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Dread Nation

(Dread Nation #1)

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  26,030 ratings  ·  5,154 reviews
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. B ...more
Hardcover, 455 pages
Published April 3rd 2018 by Balzer + Bray
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Average rating 4.13  · 
Rating details
 ·  26,030 ratings  ·  5,154 reviews

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chai ♡
this book inspired me to start going to the gym because I've realized that at this rate if zombies arrived, I would be truly, absolutely, unequivocally FUCKED ...more
Elle (ellexamines)
I shrug. “My momma always said the best way to get what you want from people is to give them what they think they want. Sometimes you have to live down to people’s expectations, Kate. If you can do that, you’ll get much further in life.”
Honestly, black zombie hunters in the Reconstruction era is definitely the best historical fiction concept of all time. And the fact that this totally, completely lived up to my hopes? Even better.

I think this is a book action fans are going to enjoy. Dr
Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies
The worst thing about this book is that I mentally read it with a Southern drawl. It is unbelievably annoying.

Most of the time, I go into a book with certain expectations. "I'm going to love this book" "Oh, this sounds just awful" so on and so forth. I have to admit, the premise didn't sound that great to me. Zombies are boring. Civil-war era America (even after a zombie apocalypse) doesn't sound terribly awesome either. So I have to admit I started this book with a whole lot of skepticism, and
3.75/5 ⭐

Full review on my Blog: The Dacian She-Wolf 🐺

Because February is always Black History Month (and, mind you, I've read this book in February), this fearless heroine of ours is a fearless girl of colour leaving in the times of the Civil War in the United States. You know the Civil War, right? The North starts battling the South in order to abolish slavery. There is blood, there is gore, there is loss and there are...zombies.

Quick thingy here: does anyone actually remember that Scooby-Doo f
Oct 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
In Dread Nation, Ireland beautifully blends Historical Fiction and Horror. It's a fast-paced, cut-throat, action-filled story!

Set in a turbulent United States, just after the Civil War, the country is plagued by the walking dead.

Jane McKeene, our intrepid protagonist, is attending Miss Preston's School for Girls and struggling to find her place in the world.

Life hasn't always been kind to Jane and she has had to develop a thick resolve in order to push through the hardships. Unfortunate as tha
Heidi Heilig
May 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is what i'm envisioning after every zombie slay.

Kaylin (The Re-Read Queen)
3 Stars

"It's a cruel, cruel world. And the people are the worst part."

I just want to preface this review by saying I think this book is extremely important. It's historical fiction with zombies, sure, but it also centers on a very strong, biracial woman. I can't speak for the representation as a whole, but I will say I loved how unapologetic Jane is.

Taking place in an alternate US where zombies rose up during the Civil War, this takes a long hard look at institutionalized racism. Jane is a
Feb 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
looking for great books to read during black history month...and the other eleven months? i'm going to float some of my favorites throughout the month, and i hope they will find new readers!

fulfilling my 2020 goal to read (at least) one book each month that i bought in hardcover and put off reading long enough that it is now in paperback.

why did it take me so long to read this book when i knew the first time i saw that cover that it was coming home with me?



it may have just been zombi
jv poore
Apr 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
A quintessential, suspenseful YA novel with a compelling lead character that is courageous and kind (although Jane may disagree with latter). Ms. Ireland sneaks in some not-so-well-known U.S. history about whites sending Native American children to boarding schools where they could learn to be "civilized", creating truly chilling story. ...more
Bang Bang Books
Oct 14, 2017 rated it it was ok
Wanna listen to our reviews instead of reading, check out our podcast.

The year is 1880 and slavery has kind of ended in the traditional sense but blacks and native Americans are now forced to enter combat schools to learn how to fight zombies.

Our main character is Jane who is a sassy bi-racial zombie killing machine that takes no shits from anyone. This book has all the fixin’s, Katherine a snooty student who is passing as white, Jackson a sexy hustler/sex
Oct 31, 2018 marked it as to-read
I was today years old when I found out that this book exists.
4.5 Stars

When I first heard about this book last year, I knew I needed to read it. I'm not usually into zombies. I've never watched an episode of The Walking Dead and I usually laugh at zombie movies but this book peaked my interest immediately. I love Historical Fiction, add to that African American Historical Fiction and I'm sold.

