Desert Isle Keeper
Deathless Divide is the eagerly anticipated sequel to the bestselling, engrossing Dread Nation. Picking up immediately after the events of the first novel, this story (and therefore this review) contains serious spoilers for that book.
After escaping the fall of Summerland, Jane McKeene, Kate (Katherine) Deveraux and their small band of followers have a simple plan: head to the nearest town and hope they get there before the horde of undead that are hard on their heels.
The town proves to be nothing but trouble when they first arrive. Other survivors from Summerland also fled to nearby Nicodemus and those citizens are demanding that Jane be hanged for murdering Summerland’s sheriff. The sheriff of Nicodemus who arrests Jane for that alleged crime, is Daniel Redfern a man whom Jane and Kate have good reason not to trust. His deputy is Miss Duncan, one of the teachers from Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore, where Jane and Kate trained to fight zombies. It was a place Jane does not remember with fondness and whose instructors she does not put much faith in. The final shocking discovery is that Gideon Carr, a young man whom she’d assumed died in Summerland is comfortably ensconced in Nicodemus and is continuing his dangerous human experimentation with a vaccine to stop the undead virus.
Jane has faith her friends can get her out of prison, but she sees all the same problems in Nicodemus that led to the great catastrophe of Summerland. The kind of fiasco that could see her, Kate and company once more fleeing a rampaging horde of undead with nothing but their wits and a handful of weapons standing between them and certain death. That’s okay – their wits are as sharp as their weapons and together, they can face just about anything life – or death- can throw at them.
Reviewers Shannon Dyer and Maggie Boyd sat down to discuss Deathless Divide and are here to share their thoughts on the novel.
Maggie: I discovered Dread Nation while browsing in a book store and am so very, very glad I picked it up. How did you learn of the series?
Shannon: A good friend of mine read Dread Nation shortly after it came out. She was pretty much hooked from the very beginning, and witnessing her boundless enthusiasm convinced me to give it a try. Once I started reading, I couldn’t put the book down.
Maggie: Jane and Kate are my very favorite types of heroines. They are brave, strong, resourceful and caring. A lot of what makes me love these books is them. What do you think of them?
Shannon: This book wouldn’t be the same without these two strong, resourceful young women. They are exactly the kind of heroines I would have loved reading about in my teen years. They don’t have to sit around and wait for someone else to sweep in and save them, and I loved watching them stand up for their beliefs even in the face of very dangerous opposition.
Maggie: We meet some new characters in this book as well – Louisa and Juliet, Carolina Jones, Sue and Tomas. I thought the author did a nice job of placing them in the story, giving enough detail to take them from caricature to character but never letting them hijack the narrative. What did you think of these new additions?
Shannon: When I first started reading, I worried the large cast of supporting characters would get in the way of my overall enjoyment. I wondered how the author would manage to fill in the details of their various backstories without taking the focus away from Jane and Kate. Fortunately, my worries were completely unfounded. The new characters slipped seamlessly into the novel, enhancing the overall story rather than detracting from it.
Maggie: There was a big twist in the center of the book regarding Jane. I’ll be honest, I expected what happened to occur and that twist was barely a glitch for me.
Shannon: I really didn’t see it coming and I actually gasped out loud when I realized what was happening. I’m generally pretty good at seeing the writing on the wall, so to speak, but not so with Deathless Divide.
Maggie: One of the most fascinating characters in this tale was the villain. He reminded me more than a little of Josef Mengele – deeply interested in science but with no conscience and no concern for the people he was harming in trying to achieve his goal of “saving humanity”. What did you think of him and his purpose?
Shannon: I love complicated villains, so this one was perfect for me. He does a lot of heinous things over the course of the book, and he seems unable to understand why certain people find his actions objectionable. I really enjoyed discovering what made him tick.
Maggie: This is meant to be the last book in the series but while I loved the ending, I would definitely be open to reading more in this universe. Are you satisfied with this being the end or would you like to see more stories in this series?
Shannon: While I loved both Dread Nation and Deathless Divide, I’m glad the author chose to end things the way she did. There’s nothing worse than a series that goes on too long, and I’d hate to see this series go down that path.
Maggie: I love closure, so I guess I wish we had had a more definitive sense of that with the ending. Deathless Divide is a long book, but I found it a fast, riveting read. I’m giving it an A. How about you?
Shannon: I’m also giving it an A. This was just as captivating as the first book in the series, and I never felt like the author was recycling characters and plot points from the previous installment. It gave me everything I was hoping for and then some, and I’m so glad I got the chance to read it.