I can always read more zombie books and Deathless Divide, the sequel to Dread Nation, is spectacular. It’s got zombies, queer characters, and proves that faced with the end of the world, people will still find ways to be racist.
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.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
I rarely re-read books, but after finishing Deathless Divide my first thought was, “Yes I would dive back into that”. I don’t know what higher praise you need? Deathless Divide not only features these two bad ass black heroines fighting both racism and zombies, but also it turns out that my fave heroines are both queer (and Katherine struggles with anxiety). Besides these amazing characters, Deathless Divide celebrates friendship at the end of the world while also asking questions about revenge.
I cannot even begin to tell you how much it makes me happy that Katherine is aroace, struggles with anxiety, and still loves to wear perfectly ironed dresses. Deadly with blades and guns, I don’t know what else I could have wanted from a heroine. In Deathless Divide the friendship between Katherine and Jane is fragile, newly formed, and Katherine is a steadfast friend. She calls Jane out on her BS, forces her to see her actions, and is loyal till the end. Basically I’m in love with Katherine.
Friendship themes in books are my ultimate favorite and Deathless Divide does it so well. When we’re hurt we can want to push everyone away. To not let warmth into our heart to remind us of our pain. Friends are what keep us from turning cold. Turning us into those without warmth. Jane was just as fierce and sarcastic in Deathless Divide as Dread Nation while undergoing a challenging character growth. There were moments in Jane’s perspective that made me tear up, luckily my feelings were emotionally balanced with Katherine.
Deathless Divide continues to blur the line between the monsters within our walls and those struggling outside. Those who seek to use the end of the world to advance their own means. To parade progress in cleverly packaged deception. The illusions of justice just waiting to be twisted by prejudice and racism into something else entirely. A world where the people we love turn into zombies and white men think they can do whatever they want.
In Deathless Divide we are asked if we will let the past change us. If we will let survival cause us to be cruel. You’ve got to wonder how much hardship, loss, and killing a person can take. How much they can witness the injustices of the world. As someone who often feels like they’re on their last straw, Deathless Divide was a reminder not to let that struggle turn you callous. We can be consumed by loss, driven by a singular goal. That’s why friendship is so essential at the end of the world.