most times picking up a chunky fantasy, which this one is over 400 pages, I will find myself bored as the stories seem to drag on instead of progressing any action. Thankfully Dustborn was full of action right from the start with a creative world that kept me focused on just what would come next for Delta and with one event after another with interesting elements all the way through I really enjoyed reading this story. I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley. For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.com/

  2. 4 out of 5

    ♠ Tabi⁷ ♠

    Mad Max . . . The 100 . . . western vibes . . . this author knows which spots to hit me right ALSO LOOK AT THAT COVER IT GIVES ME SO MANY FURY ROAD VIBES AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

  3. 5 out of 5

    fanna

    September 24, 2020: OH, i love mad max so much, i expect a lot from this one ahh

  4. 5 out of 5

    Celia McMahon

    Thank you, NetGalley, Edelweiss, and the publisher for the arc. Yea so, when I was approved for the same book days apart on two different sites, I took that as a sign to read this bad boy ASAP. 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 De Thank you, NetGalley, Edelweiss, and the publisher for the arc. Yea so, when I was approved for the same book days apart on two different sites, I took that as a sign to read this bad boy ASAP. 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 world-building 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.

  5. 4 out of 5

    kaylie

    3.5 Stars ☆ advanced reader copy from edelweiss ☆ This is a wonderful post-apocalyptic standalone and I thoroughly enjoyed it! This is pitched for fans of The 100, and I definitely agree with it. More specifically, season 2 and season 5 of The 100. I loved the unforgiving atmosphere/setting of the story. The title does not lie, it is indeed very dusty. The world is truly harrowing and what's more harrowing is that this future could be plausible. Plotwise, this novel isn't the strongest. It takes t 3.5 Stars ☆ advanced reader copy from edelweiss ☆ This is a wonderful post-apocalyptic standalone and I thoroughly enjoyed it! This is pitched for fans of The 100, and I definitely agree with it. More specifically, season 2 and season 5 of The 100. I loved the unforgiving atmosphere/setting of the story. The title does not lie, it is indeed very dusty. The world is truly harrowing and what's more harrowing is that this future could be plausible. Plotwise, this novel isn't the strongest. It takes to about the half-way mark for the plot to really unfold. Because of this, the book gets off to a "slow" start. Slow in quotations because while there is action, I didn't really care . The stakes weren't there. After the 50% mark, I could not put this book down. The plot twists were incredibly well done and kept me hooked until the end. The BEST part of this book was hands-down the character development. I loved watching Delta grow. Honestly, I could write a whole essay on her character arc and still be in awe of it. Character development is what Erin Bowman does best, and this book is no exception. I am immensely grateful to have gotten a chance to read this ahead of release day. Erin Bowman is one of my favorite authors and she still hasn't let me down. :)

  6. 5 out of 5

    destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]

    AHHHHHH I NEED IT NOW 😍 I loved the Contagion and Vengeance Road duologies SO much!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Melissasfandomworld

    I received an e-arc of this book, thanks to Netgalley and the publisher, in exchange for me leaving an honest review. 3/3,5 stars Dustborn was overall a fun and fast paced read from beginning till end. I really enjoyed everything I’ve read, but I also feel that this is a story that could’ve been developed more on some parts, in my honest opinion, especially seeing it’s a standalone. I remain hopeful that the author decides to venture out more into this world by writing a sequel or maybe a spin-off I received an e-arc of this book, thanks to Netgalley and the publisher, in exchange for me leaving an honest review. 3/3,5 stars Dustborn was overall a fun and fast paced read from beginning till end. I really enjoyed everything I’ve read, but I also feel that this is a story that could’ve been developed more on some parts, in my honest opinion, especially seeing it’s a standalone. I remain hopeful that the author decides to venture out more into this world by writing a sequel or maybe a spin-off sometime in the future, because it has so much more promise and I feel like this was just the tip of the iceberg. I wish for more development on basically every front and it just doesn’t feel finished yet. That having said… The main character reminds me a bit of Rey from Star Wars and I loved that so much. She’s feisty, fierce, brave and loyal; fighting for everything and everyone she loves. The minor characters were a fun addition but again; a lot of characters remained too superficial to my taste and I think it would’ve been better if the book was thicker (and with over 400 pages it's not like it's a slim book, but it does feel that way when looking at how some elements remain a bit underdeveloped) or if it would’ve become a duology or something like that. It now made me not As attached to most characters as I would’ve liked. The dystopian setting is really interesting. Nothing you haven’t seen before, but the author still created a uniquely ‘vibe’ to it all and I loved exploring it all alongside Delta. There’s enough story present to keep you wanting to finish the book, there’s enough action present, a bit of romance and a writing style that makes this book a fast paced read. It was a fun book to read in between, but not one that really stands out to me. That’s not a bad thing perse of course, seeing it was still enjoyable. Conclusion:
It was a fun read, but I do think a lot of elements remain too superficial/underdeveloped and that’s just a shame with a story that has a lot of promise. I think it’s a fun one to pick up if you like dystopian stories that have interesting settings, a set of characters that has much promise, and a fair bit of action and adventure. If the synopsis speaks to you, I’d definitely recommend to give this one a go and find out what you’ll think of it yourself.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Alex (The Scribe Owl)

