Dread Nation – By Justina Ireland

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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.

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This is a book I was looking forward to for a long time, and I’m so glad that I had a chance to read it a couple months ago.

I had a hard time deciding how many stars to give this books because I went back and forth between liking the story and being pretty bored by it. I think that there are a lot of good elements in Dread Nation. First the lead and the main characters are all biracial, and there’s also an ace character. This book has a lot of amazing diversity going for it, and the idea behind it is fantastic. I love (and hate) zombies, and I will always be down for a story with zombies. So there are a lot of compelling points, but at the end of the day I just felt like Dread Nation wasn’t very well written.

This story drags a lot. It starts off pretty well and then slows way down, and the whole story follows this pattern. After a slow bit it will definitely pick up again, but then it would slow down again and be really hard to read. There were times when I was very engaged and then there were times when I wanted to stop reading because I was bored.

I also felt like all of the characters were well written, save Jane. I loved Kate, she’s well fleshed out, badass and feminine and just really all around great.  Jane however is really annoying and contradictory. She says she likes to be underestimated but at every turn she’s acting the opposite of someone who’s trying to be underestimated.  She’s also very rash and that is one characteristic that I hate in characters. Yet, she tries. She’s strong and brave and she does realize that she’s too rash, and by the end of the book I did care that she triumphed.

I definitely think you all should read this book, personally it was only 3 star book for me. But you should read it and decide for yourself. I don’t think I’ll be continuing the series though.

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