Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

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

The cover y’all….THE COVER! *bows down in worship*

I’ve been waiting for this book for such a long time 😍. The moment I read the synopsis on Goodreads, I broke my keyboard adding it to my “Want to Read” shelf 😂 I knew it would find its way into my hands, and when it did, it did not disappoint!

Goodreads Synopsis: 

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.


Things I Loved about it:

  1. The incorporation of history and reframing it within the Zombie Apocalypse! Love love this alt-history.
  2. I thought the symbolism of African American/Native children being forced to attend combat schools to fight shamblers (zombies)–so they wouldn’t overrun white counterparts is so relevant to the factual history of this country! Let’s be real, the U.S. wouldn’t be the powerhouse it is today without slavery or Native American land. #facts
  3. Jane! The MOC of this story/and narrator is HILARIOUS! She’s head strong, fearless, and confident in her kickass abilities to bring down shamblers. I loved her voice the entire book, I couldn’t put it down because of her.
  4. The exploration of complex issues surrounding race, colorism, discrimination, oppression, slavery, and Christianity’s role in all of it.
  5. The letters at the beginning of every chapter, a correspondence between Jane and her mother.
  6. The twist with Jane’s mother in the end! 😭 & what really happened to the Major 👀

Things I wasn’t so crazy about:

  1. The ending was too abrupt! I need more information about Jane’s mother and her background (which is brushed over TOO quickly!).

Overall Rating: 5 stars! I cannot wait for the sequel 😀



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