Justina Ireland took one of the most dark and terrifying times in history Reconstruction and made it even more terrifying by adding zombies. Not only does our heroine
J.T.  Yorke
May 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
"Her voice is deep, and she sings a fine baritone in church. She's the tallest of us here, big and dark and imposing with arms like John Henry.

That's how Jane describes her best friend and how the author pretty much describes anyone who isn't light skinned. The colorism in this book disgusted me. Besides that, the story is stagnant and the characters are never developed. Let's dive into this dumpster fire, shall we?

Plot: There isn't one. I'm not kidding. Any goals Jane had were never act
Mar 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
This was a pretty darn good world that Justina created. 😱 The short explanation is zombies pop up during the civil war. But it’s definitely got a lot more to it than that. Jane is one bad ass b. ❤️ I loved her character. I also loved the audiobook, choosing Bahni Turpin was a great choice for Jane’s voice. 👍 Given the time setting, the law set in place (“the Native and Negro Re-education Act”), the treatment of people in this book is gut wrenching and will make you steaming mad. I’m excited to r ...more
Jan 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is fucking badass. Yes, there are zombies, but there are also young girls trying their damndest to survive in a world that doesn't want them.

This book is just as important as The Hate U Give and Dear Martin. We like to romanticize the past and the old west, but need constant reminders about the ways that things haven't changed at all. It's an examination of America, old and new, and the idea that perhaps humanity is worse than a plague of zombies.

Jane is someone I want to see slay the
Joe Valdez
Dec 02, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
When the dead rise from the battlefield of Gettysburg, the Civil War is called off and to help fight a new war, the Negro and Native Reeducation Act requires qualified children to attend combat schools to slay the shamblers. That's the synopsis for Dread Nation by Justina Ireland, whose narrator is a mixed race teenager named Jane McKeene. Civil War era zombies? Yes! Black heroine? Yes! Silly Young Adult conventions? No! Annoying patois? Hell no! I made it to page 64 before abandoning this novel ...more
Helen 2.0
So.... don't take this personally, Justina, but I may have cut up this novel after reading it and glued it to my wall as wallpaper. If it helps any, the wall looks awesome. I love the fake faded look of the pages.


ANYWAY! Incredible premise. LGBT black girls fighting zombies during the Civil War era. Hell yes?

Dread Nation has great bi representation, great ace representation, great representation in general. It deserves a full five stars in terms of diversity.

However, despite how lovely
Rachel Reads Ravenously
4 stars!

“It’s a cruel, cruel world. And the people are the worst part.”

I listened to this audiobook on the recommendation of a friend and I really enjoyed it. Dread Nation is a book that's been in the back of my mind and I am really glad I read it, especially because there's another book coming out.

Dread Nation is about a young woman named Jane about 15+ years after the Civil War. The twist is, the Civil War ended in this world because all the dead rose up and became "shamblers" or basical
Wow! Wow! Wow! So much fun! 5 very enthusiastic stars for the audiobook as narrated by Bahni Turpin.

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
shady boots
Originally started as a buddy read with Lola but she wasn't into it so I went ahead and finished it myself. :p

I thought this had a pretty strong start. I was really enjoying it up until around the 40% mark. From then on, my interest sort of waned. I guess its partly due to the whole zombie thing; let's be honest, they're not the most exciting supernatural monsters to read about. Most of the time they're just lumbering, brainless things designed to move the plot forward and provide action scenes.
Apr 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book. Of course the alt-history post-civil war era setting tells you that the story will be harsh. It's a zombie book, yes, but the walking dead are just part of the larger landscape of horror that non-whites have to live in.

