Deathless Divide is the sequel to Dread Nation and therefore this review may contain spoilers for the previous book.

After escaping Summerland, Jane and Katherine are reluctant to place trust in another settlement. With a hungry horde on their heels, the survivors begrudgingly ask for refuge in Nicodemus. There they find old acquaintances and yet more complacency. Is it going to be Summerland all over again?

Jane loved pointing bladed weapons at people. It was part of her charm.

I loved Dread Nation and was excited to find out what happens next to Jane and Katherine. I love the friendship between the two girls, so seemingly unsuitable for one another. In this sequel, Jane must grapple with guilt and grief, and Katherine fears she has lost her friend forever. Jane gets a reputation as a ruthless bounty hunter and I loved the little snippets of exaggerated tales that appeared in the press.

Their journey takes them to California, with the promise of a land free from the worst of the outbreak. The Deathless Divide being the continental divide of mountain ranges, inhospitable to dead and alive alike. San Francisco is run by Chinese settlers and the golden wall keeps out what few zombies roam the countryside. They take care of their dead properly and the mountains provide some protection. It’s as safe as is possible, for now.

That the dead have managed to find their way into a place of such promise is an American tragedy. Nothing remains untouched in this world for long, and it is hard not to fall into despair at the futility of our condition.

I did worry for a bit that it was serving an anti-vax message, but it just about redeemed itself. I can convince myself that untested 19th century vaccines were probably going to be dangerous. The idea that a vaccine is needed is not completely dismissed. What the vaccine plot line reveals is the danger of arrogance.

As always, the story tackles themes of prejudice and the ingrained racism of the white settlers. I thought it took a while to get going but once part two kicked in I was hooked all over again.

How can we make the world a better place if we are always at odds with one another for every single kind of reason under the sun?

ATY: 10. A book that is between 400-600 pages

Goodreads | Amazon | Waterstones | Hive | Wordery | Blackwell’s

Book Source: Purchased