Review: Dread Nation by Justina Ireland (Dread Nation #1)


Dread Nation by Justina Ireland // VBC ReviewDread Nation (Dread Nation #1)
Justina Ireland
Published: April 3, 2018 (Balzer+Bray)
Purchase at: Book Depository or Amazon
Review Source: Purchased

Reviewed by: Amy

Rating (out of 5): 4 stars

In Justina Ireland’s Dread Nation the Battle of Gettysburg was still one of the turning points of the Civil War, just not entirely for the same reasons that you or I might remember from history class. Instead, it was the day the dead began to walk the battlefield effectively changing the tide of the war and the world forever.

Specifically it was two days after our narrator Jane McKeene was born that Shamblers started to roam the countryside.

Now, about seventeen years later with the Native and Negro Reeducation Act making combat training a requirement for certain children, Jane is enrolled at Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore where she is training as an Attendant—a position of protection, typically for the wealthy, with the Attendant having not only trained in weapons and fighting but etiquette.

However, Jane has no true interest in becoming an Attendant. Her goal is to make it back home to Rose Hall to her momma and aunties. First, Jane will have to contend with the power players in Baltimore who want America to return to the “good old days.” When Jane gets embroiled in a conspiracy involving Baltimore families going missing, she’ll have to put her training to use as Jane fights for her life in a country still surrounded by the dead.

First off, this is a review of the audiobook and I always feel like finding a good narrator is like finding a good author. Well, Bahni Turpin is absolutely wonderful. She really makes Jane, and other characters, come vividly to life. I’m very interested in checking out her other work.

I really loved the incorporation of the Shamblers (aka zombies). Just when you think the zombie trope has been overdone, Justina Ireland comes along and breathes new life (no pun intended) into the genre. So far, Dread Nation only gives readers a rudimentary knowledge of the Shambler, but that goes along with the knowledge of the rest of the country as well. There are a few little pieces of information we gather by the end, and I hope Justina Ireland continues to delve into what caused the epidemic because it’s clearly far from over.

However, like any good zombie movie (*ahem* or TV show), you find that the true conflict is always humanity with itself. Dread Nation takes place in a not often talked about time in history. That is, we discuss the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation, and Reconstruction, but I think it’s sometimes easy to forget that change takes time. Just because slaves were declared free doesn’t mean everyone was 100 percent on board with that idea and we see Jane and her companions run up against people who are, as one character puts it, “trying to live in the past” in order to move forward from the zombie plague instead of working together to survive.

Dread Nation IS Jane’s story. She is the one leading readers through the changed world and standing up for what is right. She has her eyes wide open to what’s going on around her, and even when all the pieces aren’t adding up just yet, she’s very aware. Yet she’s not without her own vulnerabilities, especially when it comes to the welfare of her family—who she hasn’t heard from in over a year.

 I’ve honestly only scratched the surface of everything that Dread Nation brings to the table. I was pulled in by the promise of zombies, but I stayed for the strength of the characters. I’ll be along for the journey, wherever that may lead, hopefully to a brighter future for all.

Sexual Content: References to kissing

2 Responses to “Review: Dread Nation by Justina Ireland (Dread Nation #1)”

  1. ssloo13 says:

    Great review! This was one of my favorite reads last year. The premise was so cool, and Ireland was really able to live up to that. My only small complaint was that I wanted more romance, but I always want more romance. Can’t wait for the next book!

    • Amy M says:

      I agree about the romance. I always love to have at least a little romance in my reads. I feel like there is definitely romance potential. I guess we’ll see where things go 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Powered by WordPress | Designed by Elegant Themes
Malcare WordPress Security