    See this review and more at my blog, The Scribe Owl Thank you to Edelweiss+ for an ARC in exchange for an honest review! 3.5/5 stars Dustborn is an intense post-apocalyptic rightly marketed to fans of The 100 and other similar dystopian stories. Delta was told to stay hidden ever since a map to paradise was branded on her back at the age of five. And her pack desperately needs paradise. One problem: no one can read the map. One day, Delta returns home from helping her older sister to find her home b See this review and more at my blog, The Scribe Owl Thank you to Edelweiss+ for an ARC in exchange for an honest review! 3.5/5 stars Dustborn is an intense post-apocalyptic rightly marketed to fans of The 100 and other similar dystopian stories. Delta was told to stay hidden ever since a map to paradise was branded on her back at the age of five. And her pack desperately needs paradise. One problem: no one can read the map. One day, Delta returns home from helping her older sister to find her home burned to the ground and her family captured by a man known as "the General." Delta sets out to free her family but quickly learns a tough lesson--no one in the Wastes is to be trusted. I loved the atmosphere of Dustborn. I've read a lot of post-apocalyptic books, but the setting in the near-uninhabitable wasteland is one of my favorites. The world matches the tone of the story, making for a perfectly atmospheric read. The first 50% or so of this book is slow. If it had continued on like that, there is no way that I would have rated it as high as I did in the end. It picked up a little bit past the halfway mark, but a specific plot twist (you'll know if you've read it) around two-thirds of the way through kicked it off to a great finish. The most significant problem I have with this novel was the underdevelopment of the characters. Delta was great, but I feel like we never got the chance to know any of the others. The villain had no motive and all her friends and family were two-dimensional. Dustborn might have been better equipped for a duology because the characters could have more time to develop. I loved all the action, but there was no time for character development moments for anyone other than Delta. All in all, this was a solid dystopian read. I probably won't buy a physical copy, but if you can get it free from your library or online, I'd recommend a read! ----------------------------- Pre-read rating estimate: 3 stars Final rating: 3.5 stars

  9. 4 out of 5

    Emmy Neal

    I really did enjoy this immensely, our main is a slightly more revenge oriented Rey (Star Wars) which was not a bad thing at all, imo. Erin's worldbuilding is a masterclass in raising stakes and layering plot. I really did enjoy this immensely, our main is a slightly more revenge oriented Rey (Star Wars) which was not a bad thing at all, imo. Erin's worldbuilding is a masterclass in raising stakes and layering plot.

  10. 4 out of 5

    megs_bookrack

    ARC received!!! Thank you so much to HMH Teen!!! I have really enjoyed Bowman's work before and I have a feeling this will be more of the same. I think the premise of this sounds incredible. Right up my alley. ARC received!!! Thank you so much to HMH Teen!!! I have really enjoyed Bowman's work before and I have a feeling this will be more of the same. I think the premise of this sounds incredible. Right up my alley.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kal ★ Reader Voracious

    🎉 Happy book birthday, Dustborn! Dustborn is everything I wanted it to be and will be a book I shove lovingly to everyone I know and I'm not even remotely sorry about it. Dustborn is a must-read for fans of Mad Max and and stories of humanity's hopeful perseverance in the face of adversity. Honestly, how am I supposed to review such an amazing book? "The northern sky is alight with ribbons of green and white, dancing and twining above the darkening horizon. A silent storm is coming." 🎉 Happy book birthday, Dustborn! Dustborn is everything I wanted it to be and will be a book I shove lovingly to everyone I know and I'm not even remotely sorry about it. Dustborn is a must-read for fans of Mad Max and and stories of humanity's hopeful perseverance in the face of adversity. Honestly, how am I supposed to review such an amazing book? "The northern sky is alight with ribbons of green and white, dancing and twining above the darkening horizon. A silent storm is coming." Fast-paced and instantly engaging, Dustborn gripped me with its strong and vivid opening that highlights the dangerous postapocalyptic setting. Bowman manages to balance a quick pace with beautifully descriptive language while effortlessly weaving worldbuilding into the narrative. Expertly plotted and paced, the book starts out running and never loses steam. Light on technology so this is a book that'll appeal to a wide audience there isn't a lot of worldbuilding beyond the setting (what happened to this planet), the beliefs of the Wastes (the stories passed down of gods and history), and the dangers of life in the Wastes (if the planet won't kill you, the raiders probably will). "'Someday you too will die, and a new soul will take your place. The cycle continues. Even in these wastelands, where our gods have abandoned us, life will not cease." Don't let the high octane pace fool you: there's plenty of time for the reader to catch their breath. It's a book with high stakes and a lot of death. Dustborn is set in a dangerous world and I was on pins and needles the whole time worrying about the characters (who I loved). Who can we trust?! I don't know but I am anxious about it. Delta has so much love and devotion for her pack, as well as a sense of duty which saddles her with the weight of the world. This coupled with her teenaged impetuous makes for a dogged pursuit of rescuing her loved ones, and I really appreciated her growth. "Do not carry the mistakes of others as though they are your own. Life is hard enough already." Delta and her decision-making captures the impulsive optimism of teenagers not thinking things through; I like that she acts like a teenager, but learns from the mistakes of her impulsiveness to share the burden with those she trusts. So often in YA the world is saved by the impetuousness of teenaged characters, but I appreciate how Bowman remains true to her YA character's actions but also tempers the 'run in guns a-blazin' with the pragmatic and careful planning of others. Delta's dogged and narrow-minded pursuit of her pack isn't begrudged on, it's understood, but the people around her are also point out flaws in her plan and troubleshoot with her. It's a far cry from either ignoring the opinions of teenagers because "they don't know better" or having an entire system fall. "I see now that the wastes turn us brutish and short-sided. All any of us try to do is survive, and that means doing what feels right from moment to moment. I did what I had to. You did the same." I love how the book touches on morality in times of crisis and cultural devastation. How the water gets muddied between right and wrong solely based on whether or not you are the one making the choice and the duality of those choices. Inevitably societies in a postapocalyptic setting will fall towards utilitarianism - good is based on if it will help the majority of people (the greater good), but our characters do grapple with this throughout the text in various scenarios: morality shifts depending on the situation at hand. "'And besides, I don't need kids to live. I don't need to settle down with [redacted] - or anybody - to have my life mean something.'" Can I just say THANK YOU for having representation for women not wanting to have children?! There's nothing wrong with procreating but it's frustrating that it's the default in our society, a desire to not have children is looked at as a defect. More of this, please. Periods are also present and discussed, as well as consent. "I like to believe that we are more than the actions of our past." For those of you who enjoyed Goddess in the Machine but found the linguistics aspect of it challenging or unnecessary, this is a great book for you! So much of this book in setting and tone remind me of Goddess but the narrative isn't bogged down by trying to decipher words in text. There are really only two: plas (plastic) and binos (binoculars), and they are super easy to understand based on the content clues. "Distrusting is how we survive in this world. But to move beyond surviving - to truly live - we need to trust each other." All in all, Dustborn is top tier science fiction and I can't recommend it enough. Bowman crafted a spellbinding story of hope, perseverance, and love for your chosen family (pack) while touching on compelling philosophical themes if you want to think about them. This is one of my favorite books ever and solidifies Erin Bowman's status on my insta-buy list! Content warnings: amputation, animal death (pg. 275-278), blood, death, death during childbirth, forced labor, imprisonment, loss of a parent (on page), memory loss (drugging), murder, underage drinking, violence, war eARC and finished copy provided by the publisher for my honest review. This has not affected my opinion nor the contents of my review. Quotations are from a finished copy and subject to change upon final publication. Blog | Twitter | Instagram

