by Justina Ireland
Series: Dread Nation #1
Narrator: Bahni Turpin
Length: 11 hours and 56 minutes
Genres: Horror, Historical Fiction
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Narration: 4 cups
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 by Justina Ireland is an alternate historical fiction where the Civil War ended when the dead rose hungry. Narrated by Bahni Turpin I quickly found myself caught up in this tale. A clever, sassy, kick-ass heroine and fantastic world-building left me itching for book two.
Reasons to grab your earbuds and listen to Dread Nation
- Jane McKeene, the main character of our story is a Negro, born to a white woman in Kentucky. Her birth took place two days before the dead arose hungry and walked the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville. We meet Jane at sixteen and find her enrolled at Miss. Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore. From the first pages, I liked Jane and wanted to know more. She is frank, smart and as we will soon learn a great strategist and kick-ass heroine. Jane fully understands the world she lives and struggles with biting her tongue or screaming to the gods about the stupidity of it all.
- The historical aspects and subjects like authoritarianism, slavery, and society were brilliant! Ireland did a splendid job with accurate details on our nation’s history during this era all while weaving zombies into the mix. The combat school where Jane’s mandated to attend were inspired by the Native American Boarding Schools opened in the United States. Here young native Americans were taking from their parents and raised to learn. It was a dark time in our history. In Jane’s world, Negros and Native American children are taught etiquette and how to battle zombies thanks to the Native and Negro Reeducation Act.
- I know some of you are thinking zombies..so not my thing. However, they are just a backdrop to this alternate history. We see attacks, and a little gore is mentioned, but the focus is on Jane and the trouble she gets into when she notices graduates of her school, who are in services to the fine ladies of Baltimore, and others on the outskirts of the community go missing. I really enjoyed the mystery aspect and the sneaking about with Jane.
- The story setting takes place between Baltimore a supposedly zombie-free area and a new community smack in the middle of Kansas. Ireland brought both settings to life and really made me feel as if I were there in the thick of things.
- Well developed secondary characters were unique and further enhanced the story. They adding credibility, interest and sometimes a little humor to the world. I loved the enemies to friends relationship that developed between Jane and her schoolmate Katherine.
- Listening to Dread Nation was fantastic! Bahni Turpin not only captured our protagonist Jane, but she really brought the story to life using voices, tone and pacing to propel the story forward. The author’s writing style lends perfectly to the audio format, and I found myself pulled into the tale she wove.
- This is first in series by the same name, and while the ending delivered new developments Ireland closed the current threads while setting up the next book.
[bctt tweet=”Dread Nation by Justina Ireland shared rich history, zombies and a brave protagonist. Narrated by Bahui Turpin this is a #mustlisten for fans of alternate history. #JIAM #loveaudiobooks” username=”kimbacaffeinate”]
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
Oh, this one sounds good! I’ll have to get that one from the library.
I hope they have the audiobook Darlene. The narration was wonderful.
I have wanted to get this one for a while. I love that she is kick ass! A must read!
Yes! I cannot wait for the next one <3
Genni @ Ready, Set, Read!
I’ve been wanting to physically read this for a while, but I just might have to listen to it! I love audiobooks, especially when the narrator embodies the character. Glad to see that you enjoyed it. 🙂 I’ll be bumping this up on my TBR.
This was made for audio. Happy listening!
Kimberly @ Book Swoon
I’m a fan of alternate historical fiction so I’m definitely excited to see how Ms. Ireland switches things up, especially during the Civil War and with zombies in the background, no less! I can’t wait to meet Jane – she sounds like a fierce heroine.
This is fantastic Kimberly! Enjoy 🙂
JJ @ This Dark Material
I’ve had my eye on this one for a little bit. I’m really glad that the historical accuracy is on point—at least, as much as it needs to be in a zombie re-imagining—and that the ending isn’t a total cliffhanger. Great review, Kimberly!
It was and it sheds some light on some of the laws/acts we passed that made me cringe.
Jessica @ a GREAT read
OOh nice! I have this on in my pile to read somewhere! Lol! I traded for it awhile back because I thought it would be interesting to read about a twisted history with zombies! Glad to hear you enjoyed it, but a little bummed to hear that the zombie invasion/fights aren’t a big part of the story. Lol! Great review!
