Monday, April 9, 2018

Review: Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

Dread Nation (Dread Nation, #1)Title: Dread Nation
Author:  Justina Ireland
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Publishing Date:  April 3rd, 2018
Pages: 464
Genre: YA Historical Horror
Series:  Dread Nation #1
Source:  Audio
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.

This book had me so super excited. Historical fiction, alternate history, zombies, yup everything I needed in a read. I was super excited. So I got the ARC but didn't end up getting to it and when I saw it coming out on Audio I figured I would love to listen instead of reading. So I grabbed it on audio. Kind of glad I did. The audio was pretty good and I really enjoyed listening to it. There were times the book slowed a bit and I think it would have taken me longer to get through it by reading the book. Anyways. Loved the read. It was good. Very good. 
This is an alternate history of the Civil War. The Civil War was ended in truce due to the dead rising up and eating everyone. So now the North and the South are fighting together against the dead. Well, really they found it much easier to use the freed slaves to learn and kill the zombies for them. Jane is biracial,  but she doesn't look white at all so she has been forced well kind of forced to train to kill the zombies. She doesn't really mind. She is good at it. But she does dream of going home again and seeing her mother and her friends and extended family. Once her letters stop coming from her mother she starts to get worried but not as worried as being kidnapped and taken out west to live in a community that is far worse than she has ever seen. Something isn't right here and she intends to find out what. She and some new and old friends find that there is a lot wrong with this community. 

I really enjoyed this book. It was full of feels and thoughts and angry moments and happy moments and angry moments. The angry needed to be stated twice. The book focuses more on Jane and the way Jane sees the world. All that is wrong in the world she lives in, and less on the zombies than one would think. Of course, I find most zombie books are less about the zombies and more about the world that exists with the zombies and the people that have to live there. The racism and the struggle of everyone who is not white really during this time. This is what the book is about. 

Jane is a wonderful character. All she has seen, lived through, and continues to struggle with, she is still a very happy girl. She lives in a very prejudice world. I mean everyone feels that the black and Native American people are easily replaced and their lives mean nothing. But Jane, she just prefers to try to find the good in everything. She is kind of a delight but also hard headed and brave and very intelligent and strong. She is very independent. Her mother and the servants at her mother's house really raised her well. I just loved her and really wanted more story of her and those she lived with. 

All the main characters I just adored. Katherine is a delight even though she is a little snooty. She really cares about being a lady and being treated well but she also doesn't know she is worth and can do so much more. I love the friendship that develops between her and Jane. 

There a few boys in this book too but not much romance. I feel the next book will have much more romance and I really hope to see that. I think there is a chance of a love triangle but I am not sure. I hope not. Although I can't choose who I would want to be the love interest so I guess that poses a problem for me. 

I like the direction his story is headed. I am very excited for the next book. It looks like it may be a trip across the country. Maybe a little like a covered wagon trail kind of book but without the wagons and with lots of zombies. Which should make for some very exciting times. I do hope to see some more zombie action and so more romance in the next book. '

This book was all about building the world and building the characters. It was slow at times but being inside Jane's head made it all alright. She is quite a character. Probably more of a favorite that I have had in a very long time.She makes everything well worth the read. Like I said I think this is more about building and the next book is going to be a lot more action and a lot more story. I feel there is no way to do this book justice in my review. I am not that good with words and this book is hard to review. But just know this book is amazing and I will for sure be waiting restlessly for the next book. 

Really I loved it and well worth the read. Everyone should read this book. 

Justina Ireland enjoys dark chocolate, dark humor, and is not too proud to admit that she’s still afraid of the dark. She lives with her husband, kid, and dog in Pennsylvania. Twitter justinairelandwebsite 


  1. I’m reading this book right now. I’m only about 70 pages into it, but it’s lots of fun so far. Great review!

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

  2. Hmmm, I was looking forward to reading this book but the thought of a possible upcoming love triangle in the series puts me right off. I was hoping there would be more focus on the zombies than the racism as well. Not so sure about this book now but I appreciate the detail in your review!

  3. I read just enough of this book to get the setup, and then put it aside. I just wasn't that excited about the premise, and I did think it was slow. Maybe audio is the way to go, because I really like zombie books. (Just read Devils Unto Dust and adored it.)


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