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kendra Cusworth

    3 stars Dustborn is a fast-paced YA post-apocalyptic standalone. The story is unique and fun and has loads of Mad Max vibes. Water is extremely limited and there are dust storms and our protagonists mentions never having seen a tree before. Everyone is hoping to one day find The Verdant, a city said to be a lush and green paradise. In order to one day find their way to this paradise, Delta is branded on her back with a map to The Verdant at a young age. The only problem is that no one knows how t 3 stars Dustborn is a fast-paced YA post-apocalyptic standalone. The story is unique and fun and has loads of Mad Max vibes. Water is extremely limited and there are dust storms and our protagonists mentions never having seen a tree before. Everyone is hoping to one day find The Verdant, a city said to be a lush and green paradise. In order to one day find their way to this paradise, Delta is branded on her back with a map to The Verdant at a young age. The only problem is that no one knows how to read the map. There were parts of this book that I really enjoyed but most of just felt really okay to me. I enjoyed the vibes and the setting of the story. I enjoyed the twist, although i believe it should’ve been given more time to develop. I do think this could’ve been a duology, a second book starting right after the twist, where the author could’ve explored the lore/history of the land and what happened to the earth all those years ago. When we finally learned what happened, it was done too fast and felt a little rushed. There was a part about 65% in where our MC senselessly kills an animal and that really upset me. Animal cruelty in books is just so unnecessary. Overall, it’s a pretty good book and one I would recommend to those interested in post apocalyptic stories. Thank you to NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s book group for the e-arc!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mlpmom (Book Reviewer)

    This was definitely a captivating read in it's almost real feel to it. With the world as crazy as it has been, it is no wonder this book appealed to me right away. A while it did drag at times and the ending left me wanting more to the story it was definitely an original take with unusual ideas and concept. Maybe not my absolute favorite from this author but a good read nonetheless and one that will definitely keep you entertained. *ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This was definitely a captivating read in it's almost real feel to it. With the world as crazy as it has been, it is no wonder this book appealed to me right away. A while it did drag at times and the ending left me wanting more to the story it was definitely an original take with unusual ideas and concept. Maybe not my absolute favorite from this author but a good read nonetheless and one that will definitely keep you entertained. *ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

  14. 4 out of 5

    ChillwithJill

    Well this book was certainly a little how-do-you-do of vengeful post-apocalyptic YA Novels. I was promised Mad Max and I was fed exactly that and more. This is a book that is most certainly going to sweep across the young adult world and take them by storm. Dustborn follows Delta of Dead River; dead being the operating term because everything in this vast landscape has blown away into dust. Delta has just returned from journeying in an attempt to save her sister and sister’s newborn baby’s life. Well this book was certainly a little how-do-you-do of vengeful post-apocalyptic YA Novels. I was promised Mad Max and I was fed exactly that and more. This is a book that is most certainly going to sweep across the young adult world and take them by storm. Dustborn follows Delta of Dead River; dead being the operating term because everything in this vast landscape has blown away into dust. Delta has just returned from journeying in an attempt to save her sister and sister’s newborn baby’s life. When she returns to her home, she’s found that most of her “pack” has been taken hostage by the fascist leader of the land. Armed with her wits, the help of a long-lost friend, and the mysterious brands on her back that may act as a map to greener pastures, Delta embarks on a mission across the wastelands to save everyone she loves. This world is vivid in its description of ruin. From the sand storms that pop up when you least expect them to the crusted salt beds that offer no hope of clean water, the world that Erin Bowman paints is hopeless, helpless, and eerie. I could almost taste the sand in my mouth as Delta ventured through storms, rubbing grit from her eyes as if it were normal. And in this landscape it is. There is no thriving here, just survival. The world is not only built through descriptions of the barrens however; it’s built through small mentions, like dug out cellars that hide you from the worst of the kicked-up rocks, and a refusal to shy away from the nitty gritty of desperate survival attempts. Oftentimes, it feels like YA novels attempt to shield their readers from the realities of starvation and dehydration, but not this one. Delta has grown up doing what she must to survive and that is something that remains prevalent throughout the book. There is no coddling here. The characters presented in the novel were for the most part, interesting and mature, though I do sorely wish the author would have delved a little bit deeper into the psyches and motivations of some of our supporting characters. It did occasionally ride the line between archetypal villains and heroes and I wish it could have erred on the positive side 100% of the time. Delta, as mentioned above, was a take no prisoners protagonist that you love to see. She is cold, but spirited and truly does everything she can for those she loves; even when it seems prudent to let things go. There was certainly no shorting of action in any of the four parts in which the book was split up. Wind-wagons, falcons, hybrid “Old World” guns and new, this book had a wide variety of tools to pull you in. My only real fault of the book is its length. This is a long book and while it never truly falls into the category of “lagging,” I’m almost certain that certain parts could have been shortened without any real pitfalls. But overall, Dustborn everything it was promised to be: wacky, brutal, and an adventure across a dusty, and yet somehow beautiful, world. 4/5

