Dread Nation (Dread Nation #1)
by Justina Ireland
What is it about:
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.
What did I think of it:
I confess: the cover is totally what put this book on my radar. Then I read there were zombies in it and I knew I had to get my trotters on this book. I even broke my rule that I shouldn't buy books over 10 Euro. I didn't want to wait for the paperback.
And this book is worth it!
I was hooked from the start. Jane is a really cool heroine. She learned to use all the tricks in her book to survive. Often she manages to get out of trouble by lying, acting, and more, but in a way that you admire her for her cleverness and survival instincts. Then there's Katherine, her class rival. I loved Katherine as well. She learned other ways to keep going in a world that's against them. When they're forced to work together sparks fly.
There are tons of other really interesting characters as well, and I had some favorites I rooted for.
The worldbuilding is excellent. Yes, there are walking dead - or deathless as they're called here by some - but the way it is written I could believe this could have happened. The setting and atmosphere felt realistic (and totally infuriating at times). Ireland manages to weave fiction and historic facts into a really cool story.
As for the story: it has it all! Intrigue, action, betrayal, zombies, friendship, heartache. There are some serious issues tackled as well: slavery, discrimination, racism. These themes are part of the story and as I mentioned before, some of the things that happened and were said were infuriating and made my blood boil.
When I started on this book, I expected it to be an entertaining read, but let me tell you: it exceeded expectations and had me totally engrossed. This is an awesome read! The ending left me both satisfied and hungry for more. You bet I'll get my greedy trotters on the next book once it releases.
Why should you read it:
It's a totally awesome Historical Zombie read.
Buy from bookdepository