Dustborn by Erin Bowman

Dustborn by Erin Bowman

“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.”

Cecelia Beckman, Sheaf & Ink

The Story

Delta of Dead River’s sister is in need of medical assistance.  With a baby on the way she needs to find a healer and quickly.  As Delta sets off to find help she is forced to make hard choices. One’s that will either cost her and the lives of her pack and family their own lives and their freedom.

My Review: Dustborn

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!

My Thoughts

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.

A Few More Thoughts

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.

One Last Thought

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

RATING: ink blotink blotink blot – Satisfyingly Inked


Author: Erin Bowman

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: April, 2021

Pages: 432

ISBN-10: 0358244439

ISBN-13: 978-0358244431

Audience: 12 and up

Jacket Design: Unknown at this time

Jacket Art: Unknown at this time

You can find Dustborn at HMH books


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Need More Book Recommendations?

Sheaf & Ink has reviewed a number of Young Adult novels in dystopia like Dustborn. Read Dev1at3 and True L1f3 reviews to find your next favorite book and join the conversation. We love hearing from you.



Dev1at3 by Jay Kristoff



True L1f3 by Jay Kristoff



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