  15. 4 out of 5

    Evie

    3.5/5 stars. - To Be Released in April 2021. Thank you NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Book Group for the opportunity to read and review this ARC. To quickly sum up the premise, Dustborn is Waterworld + Mad Max. Water is limited, dust storms are constant, and the everyone lives with the hope of finding the Verdant - a lush, green, and prosperous area of the earth. Delta of Dead River has been branded with a map to the Verdant on her back as a child and told never to show it to a 3.5/5 stars. - To Be Released in April 2021. Thank you NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Book Group for the opportunity to read and review this ARC. To quickly sum up the premise, Dustborn is Waterworld + Mad Max. Water is limited, dust storms are constant, and the everyone lives with the hope of finding the Verdant - a lush, green, and prosperous area of the earth. Delta of Dead River has been branded with a map to the Verdant on her back as a child and told never to show it to anyone. Dustborn had some excellent moments and an excellent twist, but unfortunately the rest of the novel was just okay. The twist was the best thing about this book, and looking back the author did a great job planting hidden-in-sight clues. Regardless, if you enjoy post-apocalyptic survival books, Mad Max, and/or Waterworld (which I have probably seen way too many times), this book will be right up your alley.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Erin Arkin

    I loved everything about this book! Erin Bowman does such a fantastic job with building out the worlds her characters inhabit and from page one (really...the cover) Delta of Dead River had my attention. A lot happens quickly in this book and I could feel the tension throughout. Delta is our main character and she lives with her mother and sister (along with her pack) in a world where it's thought their Gods will save them from the challenges they face just trying to survive. The character develop I loved everything about this book! Erin Bowman does such a fantastic job with building out the worlds her characters inhabit and from page one (really...the cover) Delta of Dead River had my attention. A lot happens quickly in this book and I could feel the tension throughout. Delta is our main character and she lives with her mother and sister (along with her pack) in a world where it's thought their Gods will save them from the challenges they face just trying to survive. The character development was done well in this story. Not only is there Delta, but we know who her family is and how they balance her out. I also appreciated the backstory of how their pack came to be what they are now because it sets the stage for the introduction of some additional characters and clarity further into the story. I know I'm being vague but I don't want to give anything away here... As the story progresses, we learn what truly happened to the people on the planet and what they have had to do to survive. There is plenty of action and there were some twists and turns that I didn't necessarily see coming so kudos to Bowman for throwing them in and keeping me guessing! I'll definitely be adding a copy of this book to my shelves and can't wait to read more books from Bowman. She knows how to write a great post-apocalyptic tale and get me invested in characters that I don't want to let go of. Consider picking this one up when you can - I promise you won't regret it! Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the copy in exchange for an honest review!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Amber (The Book Bratz)

    I’m a huge Erin Bowman fan so I’m so excited that HMH approved me for an eGalley if DUSTBORN! 😭 Who do I thank for this 😭😭😭🥺🥺🥺🥺

  18. 4 out of 5

    Andria Sedig

    I absolutely LOVED this book. It was action packed with a unique setting and characters that were engaging. I loved how gruesome and unflinching Delta was. I loved learning about the lore and the "world building" of this solar-flair riddled Earth. I loved reading the descriptions of objects that were foreign to Delta and being like, oh that's a pair of binoculars or a bunker. The story was surprising and kept me guessing as I was reading as well. I will say that the one small drawback of this bo I absolutely LOVED this book. It was action packed with a unique setting and characters that were engaging. I loved how gruesome and unflinching Delta was. I loved learning about the lore and the "world building" of this solar-flair riddled Earth. I loved reading the descriptions of objects that were foreign to Delta and being like, oh that's a pair of binoculars or a bunker. The story was surprising and kept me guessing as I was reading as well. I will say that the one small drawback of this book was the length - it wasn't slow but it did feel like it could have been tightened up a little in a couple of places. However, the world building and characters are enough to make up for the length of the book. I also really appreciated that Erin Bowman was not afraid to get into the grittiness and darkness of this apocalyptic setting.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    I loved this book! I thought it was original - not nearly as trope-y as most. The setting was different - almost more of a 1980s version of post-apocalyptic. There was sort of a love triangle, but not really, so yay. And there was a bit of a twist that I wasn't expecting. I also appreciate the fact that it is a stand-alone. The description reminded me a little of the Dust Lands series (which I adored) by Moira Young, but the book itself is actually quite different from that series. I received an I loved this book! I thought it was original - not nearly as trope-y as most. The setting was different - almost more of a 1980s version of post-apocalyptic. There was sort of a love triangle, but not really, so yay. And there was a bit of a twist that I wasn't expecting. I also appreciate the fact that it is a stand-alone. The description reminded me a little of the Dust Lands series (which I adored) by Moira Young, but the book itself is actually quite different from that series. I received an arc from the publisher for an honest review.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Thindbooks

    *this e arc was sent to me by the publisher to give an honest review in return* I really enjoyed reading this book. It was such a fantastic read. It’s about Delta who discovers that her family/pack is kidnapped when she returned from her nieces’s birth. She goes out to find them in the wasteland with the newborn but realized that she can’t trust no one and that she is on her own. This was a really well written book with an amazing plot. I loved the pacing and the world building for this one. The *this e arc was sent to me by the publisher to give an honest review in return* I really enjoyed reading this book. It was such a fantastic read. It’s about Delta who discovers that her family/pack is kidnapped when she returned from her nieces’s birth. She goes out to find them in the wasteland with the newborn but realized that she can’t trust no one and that she is on her own. This was a really well written book with an amazing plot. I loved the pacing and the world building for this one. The world was complex but was very easy to under. I’m a huge fan of dystopian when it comes under the sci fi genre is this is one of my favorites. I enjoyed the characters in this book a lot! Delta is such an amazing fierce and brave character who reminds me of Katniss. She knows how to fight but is also very caring. There were amazing supporting character from the General’s HG and PowderTown. There is also romance in this book which is a friends to enemies to lovers. I enjoyed the slow burn romance with the very small love triangle. This book had a lot of page turners and I was wowed. This was an action packed filled book that made you want to binge read it in one sitting. I had no problems with this book and didn’t even struggle with it. I think a lot of sci fi fans will love this book especially those who are fans of Marie Lu.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Miriam

