Deathless Divide: Just as tense and engaging as its predecessor

Deathless Divide by Justina Ireland science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsDeathless Divide by Justina Ireland science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsDeathless Divide by Justina Ireland

Deathless Divide (2020) is the sequel to Justina Ireland’s 2018 novel Dread Nation, the fresh take on zombies I reviewed previously. Much like its predecessor, Deathless Divide maintains a break-neck pace and an engaging cast of characters from beginning to end.

I enjoyed Deathless Divide just as much as I did Dread Nation. Sometimes you come across a second book that fails to live up to the promises of the first — this book is not one of them. It hits the ground running with the same intensity and ratcheting up of stakes as the first and I was similarly engaged by it all.

Jane McKeene remains an interesting protagonist to root for and her relationships bring a depth to the fast-moving plot that humanizes the whole experience.

Justina Ireland

Justina Ireland

It would be easy, I think, to forget character moments in a book where so much plot happens but Justina Ireland manages to pack as much heart (and heartbreak) in as twists in the plot, which is to say, a whole heck of a lot of both.

Where Deathless Divide has the same strengths as Dread Nation, so it has the same weaknesses. There were a handful of plot points that made me pause for a moment and ask, ‘what?’, but they are few and the pacing left no space to dwell.

There was one missed opportunity that will stick with me — it won’t be a surprise to some when I say it is a missed character opportunity that stuck out to me more than any of the few odd plot choices – but on the whole, it’s a solid book and it doesn’t surprise me that Deathless Divide is a Locus Award finalist.

 

Published in 2020. The sequel to the New York Times bestselling epic Dread Nation is an unforgettable journey of revenge and salvation across a divided America. After the fall of Summerland, Jane McKeene hoped her life would get simpler: Get out of town, stay alive, and head west to California to find her mother. But nothing is easy when you’re a girl trained in putting down the restless dead, and a devastating loss on the road to a protected village called Nicodemus has Jane questioning everything she thought she knew about surviving in 1880s America. What’s more, this safe haven is not what it appears—as Jane discovers when she sees familiar faces from Summerland amid this new society. Caught between mysteries and lies, the undead, and her own inner demons, Jane soon finds herself on a dark path of blood and violence that threatens to consume her. But she won’t be in it alone. Katherine Deveraux never expected to be allied with Jane McKeene. But after the hell she has endured, she knows friends are hard to come by—and that Jane needs her too, whether Jane wants to admit it or not. Watching Jane’s back, however, is more than she bargained for, and when they both reach a breaking point, it’s up to Katherine to keep hope alive—even as she begins to fear that there is no happily-ever-after for girls like her.

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SKYE WALKER, who has been on FanLit’s staff since September 2014 (after a brief time on staff as a YA reviewer in 2007-2008), is from Canada. Their HBA in Anthropology and Communications allowed them to write an Honours paper on podcasting as the modern oral tradition of storytelling: something they will talk about at any and all opportunities. Skye is a communications professional in the non-profit sector. These days their favourite authors include Ursula K Le Guin, Bo Bolander, and Chris Wooding. They can be found on social media @cskyewalker.

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