Book Reviews

Deathless Divide by Justina Ireland


The survivalist “utopia” of Summerland fell to a horde. Jane McKeene and Katherine Deveraux, along with six other survivors, escaped the death and destruction with one immediate goal: to get somewhere safe. But where can safety be found in a world where the dead walk the earth? For Jane, wherever they go is just a stop along the way. Now that she knows where her mother is, she plans to find her. Plans tend to go awry, however, and the small group of survivors will face calamities resulting in devastating losses that test the bonds of friendship—leaving one combatant questioning everything she thought she knew about the world,  and struggling to find her place within it.

Deathless Divide is a magnificent follow-up to Dread Nation. I had great expectations for this book, and high hopes for where the story might lead. Even so, my wildest imaginings weren’t sufficient in preparing me for what actually happened, and that turned out to be a very good thing.

As noted in the book summary, their first stop is Nicodemus, described in the book as “a Negro settlement founded by Freedman and runaways from the Five Civilized Tribes.” Several familiar characters reappear in Nicodemus, but there is little time for readers to get reacquainted with them before the first bit of trouble strikes.

The story is told in two parts, the first dealing with the journey to Nicodemus, and the events that take place there. This is the setting for THE most unexpected twist of the story. While it wasn’t unique for a zombie apocalypse story, the way it was handled left me reeling in shock and feeling completely devastated. And that was it… just like that, I knew what was going to happen next.

Except, I didn’t.

The story took a major turn from there, leading in directions I would never have guessed it would go. My imagination spun with all the possibilities, and I went into the second half of the story with an even greater sense of excitement.

I won’t mention anything beyond what I’ve already stated or alluded to above. Let’s just say that the journey taken in this novel was more intense than I expected it to be, and veered off into directions I wouldn’t have expected it to. New characters are introduced, and many of them were every bit as intriguing to me, in their own ways, as Jane and Katherine. The ultimate payoff I expected when I began reading didn’t materialize in quite the way I thought it would, but it was just as compelling to read… if not more so.

The ending of Deathless Divide leaves open the possibility of a third book in the series, something I hope will come to fruition. While I’m completely satisfied with the way the story ended, there is clearly more to be told in this story—and I, for one, can’t wait to find out what happens next. If there is a next. (Please, let there be a next… I want to know more!)

Highly recommended for readers who enjoy reading a mixture of young adult historical fiction with a big slice of horror (courtesy of a zombie apocalypse). With strong characters who face seemingly insurmountable odds at every turn (from both the living and the dead), this book will leave you on the edge of your seat in breathless anticipation—and dread—of what will happen next.

Click here to read an exclusive excerpt of Deathless Divide by Justina Ireland.

Purchase Links

I received an advance reading copy of this book courtesy of Balzar+Bray via Edelweiss.

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Author: Justina Ireland
Title: Deathless Divide
Series: Dread Nation #2
Genre: Historical Fiction, Young Adult, Horror
Publication Date: February 4, 2020 by Balzer+Bray
Rating: 5 stars

Books in this series:

About the Book

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.

About the Author

JUSTINA IRELAND is the author of Dread Nation, Deathless Divide, Vengeance Bound, Promise of Shadows, and the Star Wars novel Lando’s Luck. She enjoys dark chocolate and dark humor and is not too proud to admit that she’s still afraid of the dark. She lives with her husband, kid, and dog in Pennsylvania. You can visit her online at

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