    Even in these wastelands, where our gods abandoned us, life will not cease. ---- In the desert wastelands of her broken world, Delta and her pack eke out a meager existence on the banks of a dying river beside a dried-up sea. When Delta’s pack is kidnapped by raiders working for an evil apocalypse dictator, Delta must leave her home behind to save the only family she’s ever known. Sooo… YA Mad Max: Fury Road. Which is fine! I really liked Mad Max: Fury Road. Dustborn starts off strong. Delta lives Even in these wastelands, where our gods abandoned us, life will not cease. ---- In the desert wastelands of her broken world, Delta and her pack eke out a meager existence on the banks of a dying river beside a dried-up sea. When Delta’s pack is kidnapped by raiders working for an evil apocalypse dictator, Delta must leave her home behind to save the only family she’s ever known. Sooo… YA Mad Max: Fury Road. Which is fine! I really liked Mad Max: Fury Road. Dustborn starts off strong. Delta lives in a brutal world with no room for weakness. Water, food, and supplies are painfully scarce. The threat of loss looms over all interactions. Half of Delta’s pack was brutally murdered some years before, and Delta is extremely aware that anyone, even friends, can be a threat in the wrong circumstances. Delta is the kind of person who eats someone’s beloved pet bird because hey, we’re hungry. In many ways, Delta reminded me of the protagonist from the Daughter of the Forest-wannabe The Wolf in the Whale. Omat is an Inuit girl living in the far north, not an apocalypse survivor living in a hot desert, but the thrust of it is the same: survival here is really fucking hard and there’s not a lot of room for mushy feelings. The beginning of Dustborn sees Delta sheltering from a dust storm with her family and pack. But things quickly go wrong when her heavily pregnant elder sister goes into labor, necessitating a frantic trip south to the only medical care available. But when Delta returns from her hospital trip, the camp is on fire, several people are dead, and the rest are simply gone. Delta is left in an impossible situation: she is caretaker to her sister’s newborn, who she deeply resents for existing and causing all these problems, has almost no supplies, and must now undertake a journey of great length and difficulty into unknown territory. This is a great plot intro! This is a really interesting world! This is a really intriguing protagonist with unique circumstances and priorities! But things start to lose steam as Delta launches her rescue attempt. Delta meets new characters, but those new characters have some pretty major writing issues. Essentially, Bowman wants to create morally grey characters to inhabit her world, which I support. But instead of writing morally conflicted characters, she’s instead written morally inconsistent characters. We end up with characters that are total asshats one minute, then repentant nice guys the next. That isn’t morally conflicted. It’s moral whiplash. And it’s really hard to like and get invested in characters whose personalities and priorities are all over the place. By far the most interesting relationship is Delta’s relationship with her baby niece. It’s one-sided, sure, but it’s fascinating to watch a cold, pragmatic character like Delta struggle to look after and care for a newborn while warring internally between her anger and frustration at the baby and the innate cuteness and lovability of babies. But (spoilers) the niece gets left behind about a quarter of the way through the book, and the rest of the book is about Delta trying to get back to the baby and the rest of the pack without any further development. Instead, we’re left with Delta trying to make a romance happen with a character who flip-flops between active slave trading and begging Delta not to give up hope in this world, because trust and shit. Which, ew. With such inconsistent characters dragging down the story and the most interesting and dynamic relationship removed from the table, Delta’s journey becomes less and less interesting. By the time the predictable finale sails into view (Delta and co. plan a plan and then execute said plan with pretty much no hitches except a throwaway character predictably sacrificing herself to the plot gods), I’d lost interest. I skimmed the last thirty pages at speed. It’s a shame, because Bowman’s world is pretty cool. There’s a big plot twist about how this world came to be, and it’s a neat plot twist that is both unexpected and totally makes sense in retrospect (i.e. the best kind of plot twist). I wish Dustborn could have maintained the energy of the initial chapters and ironed out its kinks and characters. It could have been something really great.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Tonya S.

    Erin Bowman can paint one hell of a scene. She has a talent for that. Within the first few pages of Dustborn, you can almost feel the crust of salt on your skin, the fine grit of sand, the unrelenting heat. Bowman has the gift of vivid world building, which is especially remarkable in a standalone. Dustborn is the story of Delta of Dead River, and her pack, who are just trying to survive in a wasteland of little food and dwindling water. Two children in each generation are branded with a map, sa Erin Bowman can paint one hell of a scene. She has a talent for that. Within the first few pages of Dustborn, you can almost feel the crust of salt on your skin, the fine grit of sand, the unrelenting heat. Bowman has the gift of vivid world building, which is especially remarkable in a standalone. Dustborn is the story of Delta of Dead River, and her pack, who are just trying to survive in a wasteland of little food and dwindling water. Two children in each generation are branded with a map, said to lead to the last green paradise on earth. Delta herself bears this map on her back, but it's worse than useless to her, because no one knows how to read it, and she suspects it's the reason her pack has been taken by raiders. Delta will stop at nothing to get them back. I really enjoyed this mashup of western/sci-fi/dystopian goodness. Delta was a great character, and I could really see her growth, and how she acquired empathy through her journey. There were some fascinating side characters I would have loved to spend more time with, and I think that time itself was my one real complaint. Bowman has shown an excellence with duologies, and Dustborn would have been another fabulous example. I know that she planned it that way initially, so I still give her kudos for doing so much in so little space. If you like richness of detail, touching character arcs, and a rip-roaring plot, then this dystopian spaghetti western romp should prove right up your alley. I found it fun and fantastical. Thank you to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's and Netgalley for the chance to review this advance copy.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