We see great action scenes with zombies Jessica, and it looks like we will see more in the next installment. This was fantastic, so I hope you read it.
Kristin (Book Sniffers Anonymous)
This book sounds so amazing. I’m glad to hear that the narrator did a phenomenal job with the book. I will have to see if my library has the audiobook in.
I hope they do. If not you’ll have to ask them to order it!
Melissa (Books and Things)
Oh this sounds good and something I would enjoy! You actually caught my attention with alternative history more than zombies if you can believe it. Of course for me zombies make me want it more. Brilly review!
I love alternate histories too Melissa. The zombies are really a side thread and we do see some altercations with them.
I really loved this book too. I can’t wait to get the second book. I just love Jane so much. Bahni Turpin really nailed the narration. I was so excited when I saw she was the narrator. Great review.
Thanks Mel. This was my first time with Turpin and I loved her.
If you haven’t tried Downside Ghosts by Stacia Kane, Turpin is the narrator. Great UF series. One of my favorite.
Suzanne @ The Bookish Libra
This sounds brilliant! I may try this on audio too since I’m starting to get more into the audiobooks lately. Great review!
The narrator is impressive Suzanne I hope you listen.
Katherine @ I Wish I Lived in a Library
I’ve seen this one but never got past the zombie issue so I really hadn’t thought of picking it up. You definitely have me reconsidering. This sounds interesting and unique.
Yes! It was wonderful Katherine
ZOmbies at that time!! Yes please! Can I have some more
LOL. My thoughts exactly 🙂
I really do want to read this one so I’m so glad you loved it Kim! I know I have it somewhere in my pile of books on my kindle. I’ll have to bump it up.
Yay. I am glad you have it Ali. Enjoy!
Oh yes I saw this one on another blog!
Cool. I hoped they loved it too.
I find myself drawn to the historical background and setting. Sounds like a mesmerizing read. Thanks for the post.
I love alternate histories.
A fabulous review, Kimberly – many thanks for sharing this one… I’ll keep an eye for this:)
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
We all have those buzzwords that get us to perk right up and ‘alternate history’ is one of mine. This one sounds like a good blend of action, suspense, social history, and a great heroine.
Me too Sophia. I hope you decide to listen!
a not zombie zombie book, nice. I guess that makes sense, once the zombies settle in life goes on right?
Yes, it is after the mass chaos when folks have built walls etc.
Ooooh I love zombie reads, I have a tab purely for them on my blog (and a linky for other bloggers to leave their reviews and recommends!) I will need to check this out, thanks! xxx
I hope that you do!
Angie @ Ba_BAMB
Horror isn’t my thing (living alone has turned me into a wuss…LOL) but this book does sound interesting. I love alternate takes on history, even if they could really happen!
Great review. 🙂
I hope you decide to try it Angie <3
Oh wow this sounds really good even with Zombies. Thanks Kim
LOL. The zombies aren’t the main focus 🙂
I do admit to the mention of zombies giving me pause, Kimberly, but I love the historical elements, Jane sounds amazing, and the narration is fantastic! So guess what’s going into my Audible cart momentarily? 😉 Thanks for putting this one on my radar!
Zombies are present but not the focus. I am excited you will be listening.
Aj @ Read All The Things!
I read this book instead of listening to it, but I liked it. Jane is a very intriguing character. I want to know what happens to her next. I need the sequel right now. Great review!
Hahaha..yes I want the next book as well.
I actually like zombie stories, plus this one in an historical setting?! Now that’s worth checking out. I’m glad you enjoyed this story Kim 🙂
I hope you do. I loved it.
I read a zombie book recently that left me feeling disappointed and thinking no more zombie books. This, however sounds exciting so I think I will give it a try.
Do it Nadene. This was so good.
Bee (Quite The Novel Idea / Novel Ink)
I am hesitant about zombie books, but I do want to read this one because it sounds SO good and all kinds of awesome! Definitely will try to pick it up soon. Great review!
The zombies are present and while there are a few attacks, the characters and experiences are the focus.
I listened to this on Audio also and it blew my mind with how good it was.
Wahoo! I am happy to hear you loved it as well Hillary.
Damn, I should’ve grabbed this sooner! Definitely going to dive into this one. Now … audio or book … decisions decisions …
I hope you grab it. The audio is fantastic.