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review 2018-06-06 00:17
Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
Dread Nation - Justina Ireland

As a black girl born in July of 1863, in the South no less, Jane McKeene did not have a promising future ahead of her. Her birth just so happened to coincide with the dead rising from the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville. The dead have plagued the United States ever since. A divided nation agreed on re-education acts that required black and native American children to be trained to put down the dead. Jane is in training to be an Attendant, a young woman set as a personal bodyguard for wealthy women.

I love this, because of course white people would make minorities do the dirty work. It makes a sick amount of sense. Ireland's vision of how 19th century society re-arranges itself around the constant threat of attacks from the dead was entertaining and sobering. This novel works as an action and adventure story, raises issues of social justice, and provides a few key perspectives on life in the 19th century.

'Dread Nation' is the first zombie book since 'World War Z' that kept my attention. Don't even get me started on films and television. My fellow readers who have become numb to anything zombie related, I ask that you check this out. Jane and Co.'s struggle to save themselves and others from the undead as well as other humans is a great teen read full of humor and adventure, may wake you up to the possibilities of the zombie genre again.

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review 2018-05-30 15:01
3 Out Of 5 "feeling meh..." STARS
Dread Nation - Justina Ireland





Dread Nation

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.






If wanting to like a book is enough, then I would have loved this…but, in reality, I just found it rather dull.  The zombies or "shamblers", were the dullest of them and the story just fell flat for me.  Although, if they had been more kill-y than I probably wouldn't have finished it due to the nightmares I would have had. {{{shrugs shoulders}}}


The plot didn't play out the way I envisioned it.  I thought it would center around the civil war and how the walking dead changed how it ended.  But after rereading the synopsis, I realized I shouldn't have thought that…but even knowing that it didn't change my disappointment. (This is why reading the synopsis doesn't spoil the book for me, I don't really pay attention to what it says...)  Overall the story wasn't all bad, but it's likely that I won't read the next book. 











Plot~ 4/5

Main Characters~ 3/5

Secondary Characters~ 3/5

The Feels~ 2/5

Pacing~ 2/5

Addictiveness~ 2/5

Theme or Tone~ 3/5

Flow (Writing Style)~ 2/5

Backdrop (World Building)~ 3/5

Originality~ 4/5

Ending~ 3/5 Cliffhanger~  sort of…


Book Cover~ Awesome, it drew me in…I feel like the cover promised more than I was given…

Narration~ 3 -Bahni Turpin…it's not that she was bad, only that I think they were too many characters for her take on by herself.

Setting~ Alternate United States

Source~ Audiobook (Library)



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review 2018-05-17 02:14
Review: Dread Nation
Dread Nation - Justina Ireland

Finished this one a while back, but somehow dropped the ball on writing a review. 


This is excellent, but a case where I liked the first half more than the second. An entire book set during the lead's time in zombie hunter training school would have worked for me.


At the same time, though, I appreciate Ireland not lingering on any one place to long. This book moves. The protagonist is clever, quick, and good with a range of weapons, but has a lot to learn about the world. And a lot to reveal to the reader. The long, slow lead up to her back story really worked for me. And the world is almost as openly racist as our current administration. A world where people openly believe that the dead started walking all over the world because of the civil war - now there's some delightful American exceptionalism.


I didn't love some of the side characters. The scientist, for example, I wouldn't trust further than I could throw.


It ends in a place that both works as an ending, and is in no way the end of a story. I hope there's a sequel in the not too distant future.

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review 2018-05-03 17:23
Book Bebops All Over the Place (Good Debut)
Dread Nation - Justina Ireland

Well, I am really glad that I finally got a chance to read "Dread Nation." Not going to lie though, I was pretty bored for most of the book. Even after the action moves there just seemed to be endless indignities our main character had to deal with until she does a reveal about her past. The world building was good, but I still questioned some things and I am glad that the book didn't end on a cliffhanger. I am not a fan of cliffhangers. 


"Dread Nation" is about an alternate United States where the Civil War is ended when the dead start to walk among us. In order to fight and put down the dead, the United States creates a so-called Native and Negro Reeducation Act that requires all Native Americans and African Americas to be put into schools to train how to fight the dead and become Attendants. Jane McKeene who is our main character, is a teenager that is currently enrolled at Miss Preston's School of Combat for Negro Girls, hoping to graduate soon and be able to return to her family and friends at Rose Hill. When Jane starts to realize that something strange seems to be going on with her school and the nearby Mayor, her life is turned upside down. 


It was great to read a book starring a bi-racial young adult character. Jane is fierce, lies, and makes no bones about who she is and what she has done. I am not going to lie though, at first Jane bugged me, but she grew on me and I loved that she refused to back down and just let evil (bad guys) win. 

The book keeps pace with Jane in the present though with little vignettes showing how her life was back at Rose Hill (her family's plantation) with her Aunt Aggie and her mother. 


The secondary characters development is a bit thin though except for the character of Katherine. I really don't get the character of Daniel Redfern or Red Jack. The motivations of the teachers at the school Jane went to didn't really work for me. And we got like four token racist characters. They could have been combined. Katherine and Jane's growing friendship was wonderful though. I really enjoyed the frenemies becoming true friends. And I loved both of their backstories that we got in this one. 


I also enjoyed how Ireland uses this book to showcase racism in our past in this country, but also certain incidents in this book could be updated to modern times quite easily. 


That said, the book could have been split in half. There were so many characters and motivations we had to keep track of during this book it got to be a bit much towards the end.  

The writing was good, I especially liked the letters from Jane to her mother and from her mother back to her. The flow was off though. The first part of the book with Jane at her school was dry as anything. 

The world building was interesting. I still have a problem though. I do think that African Americans are considered free in this new alternate history. But, we still have them being forced to be subservient to whites. It didn't make a lot of sense to me on how this was done without African Americans or Native Americans just fleeing and or making up their own towns/communities. The characters who are white in this book don't seem to be able to do that much, so training a highly skilled community of people that you keep treating terribly seems dumb to me. I think Ireland was using Jim Crow laws as an inspiration for how something like the above could have happened (with minorities forced to still be forced to be subservient to whites) but I wish that someone had brought this up or that we heard about minority communities or those arguing for change. 


The ending was good and sets up the next book nicely. 

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text 2018-05-02 20:42
Reading progress update: I've read 176 out of 464 pages.
Dread Nation - Justina Ireland

Still pretty slow for me. I like the letters that Jane writes to her mother. I even like that she has finally stopped being an ass to Katherine and that Katherine seems to have warmed up to her as well. Other than that, I just need this to pick up soon. I should not have to fight to keep myself invested in this book. I don't know why, I just keep going okay so Jane did so and so, and now Jane is flashbacking to her life with her mother before she was sent off to train. Oh here is Red Jack again.


Someone told me it picks up once Jane leaves school, so that's good news. I think the world building is interesting and I think Ireland is doing a good job with that, the flow is just an issue for me. 

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