    So despite the fact that I’ve enjoyed all the books I’ve read by this author, I had fairly low expectations for this book, mostly because I’m not terribly into westerns or dystopians. I ended up absolutely loving it and flying through it! The beginning was tense and exciting, and the world was raw, gritty and dusty. Bowman did such a great job describing the desert wasteland that is the setting that I was starting to get thirsty. Delta was an enjoyable heroine - determined to survive at any cost So despite the fact that I’ve enjoyed all the books I’ve read by this author, I had fairly low expectations for this book, mostly because I’m not terribly into westerns or dystopians. I ended up absolutely loving it and flying through it! The beginning was tense and exciting, and the world was raw, gritty and dusty. Bowman did such a great job describing the desert wasteland that is the setting that I was starting to get thirsty. Delta was an enjoyable heroine - determined to survive at any cost. The villain was beyond scary when he was introduced, but the tension and excitement faded a bit after the first third. It was still a fun read, but the stakes didn’t seem as high. I really liked Reed, but felt kind of meh about the romance and I’m not entirely sure it was necessary. Also - it was a standalone! Everything was wrapped up nicely in one volume, and though the ending was slightly open ended, I was basically satisfied. It’s a gritty, intense book that I absolutely flew through.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    Thanks to the publisher for providing an eARC of Dustborn in exchange for an honest review. Dustborn was good! Honestly the only way I think it could have been improved was if it was longer. There were so many characters I wanted to explore (particularly the antagonist & the two most dominant male characters in Delta's life) and I honestly think this could have been a duology with a whole separate book after the plot twist (if you've read this, you know the part I'm talking about) but I still rea Thanks to the publisher for providing an eARC of Dustborn in exchange for an honest review. Dustborn was good! Honestly the only way I think it could have been improved was if it was longer. There were so many characters I wanted to explore (particularly the antagonist & the two most dominant male characters in Delta's life) and I honestly think this could have been a duology with a whole separate book after the plot twist (if you've read this, you know the part I'm talking about) but I still really enjoyed the book that we got. Dustborn follows enough YA dystopia tropes to make it a comfortable, campy read, but its also unique enough to keep you intrigued until the end. Delta was a fun character to follow even if I wish we got more time to watch her be fleshed out (and honestly more scenes between her and Bay because those were my favourites). She's one of the few YA leading ladies who don't make you go "what are you doing?!?" at some point so I loved her for that.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lindsey

    Dustborn is a young adult post-apocalyptic story where clans scrape for survival in a water-starved world. Delta of Dead River is supposed to hold the key to locating a water-filled paradise that will lead to salvation. Powerful people want to use her for their own ends but she's most concerned with saving her clan at any cost. The secret of paradise isn't actually what anyone had expected. The world itself is probably the shining light of this book; it's well developed and easy to visualize. The Dustborn is a young adult post-apocalyptic story where clans scrape for survival in a water-starved world. Delta of Dead River is supposed to hold the key to locating a water-filled paradise that will lead to salvation. Powerful people want to use her for their own ends but she's most concerned with saving her clan at any cost. The secret of paradise isn't actually what anyone had expected. The world itself is probably the shining light of this book; it's well developed and easy to visualize. The politics are pretty straight-forward. It is kind of run-of-the-mill post apocalyptic with Walking Dead vibes (minus the zombies, plus devastating magnetic geostorms). Plots go in unexpected directions. I wanted more backstory to a lot of the bigger characters, especially the villains. Overall, this is a fun concept with an interesting world but it could use some extra character development to make it truly come together. Still enjoyed it though.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Madeline (The Bookish Mutant)

    Thank you to Edelweiss+ and HMH Books for Young Readers for giving me this eARC in exchange for an honest review! The Goodreads synopsis describes this novel as a mashup of Mad Max and Gunslinger Girl, and even though I’ve never seen/read either of those, I definitely see where the vibe comes from. Dustborn is a tense and twisty dystopian novel, with notes of classic Westerns. First, CAN WE TALK ABOUT HOW PRETTY THIS COVER IS? The color scheme. The art. The typeface. THE REY VIBES. Even though thi Thank you to Edelweiss+ and HMH Books for Young Readers for giving me this eARC in exchange for an honest review! The Goodreads synopsis describes this novel as a mashup of Mad Max and Gunslinger Girl, and even though I’ve never seen/read either of those, I definitely see where the vibe comes from. Dustborn is a tense and twisty dystopian novel, with notes of classic Westerns. First, CAN WE TALK ABOUT HOW PRETTY THIS COVER IS? The color scheme. The art. The typeface. THE REY VIBES. Even though this definitely wasn’t my favorite novel, I wouldn’t say no to a poster of this for my room. Now…[ahem] I should probably talk about the book now, shouldn’t I? Let’s start off with Delta. I wasn’t a huge fan of her character–she was that classic, dystopian teenager who’s been hardened by all of the horrific things she’s seen and done, and has built up this impenetrably tough skin as a result. She’s closed off, and she thinks she knows everything, even though she’s…what, 17? I get it, living as a semi-nomad in a barren wasteland does some nasty stuff to the brain, but it didn’t make for a very likable character. It did, however, make her a nice guinea pig for some well-needed character development. Plus, that kind of character is the perfect kind of character to interact with a baby…because she KNOWS NOTHING ABOUT CHILDREN, AND IT’S HILARIOUS. As far as the other characters went, I wasn’t super attached to any of them. I felt ambivalent about most of them–I didn’t hate anybody, but I didn’t want to die for anybody, either. Delta and Asher’s friends-to-lovers dynamic was cute, even though the romance felt a bit like it was needlessly shoehorned in there to appease the Teenage™️ audience, but it wasn’t egregiously bad, or anything. The plot itself was easily the most enjoyable part of the novel for me. Filled with rich imagery and no shortage of fascinating plot twists, Dustborn definitely kept me guessing in the best ways. Still not my ideal novel, but Bowman is the master of tense sci-fi, where it be in a lifeless wasteland (this one) or on an alien planet with the dangers of a deadly virus (Contagion). I liked the latter better (even though book 2 wasn’t as good), but this was still entertaining. Overall, a bleak dystopia that was lacking in likable characters, but made up for it with its imagery and plot twists. 3 stars!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Angel

