I don’t remember the last zombie book I’d read–it might have been a few years ago–but Dread Nation is not one I’ll forget for a long time. It was thrilling, captivating and all around amazing.
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.
I’ve been hearing nothing but praise for Dread Nation since word of it hit Twitter. I hadn’t read a zombie story or a historical fiction story in a while. So my interest was definitely piqued when I heard about this one.
Jane is a whip-smart girl who’s able to cut down “shamblers” (zombies) like she’s taking a hot knife through butter. But when she’s caught sneaking around the mayor’s house, she’s sent off to a small town in Kansas where living there while black is practically a death sentence.
Jane uncovers a conspiracy and when the dead start to gather and act in weirder ways than before, she’s the only one in the west who has a chance of stopping it.
There’s danger around every corner and Jane meets it head on. There’s high emotions and high tensions on every page and I just couldn’t put Dread Nation down. This was the type of book where I got to the end and cried–not just because of the amazing storytelling but also because I have to wait forever for book 2.
I highly recommend Justina Ireland’s Dread Nation to anyone with an interest in zombies, historical fiction or even current YA books because this one is tearing it up.
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