Monday, September 28, 2020

Book Review | Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

Dread Nation is a YA historical fiction/horror novel by Justina Ireland.

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

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.

Even though this is a zombie book, I knew going into Dread Nation that it would be light on the horror elements. I think that helped me adjust to the right expectations going into this. Thankfully there was a more to Dread Nation than the zombies.

Dread Nation was very successful at building the story over the course of the entire novel. I love when a book gets better and better and then thoroughly hooks me by the end. That doesn't always make for a quick read, and it did take me a while to get through Dread Nation. I was able to put it down and pick it back up again days later.

By the end, though, I was hooked and anxious for more. I'll be picking up Deathless Divide (the second half of this duology) soon so be on the look out for that review as well!

3.5/5 stars


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  1. As much as I like the sound of this one, I haven't gotten around to reading it yet. But it's still on my TBR list! :)

  2. I enjoyed this one when I read it as well. I still need to pick up the second one. I do think there could have been more zombies though.

  3. I was really happy this was zombie-light, as I don't do well with horror.
    I was at the opposite end of the spectrum though, couldn't put this down and read it within one day


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