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Dread Nation Kindle Edition
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Hardcover, Deckle Edge
New York Times bestseller; 6 starred reviews!
At once provocative, terrifying, and darkly subversive, Dread Nation is Justina Ireland's stunning vision of an America both foreign and familiar—a country on the brink, at the explosive crossroads where race, humanity, and survival meet.
Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania—derailing the War Between the States and changing the nation forever.
In this new America, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Education 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.
"Abundant action, thoughtful worldbuilding, and a brave, smart, and skillfully drawn cast entertain as Ireland illustrates the ignorance and immorality of racial discrimination and examines the relationship between equality and freedom." (Publishers Weekly, "An Anti-Racist Children's and YA Reading List")
About the Author
“Ireland delivers a necessary, subversive, and explosive novel with her fantasy-laced alternate history that does the all-important work of exploring topics of oppression, racism, and slavery while simultaneously accomplishing so much more. Brilliant and gut-wrenching.” (Booklist (starred review))
“Abundant action, thoughtful worldbuilding, and a brave, smart, and skillfully drawn cast entertain as Ireland (Promise of Shadows) illustrates the ignorance and immorality of racial discrimination and examines the relationship between equality and freedom. Mounting peril creates a pulse-pounding pace, hurtling readers toward a nail-biting conclusion.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“Will catch readers off-guard with its blend of genres: it starts out as an historical thriller but then tosses in hard hits of mystery, dystopian reimagining, romance, and humor. Jane’s voice reads familiar to more contemporary considerations of Black girlhood, with elements such as beauty standards, colorism, and friendships.” (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review))
“This absorbing page-turner works on multiple levels: as unflinching alternate history set in post-Reconstruction-era Maryland and Kansas; as a refreshingly subversive action story starring a badass heroine; as zombie fiction suspenseful; and as a compelling exhortation to scrutinize the racist underpinnings of contemporary American sociopolitical systems.” (Horn Book (starred review))
“Ireland skillfully works in the different forms of enslavement, mental and physical, into a complex and engaging story. A perfect blend of horrors real and imagined, perfect for fans of The Walking Dead.” (School Library Journal (starred review))
“Tremendously original, subversive, sharp, and all around badass, Dread Nation is not your mother’s Civil War–era zombie story.” (Julie Murphy, #1 New York Times Bestselling author of Dumplin’)
“Dread Nation is everything I love—it’s beautiful, unflinching, lyrical, tender, and vividly imagined. Don’t miss this book!” (Ann Aguirre, New York Times bestseller and coauthor of Honor Among Thieves)
“This is the zombie novel I’ve been waiting for my whole life.” (Kate Elliott, New York Times bestselling author of Court of Fives) --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- ASIN : B071RQX7W9
- Publisher : Balzer + Bray (April 3 2018)
- Language : English
- File size : 2406 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Not Enabled
- Sticky notes : On Kindle Scribe
- Print length : 418 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: #124,348 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- #95 in Young Adult Fiction on Prejudice & Racism
- #146 in Survival Stories for Young Adults
- #163 in Horror for Young Adults
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from Canada
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I'd been putting this book off for quite a while and boy, do I regret that! This is the second book I've read in as many months that follows a tough chick in an alternate timeline where something supernatural has altered American history. I'm not sure what that genre is called, but gimme more -- I love it! In Dread Nation, we're introduced to a world in which the Civil War was interrupted when the dead suddenly started acting decidedly very undead.
We follow Jane, a young woman born just days before the undead appeared, as she studies at Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore. Her classes there teach her both fighting and etiquette skills as is required by the Native and Negro Reeducation Act. Most graduates of the school hope to be assigned as an Attendant to one of the rich white women, to act as a bodyguard-cum-chaperone. The alternative often means heading to the front lines to keep the shamblers (zombies/undead) at bay.
Although the shamblers (zombies/undead) are definitely very present in this story, instead of being the real focus, they act mostly as a vehicle to explain this alternate world and to add a bit of excitement here and there. Don't get me wrong, the battle scenes are definitely tons of fun, but this book has much deeper undertones than that.
It's not difficult at all to draw comparisons between the misguided morality, political shenanigans, and outright unabashed bigoted actions portrayed in this book with what's been increasingly in the public eye over the past few years. In fact, the scariest, tensest scenes in this book have nothing to do with shambler attacks and everything to do with how terribly cruel power-hungry humans can be.
I love the characters Justina Ireland has created here. Jane is snarky and strong, but never fell into the cliched "quirky talent always saves the day" role. She is definitely flawed, and does not escape her mistakes comeuppance-free. The supporting characters are mostly all very well fleshed out and believable. A couple of characters do, at times, seem a bit like caricatures, but that was very minor, and it's possible it was exacerbated by the narration.
Speaking of the narrator, now I get the Bahni Turpin love (I should never have doubted you, Erica!). Sign me up, I'm sold, and I'm diving into some other books she's narrated in the very near future.