The relationship between the two main characters, Jane and Katherine, is incredibly well done. They start out barely tolerating each other, but over time they become friends. How that relationship comes about and grows is integral to the story, and t
Krista Regester
Apr 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I am so impressed with this novel. Dread Nation is a mosh posh of all the best things in life: zombies, hardcore heroines, BISEXUALS, and some superb snarkiness. Seriously. I couldn’t put this down. I didn’t want it to end. Every single character matters. Every single line is important. Jane McKeene is a badass lady. She is relatable, smart, strong, and somehow kept her shit together when everything went down.

Something that is worth pointing out is how the chapters begin with bits of correspond
Montzalee Wittmann
Oct 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Dread Nation #1 by Justina Ireland is a book I found from the library. I got the audible version. Now, I don't normally read historical fiction even if it is altered and I hate reading books those that have slaves or racism but this book has both! Why I started it I will never know but once I started I couldn't stop. Our main character is a gal born from a rich white plantation last while the Lord of the major had been gone fighting in the Civil War. Our gal came out black and was almost killed ...more
enqi ☁️✨ (hiatus due to college)
honestly, i was beyond excited about this book because queer black girls who fight zombies? i'd be throwing my money at the author by now

but i literally cannot support someone who implies that asian women like myself... are not women of color. it's 2018 and i'm tired of hearing this because believe me it's been said a lot before. you don't get to invalidate me or take a slight against my community or my heritage or even my skin. the fact that justina ireland actually thinks that asians are
Apr 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
8.1 out of 10 @

Dystopias are popular settings for YA novels; while most imagine a future where a class of people is oppressed by a system of authoritarian social control, Justina Ireland’s canny new horror western Dread Nation locates its dystopic vision in America’s past. History diverges when the dead start returning en masse, hungry for human flesh, bringing an early end to the Civil War and the institution of slavery – but only in the barest sense. No
Shaun Hutchinson
Apr 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely stunning. This will absolutely be one of my top 5 favorite books of the year.
Scarlett Readz and Runz....Through Novel Time & Distance
4.5 shamblers

This was one of my most anticipated books for spring from the moment I heard of it and laid eyes on that cover. I have no idea what struck this chord other then I love history and figured this alternate derailment (from the current one) will be epic. A dystopian setting in the past versus the future as in most YA novels. BAM…a dystopian, YA, alternate historical fiction genre has been created. And I am all for it!

The setting for Dread Nation begins during the Civil War years. Jane M
2.5 stars
It’s a cruel, cruel world. And the people are the worst part.

Now I really liked this book up to a point and the concept is original. It also explores racism in an original way. And damn, did it outrage me at certain points. But it also inspired me to learn more. (Mainly about what the author's note refers to at the end - the real life boarding schools Native American children were sent to to learn to be "civilized").

Here we have an alternate history America where the Civil War ended
Jul 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Recommended to Tatiana by: Starred reviews
2.5 stars (an extra 0.5 star for Katherine)

Strong elements outweighed by weak plot.

I wasn’t even going to read it (zombies are so 5 years ago and I am so over them!), but then I saw 6 starred reviews - and succumbed to my curiosity.

Actually, zombies do add an interesting dimension to this post-Civil War alternative history. In this novel, they shift power dynamics away from white supremacy (anyone can fall prey to shamblers, even and especially abusive slave owners, which can level the playing
rachel ☾
• bloody brilliant
• adored the characters so much
• literally crying because there's an incredible aroace character!! and a bi female protagonist. in a histfic 🙌😭
• just adored it
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Justina Ireland is the New York Times bestselling author of Dread Nation and its sequel Deathless Divide (Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins), the middle-grade novels Star Wars, Flight of the Falcon: Lando’s Luck and Spark of the Resistance, a Star Wars Story (Lucasfilm Books), and the fantasy young adult novels Vengeance Bound and Promise of Shadows (both Simon and Schuster). Her short science fiction a ...more

Other books in the series

Dread Nation (2 books)
  • Deathless Divide (Dread Nation, #2)

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While books about anti-racism are trending on Goodreads and dominating the bestseller lists right now, some of our favorite Black authors are...
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“See, the problem in this world ain’t sinners, or even the dead. It is men who will step on anyone who stands in the way of their pursuit of power.” 62 likes
“It’s a cruel, cruel world. And the people are the worst part.” 48 likes
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