eARC Review – Dustborn by Erin Bowman


Title: Dustborn

Author: Erin Bowman

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Publication date: April 20th, 2021

432 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

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.


Dustborn is a YA Science Fiction/Fantasy set in a dangerous, barren world. Delta lives with her pack, just fighting to stay alive. When her sister goes into labor, she must trek to the nearest healer to try and save her – and while she is gone her pack is attacked. She returns with her sister’s baby but not her sister, who died in childbirth to find her pack gone. They’ve been taken by the General, who wants to use Delta to find Verdant, a rumored paradise that she has the map to branded on her back.

This book is so gritty and raw, it reminds me a lot of the Illuminae series in a way. Delta is really fighting for her life and the world she is existing in is ruthless and violent. She has to be strong, and hard, and fierce to protect herself, her niece, and her secrets. You can’t trust anyone in this world, but Delta learns to trust and goes through a massive character growth during this stand alone by Erin Bowman.

I don’t have many critiques outside of the pacing being somewhat slow at some points. There is a big twist that I didn’t totally see coming. I did think the battle scenes could’ve been better written – they were confusing and all over the place for me, but this is likely more of a personal preference. Overall I enjoyed this book and absolutely love the cover, so I recommend it for those SciFi fans out there!

Thank you to HMH Books for Young Readers and Netgalley for an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Happy reading, folks!

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