I strongly recommend this one to anyone who enjoys a rough-and-tumble action book with a snarky MC. I cannot wait to get my hands on the sequel!
Jane is fantastic. There's no other way to say it. She's funny, strong, smart, takes no BS from anyone, and is ferocious in combat. She is definitely no saint and is a little judgmental about some of her fellow combatants, yet over time she grows and discovers more about herself, as well as those she keeps company with.
I also really grew to love Kate. Her entire character arc is both an emotional challenge and makes her both unique and in some aspects, tragic. So it's all the more inspiring when she uses different skills and her own wit to overcome circumstances.
The plot is kept relatively simple and straightforward--survive in a town full of cruel, incompetent men--though there are enough added mysteries and twists to keep it exciting. The action scenes can get really intense, though the last one seemed to move a little too quickly for me.
I had a great time reading this book. Ireland has incredible talent, completely falling into the perspective of Jane and making her characters seem like real people in terrible situations. This book hadn't really been on my radar before, but I absolutely recommend it to lovers of fantasy, the Old West, strong female characters, complex themes and friendships, and exceptional writing. This is a must have!
Top reviews from other countries
I really enjoyed this book and fell in love with Jane's voice right from word one. It starts with the protagonist telling us how the midwife tried to murder her on her first day of life and from there the narrative just keeps ramping up the pace. We're quickly introduced to the other main characters and given a brief but informative history of the years since Gettysburg alongside some well-paced action sequences, before gradually being drawn into a mystery surrounding the sudden and unexplainable disappearance of a local farming family. Suffice to say it isn't long before Jane, her co-student Katherine (don't call her Kate), and one-time beau, Red Jack, find themselves stumbling headfirst into a mite more trouble than they expected.
While it is possible to read this book as nothing more than a popcorn-fuelled historical fantasy zombiefest, I really do believe doing so would be an injustice. Justina Ireland paints a vivid, almost shockingly sober account of what life was like for people of colour, and especially women of colour, during the post-bellum years in the States. Take away the zombies and the combat training, and Jane could just as easily be any young woman of colour from that period, and her experiences wouldn't have been all that different. I couldn't help but draw comparisons between this and Octavia E. Butler's Kindred, and while the approach taken by each book may be very different the end result is still a harsh indictment of the way most white people treated anyone who wasn't white.
This is a book that will, if you let it, make you think quite deeply about what's going on in the background. It's superbly written, and the character of Jane is one who will stay with you long after you've turned the final page. I'm giving it a solid four stars and waiting eagerly for the next book in the series.
This was actually a really interesting and unique read and although i've only rated it three stars, which seems low, I did enjoy this book overall. There were just some issues in it for me that made me feel unable to rate it five stars.
This is a very character driven book; it almost feels like a filler book because it is so centered on the characters and barely the plot. There's almost no tension in this book and virtually no action; yes there are a couple of bits of them fighting the hordes but other than that it's almost a period drama. I did enjoy it, but it felt largely unnecessary at times. The plot is interesting, but not really developed on throughout the book which makes this feel very much like it was intended to be a middle book but somehow got shunted to the front.
This book has some really good representation; LQBTQ with Jane being bisexual (I think - it's never explicitly stated buy she mentions relationships with males and females) and Katherine being asexual (again not stated but she discuses having no sexual attraction to anyone). Although it is mostly about zombies, it's a really important historical read and I would highly recommend it. There are also some real discussions about feminism and typical femininity with Katherine; the MC Jane and Katherine are both extremely different women and are probably polar opposites for the main part. They don't just get over things but actually work through their differences and issues as they arise. This doesn't mean that they don't still have their issues, because they definitely do and it is delightful to watch.
Overall I liked this read and will be keeping it on my bookshelves for now, but I wasn't hooked by it.
In 1800s America, a zombie plague has risen up from the civil war and black people are forced to go to combat schools where they learn how to fight and kill zombies for the protection of white people.
Enter Jane McKeene, a Brave, strong-willed student at Miss Preston’s combat school.
What I love about this book is that it’s more of western that just happens to have zombies in it. You’ve got bandits, bounty hunters, lawmen (woman), but from the perspective not often told in historical-like (especially Westerns) novels, black People.
I also love that the main character are all strong women and they get to do all the fighting. The book also has great lgbtq representation.
From the blurb, I expecting the story to remain in Miss Preston’s School of Combat where it begins, but the story went in such a wonderfully unexpected direction that I found myself constantly surprised.
The heroine is witty and her voice is full of dry humour. The action scenes are also really well written and I loved reading how the fights unfolded, which is something I don't normally enjoy in the books I read.
- Very diverse cast of loveable characters - the main characters are our black bisexual mc and her black aro-ace sidekick, both women
- Sinister setting and very gripping plot
- The change in historical period, in terms of how people understand diseases and science, adds a fun and unique twist to how people understand and deal with a zombie apocalypse
- Lots of wonderful, cathartic moments of badassery from our protagonist Jane