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.
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.