Title: Deathless Divide
Author: Justina Ireland
Performers: Bahni Turpin & Jordan Cobb
Length: 14 hr, 34 min
Series: Dread Nation, Book 2
Publishing Date/Publisher: February 4, 2020 by HarperAudio
Review: Dare I say it, I might like the sequel even better than the first book. Considering how impressed I was by Dread Nation, that is high praise. I really loved the dark direction Jane’s story goes in, and we get to know Katherine on a deeper level. In the first book, I felt giving it an LGBT+ label was a bit of a stretch, but after reading this book I have amended my opinion. The romantic relationships, however, are not the focus of this story, at least not in the way you would expect. It is a story of revenge, justice, friendship and women who kick butt – both dead and alive. I personally loved it and was a little sad to learn that this is a duology, not a trilogy. It did have a satisfying ending though, so I can’t complain too much. It was a very creative combination of science fiction, history, and horror.
I highly recommend that readers listen to it in audiobook format.
Rating: 5 Stars
Title: Dread Nation
Author: Justina Ireland
Performer: Bahni Turpin
Length: 11 hr, 56 min
Series: Dread Nation, Book 1
Publishing Date/Publisher: April 3, 2018 by HarperAudio
Review: This book is fantastic, and I loved every minute of it. Bahni Turpin did an excellent job reading it, and I have come to expect nothing less from her than a stellar performance.
Shortly before finishing this book, I browsed through some of the reviews posted on Goodreads and was surprised to find that there has actually been some controversy regarding this book. After reading through these criticisms, I strongly believe that many people misunderstand the difference between author opinion and writing a story that is true to the era in which it is taking place.
Many people took issue with the fact that people of color are spoken of negatively in this book and did not like the way they were portrayed. I saw words like “colorism” being thrown around because of the way the main character describes herself and other people of color, but it is important to remember that people of this time period had been indoctrinated with a very negative view of people of color. It is not surprising that many people of color internalized this negativity, and it deeply affected the way they viewed themselves and others. This is largely the reason that colorism exists, and I think this book was a powerful commentary on how damaging that type of rhetoric is.
It also confused me that so many people considered this an LGBT+ representative book. Some people consider Jane bisexual, but I think that this is a stretch. I think it can be argued that she is curious, but her strong attraction to men is made apparent throughout the book. I understand that sexuality can fall on a pretty broad and fluid scale, but it does not seem that she considers herself to be particularly attracted to women. It is also stated by reviewers that another central character, Katherine, is asexual, but I think this is also a stretch. She admits that she has not experienced attraction to anyone, however, considering her traumatic upbringing and the near constant barrage of sexual harassment she experiences on a daily basis, I do not find this to be especially surprising. My point in all of this is that this book should not be touted as LGBT+ literature. Perhaps this topic will be explored more deeply in the next book, in which case I may change my mind.
There are so many positive things to say about this book. It features strong female characters who are equally clever and badass. It is a truly original story and the character development is quite good in my opinion. The author even hit me with a twist at the end that I did not see coming at all. I feel good about the ending, and I am so excited for the next book in this series!