Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

June 11th, 2018 Kimberly Review 58 Comments

11th Jun
Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
Dread Nation
by Justina Ireland
Series: Dread Nation #1
Narrator: Bahni Turpin
Length: 11 hours and 56 minutes
Genres: Horror, Historical Fiction
Source: Publisher
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star
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.

ZOMBIE historical Diverse Kick Ass Heroine 2018 Fave

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.

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 Click To Tweet
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About Kimberly
Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. Whovian, Ravenclaw, Howler and proud Nonna. She owns and manages Caffeinated PR. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat. Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

58 Responses to “Dread Nation by Justina Ireland”

  1. 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.

  2. 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!

    JJ @ This Dark Material recently posted: down the tbr hole #20
  3. 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!

    • Kimberly

      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.

    • Kimberly

      I love alternate histories too Melissa. The zombies are really a side thread and we do see some altercations with them.

  4. kindlemom1

    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.

  5. sjhigbee

    A fabulous review, Kimberly – many thanks for sharing this one… I’ll keep an eye for this:)

  6. Sophia Rose

    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.

  7. Ailyn Koay

    a not zombie zombie book, nice. I guess that makes sense, once the zombies settle in life goes on right?

  8. 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. 🙂

  9. Bookworm Brandee

    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!

  10. 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!

  11. Vanessa

    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 🙂

    • Kimberly

      The zombies are present and while there are a few attacks, the characters and experiences are the focus.