Title: Deathless Divide
Series: Dread Nation #2
Author: Justina Ireland
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Published: February 4th, 2020 (Balzer + Bray)
Synopsis: 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 Nicodermus has Jane questioning everything she thought she knew about surviving in 1880’s 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.
Thank you to the publisher, Balzer & Bray, and Edelweiss for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Deathless Divide finds our characters fleeing the now overrun town of Summerland in search of safety to Nicodemus, another nearby town which is supposedly free of the inequality and discrimination that plagued Summerland. But Nicodemus has problems of its own, not counting those that have followed them from Summerland, and the horde is slowly, but surely making its way there as well.
It was really interesting to see more of this alternate world where the zombie outbreak effectively halted the American Civil War as Deathless Divide takes us out west to California, which is rumoured to be a paradise which the hordes have yet to breach. The alternating POVs were a nice addition, and it was great to see Katherine’s side of things as well. Jane and Katherine’s unlikely friendship is really put to the test here, especially after a crushing loss that leaves Jane shaken.
I really enjoyed the trek out of Summerland and the events in Nicodemus, but from there onwards, not so much. I found Katherine’s arc to be rather boring once she and Jane went separate ways. I wasn’t all that fond of the time skip either, since it felt like the story was just being dragged along in an unnecessary direction and that’s not even getting into how out of character Jane was acting. I have to say though, the villain in this book was certainly not who I was expecting it to be – and also a little underwhelming, mostly because it took far too long to get to the final showdown, so to speak, and I was ready for it to be over by then.
The ending did feel a little abrupt, and I’m quite skeptical that Haven was all it was pitched as, especially after the nightmares that Summerland and Nicodemus turned out to be. Overall, an exciting sequel, especially considering it managed to live up to the very high standards set by Dread Nation. This series has done a lot to restore my faith in the zombie theme, and I hope this isn’t the end of the story. There’s still so many questions that can be answered – the possibility of the cure being made available, if it will stop America from falling to the undead and most importantly, how the plague started in the first place. If you enjoyed Dread Nation, I would highly recommend this action packed sequel!
Deathless Divide releases on February 4th, 2020.
Do you plan to read this book? Let me know in the comments below!
Other reviews in this series:
Book 1: Dread Nation