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Thursday, May 30, 2019

Book Review: Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

Dread Nation (Dread Nation #1) by Justina Ireland
Genre: Young Adult (Historical Fiction w/Zombies)
Date Published:  April 3, 2018
Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville—derailing the War Between the States and changing America forever. In this new nation, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Reeducation Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. But there are also opportunities—and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It’s a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations.

But that’s not a life Jane wants. Almost finished with her education at Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore, Jane is set on returning to her Kentucky home and doesn’t pay much mind to the politics of the eastern cities, with their talk of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose. But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies. And the restless dead, it would seem, are the least of her problems.  

Dread Nation is the first book in the Dread Nation series by Justina Ireland. The story itself was ok. I was expecting more from it. We heard a lot from Jane's inner voice, and while I enjoyed her character's spunk and personality, I didn't want to know her every thought and memory, especially if it had nothing to do with the story as a whole. So, I found my mind wondering quite a bit. I enjoyed her as a character though, and Katherine grew on me quite a bit too. They were a good team. They had kind of a good cop/bad cop thing going on. They were entertaining.

Though the dead rose up during the Battle of Gettysburg and slavery is supposed to be abolished.. it isn't. Not really. The terms have just been changed. I felt like this book paints an accurate and disturbing picture of the dehumanizing of African Americans during this time period. Forget the zombies. Zombies are easy. Those other parts though? They were painful, because you know this is how people really thought. 

The zombies... were zombies. I think they may be changing a bit. Maybe. Hopefully, we'll see that in the next book.

Will I read the next book? I'm still on the fence about that, because I was really hoping the story would keep my attention more than it did.


Justina Ireland is the author of Dread Nation (Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins), a New York Times bestseller in hardcover young adult fiction, the middle-grade novel Star Wars, Flight of the Falcon: Lando’s Luck (Lucasfilm Books), the fantasy young adult novels Vengeance Bound and Promise of Shadows (both Simon and Schuster), and Scream Site(Capstone Editions), a middle-grade thriller.

To learn more about Justina Ireland and her books, visit her website.You can also find her on Goodreads and Twitter.

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