Deathless Divide by Justina Ireland
Dread Nation was a completely surprising read for me in spring 2018 (you can read my review here). A YA novel about the dead rising at Gettysburg and combat schools teaching former slaves how to fight the dead and be bodyguards for wealthy white women. Of course I was intrigued and it did not disappoint!
The sequel, Deathless Divide, managed to surprise me also. The book opens with Jane, Katherine, and Jackson in the aftermath of the Summerland attack but quickly shakes up the direction I thought we were headed.
Jane and crew are on the road headed for Nicodemus, yet another supposedly protected town and there are both losses and reunions in short order. A series of deceptions in Nicodemus leads to a shambler (zombie) attack that separates Jane from Katherine and places Jane on a dark and brutal path.
There’s a time jump that explains what Jane and Katherine have been doing in the interim and suddenly our story becomes a Western set in a zombie apocalypse with both young women haunted by the events at Summerland and Nicodemus.
Jane and Katherine cross paths and team up once again to track the man they hold responsible.
First of all, it’s so hard to review this book without spoilers! I was completely invested in this sequel but I was disappointed that it had trouble finding an even pace. There is so much happening all at once and then a sudden time jump. Readers are given a brief summary of the lost time and placed into an entirely new location and different atmosphere where our MCs conveniently cross paths again. While the book is action packed it also gets stuck at times in Jane’s obsession over particular events and begins to feel repetitive.
Deathless Divide is a worthy sequel to Dread Nation even with its struggles with pacing. I really enjoyed the Western vibe and Jane’s character development. I’d definitely be willing to read more books set in this world.
I recommend this book to fans of Dread Nation or readers who enjoy YA, historical fiction, alternate history, and/or zombies.
Deathless Divide was released on February 4, 2020. Huge thanks to my library for purchasing a copy!