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Deathless Divide by Justina Ireland #BookReview

The sequel to Dread Nation is a 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 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.

Deathless Divide by Justina Ireland book cover

Title: Deathless Divide | Author: Justina Ireland | Series: Dread Nation #2 | Publisher: Titan Books | Pub. Date: 4 February 2020 | Pages: 576 | ISBN: 9781789090895 | Genre: Horror| Language: English | Starred Review: Yes | Source: The publisher provided a copy for review consideration

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Deathless Divide Review

‘Deathless Divide’ is the follow up to last year’s ‘Dread Nation’ which I reviewed here recently. Like the first book it’s an exuberant mash up of zombie horror, YA themes, alternative history and racial politics. This time around, author Justina Ireland throws wild west motifs, lesbianism and mad scientists into the mix. The result is just as much fun as that sounds.

The story continues from the first book, with a plot that sees the characters on a quest across the devastated US in search of redemption and revenge. Jane returns and is as cool as ever. Her friend Katherine has a more prominent role than in the first book, with the two young women sharing narrator duties in alternate chapters. It’s a technique that works well, both when Jane and Katherine offer differing takes on the same events, and when their stories diverge.

‘Deathless Divide’ has more of a western feel than the first book, with the long trek to California touching on the gold rush and outlaws. Six-shooters play as much of a part in the action as the various blades of the first book and the result is something that is different enough to keep things interesting.

The scenes of adventure, horror, and peril are hugely entertaining, but what makes this and the first book so great are the progressive themes that Justina Ireland includes. She manages to weave in richly diverse characters and commentary on social injustice without ever seeming preachy or po-faced. ‘Deathless Divide’ has white, black, Asian, Native American and Latinx characters (and just about every possible mix of those races), as well as disabled and LGBTQ+ representation. None of this overwhelms the story. They’re all just people, with their own drives, fears and passions.

If you’ve not read ‘Dread Nation’ you’ll need to pick it up first, and you know that I’m going to say that you should. Justina Ireland’s alternative America is fierce, thrilling, vibrant and full of heart.   

You can find this book at many retailers via clicking on the appropriate link on Goodreads (Buying direct from retailers is a good way to support indie authors); however, in the spirit of supporting literacy programs, we would like to point out that you may be able to purchase this book through BetterWorldBooks.

Published inHorror Book ReviewsStarred Reviews


  1. I really enjoyed Dread Nation and am looking forward to reading this one too.

    • Olly_C

      It’s just as much fun as the first one – a worthy sequel

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