Anne Nerison's Reviews > Dread Nation

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
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it was amazing
bookshelves: fiction
Read 2 times. Last read March 16, 2020 to March 20, 2020.

I'm a sucker for a good zombie book. Add in an alternate-history Reconstruction timeline and a badass female main character, and I'm pretty much sold. (Plus, have you seen that cover? Amazing.)

Jane McKeane is a student at Miss Preston's, a school where black girls learn combat and etiquette in order to secure jobs as Attendants for white women after they graduate. All she wants to do is take down shamblers, learn as much as she can, and return to Rose Hill and her mother—who happens to be the plantation's mistress. Jane's never one to follow the rules, however, and her refusal to stand aside for injustice lands her in more trouble than she could have imagined. (view spoiler)

Dread Nation is a page-turner, and now I understand all the buzz for it. In no particular order, some of the things I enjoyed about this book:

1) People of color as the main characters (and written by a woman of color) who don't shy away from examining the system they're entrenched in, and use it to their advantage as much as they can.
2) Jane and Katherine Deveroux's enemies-to-friends relationship.
3) Jackson's role in the story—we don't see him much, but his role in Jane's life is quite intriguing.
4) What we see of Jane's relationship with her mother. This is told both in the narrative, and from excerpts of letters they write to each other, which is something I generally like in novels.
5) The action! The fight scenes are so well crafted—exciting and detailed in every movement, and yet not too gory that I'm turned off by it.
6) The historical ideas sprinkled about—the emergence of the germ theory of disease, the early days of electricity, the combat schools being based off the American Indian boarding schools, the Civil War and life on plantations, and race relations in the late 1800s.
7) (view spoiler)
8) The character development we see in Jane and Katherine as they navigate life at school (view spoiler).
9) A feisty female main character, and well fleshed-out supporting characters at every turn.

So yeah, I loved this book. Definitely not for everyone, but if a few of these things hit your "must-read" buttons, I'd recommend it.
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Reading Progress

May 9, 2018 – Shelved
May 9, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
August 4, 2018 – Started Reading
August 4, 2018 – Shelved as: fiction
August 5, 2018 – Finished Reading
March 16, 2020 – Started Reading
March 20, 2020 – Finished Reading

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