    I always love reading a good dystopian and this one is good!! If you live the Divergent series, you have got to read Dustborn! It has a similar but also VERY different storyline that I enjoyed reading and couldn't stop reading! I always love reading a good dystopian and this one is good!! If you live the Divergent series, you have got to read Dustborn! It has a similar but also VERY different storyline that I enjoyed reading and couldn't stop reading!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jackie

    Cinematic and sprawling, this post apocalyptic western serves up everything I hoped it would. 🙌

  29. 5 out of 5

    Alyson Kent

    Action packed, brutal, hopeful, filled with amazing characters, Erin Bowman’s newest never stops from the first page. Thank you, Edelweiss, for the ARC.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jodie "Bookish" Cook

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Book Review Title: Dustborn by Erin Bowman Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia Rating: 3 Stars I haven’t read much by this author before but science fiction mixed with dystopia and a touch of a western caught my attention and I managed to get an ARC for this blog tour. I have seen this particular mix of genres before and I am eager to find out whether it is something I enjoy. We are introduced to Delta of Dead River, her sister and their mother who live on the banks of the Dead River with the rest of t Book Review Title: Dustborn by Erin Bowman Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia Rating: 3 Stars I haven’t read much by this author before but science fiction mixed with dystopia and a touch of a western caught my attention and I managed to get an ARC for this blog tour. I have seen this particular mix of genres before and I am eager to find out whether it is something I enjoy. We are introduced to Delta of Dead River, her sister and their mother who live on the banks of the Dead River with the rest of their pack. It seems that this is a post-apocalyptic world where there seems to be a worldwide drought and the packs are the remaining pockets of humans trying to survive in this new world. Delta is under the impression that the pack should have moved in the winter but they can’t move now because of the heat and the numerous dust storms that happen in the summer months but more than this people are against moving with young children and Delta’s own sister is pregnant. We learn that these people read the stars in order to make decisions and there is something called the Verdant. The Verdant is a map that has been handed down through their pack for generations and when the physical map began to disintegrate they branded it onto a pair of children and the most recent pair were Delta and Asher. However, no one can read the map but that doesn’t mean there aren’t people looking for it as their previous home on Alkali lake was raided after the pack split in two, Asher stayed behind while Delta left and everyone on Alkali lake was killed by the raiders including Asher. As we approach the ¼ mark in the novel, Delta’s sister goes into labour early and something is wrong. They decide that she needs to go to Zuly in another compound for healing and help with the birth and Delta offers to take her sister despite her feelings on her sister’s pregnancy. Delta’s carries her sister through the night to reach Zuly and gives the necessary payment but when she is woken the next morning, Delta learns that her sister died in childbirth but the baby survived. Delta wants to see her sister but her body has already been disposed of and Delta doesn’t want to take the child back but when Zuly threatens to kill the child if she leaves it behind, she decides to take her back with her. Delta makes the journey home with the child who she only calls Baby to learn her home has been raided and almost everyone is dead. She manages to find Old Fang alive and he tells her that some where taken by the raiders and Delta decides to go after them despite having a new born to look after as well. Delta is making good progress when she finds an outpost and someone is there asking for help but this is a trap and she and Baby are captured. It turns out that the boy she saw there is Asher and that he didn’t die but he has been helping their enemy for years as a means of survival but Delta’s feelings are all over the place. They are being taken to the Barrell to be sold, but when they try and separate Delta from the baby who is now being called Bay, she freaks out and fights back where they uncover the brand on her back and she is now being taken to the General. Asher gives Delta instructions on where to meet him if she manages to escape but he isn’t sure she will survive what is to come. Delta is taken to meet the General where he makes a copy of the map on her back and he wants her to read it but Delta can’t and doesn’t know anyone who can. The General shows Delta that her family is ok but she realises they are being drugged with the water and continues to follow Asher’s advice of not drinking anything they give her. The General tells Delta she is going to read the map for him in the next three days or he is going to kill her family and she knows she needs to help them escape as well as get baby Bay from the nursery but there doesn’t seem to be a way for her to do this. As we cross the ¼ mark in the novel, Delta’s three days are up and she is no closer to solving the riddle of the map even with the help of the Oracle whose father helped Asher escape the compound. Delta has learnt that the General has been looking for people who are God touched but in a cruel and sadistic way as these people have a star on the inside of their skulls and he collects these forming a necklace he wears constantly. When Delta tries to stall for time telling the General the map is encoded with language that aren’t from the Old World and she needs time to find them out he kills her mother and tells her that every three days he will kill another member of her pack ending with Bay before he sends her to work in the fields taking her mother’s place. She knows that she won’t be able to get any fresh water but after several days working in the blistering heat she gives in and drinks the drugged water. However, one of the General’s closest advisor, Reed, gives her fresh water and urges her to come clean about the map as no one believes that she doesn’t know how to read it. Eventually Delta learns the only way out is with the dead and sneaks out on the wagon carrying her mother’s body where they are going to be burnt. Luckily for her one of the guards leaves to visit his girlfriend giving Delta the chance to overpower the guard and escape. She ends up killing this guard and taking his horse away from the compound but knows she is leaving behind everyone she loves including Bay to meet with Asher at the tavern he suggested so that she can unravel the mystery of the map in time to save her pack. As we approach the halfway mark in the novel, I was getting interested in the story but it seems to be really slow paced and not a lot has actually happened so I am hoping for something exciting soon especially since this is a standalone novel. Delta manages to meet up with Asher in the tavern like planned but the General has obviously learnt of her escape and is shutting down the Barrell so they don’t have much time to escape. Asher knows the way through the mines thanks to his last escape and Delta trusts him to lead her out which he does. Once they are back in the wastes he tells her their plan should