Deathless Divide (Dread Nation #2) by Justina Ireland #bookreview #YA #historical

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.

I listened to the first book in this series about eighteen months ago, and when my book club requirement was to read a YA historical novel, I decided it was a perfect time to listen to the sequel.  Yes, zombies aren’t really part of history, but the book is categorized as US Civil War Period Historical Fiction – so that works for me.

With Bahni Turpin being such a fantastic narrator of the first book, Dread Nation, I was thrilled she returned for the sequel.  Jane is just as snarky as ever, which I totally enjoy, and she’s still killing shamblers (zombies).  Alternating POVs between Jane and Katherine allow the reader to gain better insight into Katherine’s character this go around, and she nearly steals some scenes.  The unlikely friendship between them is one of the highlights of the story for me.  Separated for a portion of the book, each endures trials and tribulations of their own before reunited to search for their safe haven and Jane’s mother.

At over 500 pages (14.5 hour audiobook), this is a long read, and I struggled with pacing in the middle.  Jane is on a mission, with good reason, but her obsession ventures into repetitive territory.  Once past that, the ending moves along pretty quickly and delivers a satisfying conclusion fitting for these characters.

If you’re a zombie fan, I recommend reading this duology that offers a different take on the genre in a historical setting.

18 thoughts on “Deathless Divide (Dread Nation #2) by Justina Ireland #bookreview #YA #historical

  1. The cover caught my eye immediately, Teri. The book sounds like an interesting mash-up of historical fiction and paranormal. I don’t think I’ve ever read a zombie book before. Lol. But what appealed to me most was the way your described the relationship between Katherine and Jane. Thanks for the recommendation. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve read my share of zombie books, Diana, but this one stands apart from the rest. I loved the friendship between Jane and Katherine – Jane is very blunt and snarky, Katherine prim and proper, but their relationship is a good balance for both.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sophie @BewareOfTheReader

    Great reviews Teri! And I have noticed that for big books, the pacing is often slower in the middle. I am not a fan of zombie stories though 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m trying my best to get you to delve into horror, Sophie, lol. This one got a little repetitive for me, but overall, it was a fantastic series and a different take on zombies. Thanks!


  3. Historical zombies? Hmm. I don’t know how I feel about that. I tried to watch Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and couldn’t get through it. But there were some great horror books than came from long ago; no reason monsters couldn’t be around back then. So, I can suspend my disbelief, I guess. Shame about the messy middle, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I saw that movie, but couldn’t really get into it – and I’m a zombie fan. Maybe it was something about it being Abe. You’re right about the possibility of monsters being around back then, Staci – maybe they were just edited out of the history books, lol.

      Liked by 1 person

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