Dread Nation (Dread Nation, #1)by Published 03 Apr 2018
|Dread Nation (Dread Nation, #1).pdf|
|Publisher||Balzer + Bray|
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.
"Dread Nation (Dread Nation, #1)" Reviews
Just wow. 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. Can I get an amen? 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 would begin with bits of correspondence between Jane and her mother. This was so touching and how it related with what was going on currently was just so good!
I am also quietly(loudly) shipping Jane + Kate.
"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 student at 'Miss Preston's School of Combat' where she trains to fight the zombies (or "shamblers") for 'privileged white folk.' She's also razor-sharp and precisely aware of how others perceive her.
This also has some wonderful discussions about femininity, as both mains are (very different) young women. Jane initially resents Kate, as Kate is more traditionally feminine, and with lighter features that allow her to "pass." Not only do these two learn to work together, but their initial dislike and Jane's assumptions are addressed.
There's also also great ace and bi representation
But as amazing as these discussions were-- and as much fun as the zombie slaying was, the plot is a mess. It honestly felt like two different books combined into one, as the entire first half is dedicated to a setting and characters that rapidly shift to something entirely different. Instead of a linear plot that builds things just happen. The story doesn't build much tension, instead relying solely upon character arcs while chaos occurs.
(Side note: I loved how smart and intuitive Jane was, but she also somehow seems to correctly guess everything??)
Jane's letters back home are intriguing and tell a completely different story in-between chapters-- but it adds up to set-up for three separate stories Sadly to me, so much of this build up led to a tiny (and kind of random) conclusion. There's a lot of set up for the rest of the series, but there's still something dissatisfying about how completely unfinished everything is.
I have a feeling this is going to be one of my most unpopular opinions, as I can see this being very successful (and I hope it is!) But while there were so many great things about this book, the haphazard plot really detracted from them for me.
I received an ARC through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review! Thanks to Balzer + Bray for the opportunity! (Quotes not final!)
I honest to god was so excited to read this book. black queer girls + zombies? that’s a CONCEPT. a really really great concept
but I truly truly cannot support someone who implies that Asian women like myself... are not women of color. I’m really sad to be taking this off my TBR but someone saying that Asians aren’t people of color makes me sick, and it’s even worse when someone I respect[ed] says that.
read this book if you want!! it’s certainly an important book in YA. but I truly cannot make myself read this
[I won’t be giving anyone info on what happened since it’s draining, and I would link you to what went down, but unfortunately, it’s all been deleted]
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/sexual harasser, a racist sheriff, and a corrupt mayor. Our trio lives and trains in Baltimore and their only future of becoming personal bodyguards for “rich white folks” is not something they are looking forward to until they are abducted and forced to fight zombies in the new hope for America-Kansas.
Dread Nation is what I like to call a book that has all bones and no meat. There’s a solid idea but it’s basically bunch of events, zombie attacks, in-between a bunch of nothing. This book is contingent on world building because this is a new world. Post Civil War America is different than what we know because of zombies so there needs to be some solid world building BUT because this book is written in first person where Jane talks to the reader, the entire world is info dumped. When you have a first person POV, your world building options are limited. I looked through my personal library of fantasy and almost all of them are third person with the exception of Kiss of Deception that relies on interludes of old texts for world building. With Dread Nation, all we get is the old south with their plantations and zombies. Then they go to the old west where there’s a brothel, a church, and a saloon, and zombies. That’s not world building; that’s all old west movies. If that’s what Ireland is going for, relying on the reader’s preconceived ideas of the old south and the old west, why did this book need to be 464 pages?
Ireland tried to do something with the Katherine Jane relationship where they start off as enemies but it ended up being nothing new or special. Jane is an okay character as far as her sass but she’s also smarter than everyone else in the room and that got annoying. A racist who constantly calls the blacks darkies does not a villain make. We expect the corrupt white sheriff to be racist but what else about him makes him evil? There were several white villains like this and it got repetitive.
This is really just a book that contain themes and storylines that we’ve all read a bunch of times. There’s nothing new here which is a shame because it’s an interesting idea.
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