be to go to Powder Town where they might be able to learn the secrets of the map but in order to stay ahead of the General they are going to have to take a more direct and dangerous route. They manage to get close to Powder Town before they General’s army is bearing down on them and they have to pledge serve to the Prime and to work for the Trinity in order to be allowed refuge. Once inside Powder Town they guards are able to turn back the General’s army because of their trade agreement for the black powder for weapons which is made in Powder Town but in order to be allowed to stay they have to plead their case to the Prime and it might be hard for Asher as he has already fled Powder Town once before breaking his agreement with them. They meet with Kara the Prime and Delta pleads her case without explicitly stating she is in possession of the map the General wants and while she is allowed to stay, they won’t offer her any help in solving the map as it puts their trade agreement in danger. However, they want Asher to leave but Delta swears he won’t leave again as he left before to find her and he is also allowed to stay. They get settled in Powder Town where Delta learns that Asher was paired up with a woman for reproduction and she was getting sweet on him despite his obvious chilliness towards the whole situation but it sets Delta on edge for some reason. As we cross into the second half of the novel, things are slowly starting to get more interesting but the main point of the novel is Delta and Asher figuring out what the map means and there has been little progress in that area, so I was getting a little bored. Delta figures out through talking to the Prime that Zuly might be able to read the map and tells Asher that she wants to leave Powder Town and head there immediately since she has learnt from Clay, her sister’s partner that the General has delayed killing her pack in order to lure her back. Asher, however, has been lying to her and he has no intentions of leaving Powder Town again as he won’t be allowed back in but Delta is determined to leave and it seems like they are parting ways again. However, during her escape attempt Delta is caught and banished from Powder Town along with Asher driving a wedge between them as he wanted no part in her plan but since she vouched for him he has to leave too. Now in the wastes with little supplies and what could be an inaccurate map to the Verdant, they have no choice but to press on despite how little Asher wants to be with Delta right now. They eventually come across a settlement that belongs to Harlie, thinking it is abandoned but it isn’t and Delta offers to help her with building her wind wagon, a device to cross the wastes in return for its use to go north together. Delta very quickly solves Harlie’s problem of stopping the wind wagon and they plans to create a brake for it the next day which means very soon, the trio will be heading out into the wastes on a ride or die journey that they might not come back from. I had some issues with how easily Delta solved the riddle of the map as it was too simple and it seems like anyone could have figured it out if they had seen both maps which the General has as Asher was trapped in Bedrock for a while, the same as Delta so it seems like he will figure it out very soon or the Oracle will. As we approach the ¾ mark in the novel, they begin building the wind wagon only to see Reed coming upon their location so Asher hits his falcon, Rune out of the sky breaking her wing. Reed rushes to defend Rune claiming to be there to help Delta despite not knowing what she is doing and having the means to communicate with the General. None of them believe this and Delta kills Rune which is heart-breaking for Reed and he refuses to eat her even when the others do. However, he is able to speak to Delta and explain he got a loadstone like her from a traveller claiming to be their father meaning Reed and Delta are half-siblings and she decides to bring him along even though she doesn’t completely trust him. After making sure the wind wagon works they head out in the wastes hoping to come across the Verdant and they do find the place called Eden which is marked on both Delta and Asher’s maps. However, once they get inside they don’t find anything that is supposed to save them but they all realise that Eden was meant to be a safe haven just not for them. They find video logs of the people that sheltered there and learn of a revolt that took place between the Federation and those criminals working for them with implanted microchips in their brains. However, a Geostorm killed all of their technology and one of the Federation men, David Amory realises that those who had chips implanted in them are losing their memories and he decides to create new ones inventing the story of the gods; Feder and Ation and the myth of the Verdant. This is most heart-breaking for Delta as there is no safe haven and nothing she can trade her pack for. After getting drunk she realises that something about the storms stop the mag-rifles from working but they function fine in normal weather. She comes up with the plan to trade the mag-rifles for her pack before heading back to Powder Town to tell them of the General’s increased strength but she will also give them the design for the wind wagon allowing them to cross the wastes quickly to carry out the plan the Prime has for bringing down the General once and for all. Even though they know this isn’t a permanent solution they hope they can use the General’s water supply for his drugged flowers for survival instead but eventually it is all going to run out. As we cross into the final section of the novel, the group return and begin carrying out their plans after convincing the Prime to go through with it as they appear to have lots of time. They also send Reed back to Bedrock as a spy and to blow up the General’s powder supply when the time comes. Weeks pass and the solar storm grows closer but they are called into action when Reed blows the powder early for some reason and they have no choice but to attack. The group from Powder Town doesn’t have as many teams as it wanted as they hadn’t yet built enough wind wagons but they push on and meet the General’s forces head on. Harlie’s wagon is blown up and Delta believes that Asher has died too since he was on that wagon followed by the Prime getting injured so she rushes in to face the General alone but it turns out that she has Reed watching her back the whole way. Things don’t go to plan when they actually face the General as he uses Reed as a shield and Delta has to shoot through his arm to hit the General and even then he doesn’t go down. It takes Delta cutting his throat to finish him off for good and before Reed passes out he gives her the signal she needs for the General’s forces to stand down and for her to take control of them. Relatively speaking this epic battle is over very quickly and with very little consequences which meant for me as a reader it didn’t really have an impact and while the aftermath and the conclusion of the novel was interesting to see it left me really underwhelmed. For me personally, Dustborn has a lot of potential that it didn’t live up to and with the slow first half and the choppy second half it isn’t something I am likely to return to. It was interesting to read in the moment and it created a dystopian world that hasn’t been seen in a long time as dystopian novels went out of fashion for a while but overall it was a bit of a disappointment.

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