First of thank you, Lydia and Titan, for sending me a physical copy of Deathless Divide by Justina Ireland. Also, a special thank you for being kind during my mental health blip.
This is my review of the second book in the duology. The first book is called Dread Nation you can check out my review here. If you read my review of book one you know I am majorly crushing on this book.
Taking place directly after the events of Dread Nation, Jane and Katherine find themselves fleeing for their lives from Summerland as they are chased by a hoard of the undead. The story is told in two parts, the first dealing leaving behind Summerland and the journey to Nicodemus, and the events that take place there. As with the first book, Justina digs deeper into her characters, and both Jane and Katherine have a chance to shine here.
If you’ve just come for the zombies, yes, they’re there but you’ll be robbing yourself of a great story if that’s all you want, what will keep you invested in this tale is the fantastic portrayal of female friendship. Which is helped along by dual perspectives work really well. The love and loyalty between friends has been executed well and one of the most interesting parts of the book. At its heart, this book is a story of female friendship, which is a theme I will never become tired of reading.
Just like its predecessor this book also tackled some big questions in nuanced ways that added to the plot rather than bogging it down. I absolutely loved seeing everyone struggling with the same problem. Yes, all the cities, even the ones that look safe, were faced with an overhanging threat of shamblers. But also dealing with racism, sexism and all the other horrible things that keep people not born into privilege down.
The world-building in this book is just as incredible as its predecessor and it was fascinating to see more of this alternate United States. Rarely does a sequel match its predecessor. However, Dread Nation comes pretty close it. This book also needs a huge shout out for its diverse representation: bi character, an asexual character, an amputee character, POC characters (African American, Native American & Mexican descent).
I would highly recommend this to anyone looking for a diverse own voices story by a black author. I also like the universe Justina Ireland created and would be happy to visit it again and again. Justina if you want to give me a little more, I’m ready. Also, I am still obsessed with matte and metallic books.