Series Report: Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

Posted October 30, 2020 by Angie in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

The walking dead in post-Civil War era America! Starring Black girls! Starring queer girls! Starring queer Black girls kicking ass and taking names! If that doesn’t pique your interest, I don’t know what will.

In Dread Nation we’re introduced to Jane and Katherine, two Black girls being trained to kill zombies and protect delicate white women. Such is life for POC in this world. The author goes deep into racism and colorism in these books. It never feels heavy or preachy, but it definitely sets the tone for this desolate world. Jane is our narrator, and she is a riot! I loved her voice. Katherine is her frenemy who becomes a narrator in the sequel; she’s “passing fair” and aro/ace! She’s more ladylike than her companion, but no less deadly as the girls take on a zombie hoard in the midst of Kansas.

Deathless Divide didn’t hold my attention quite as well as the first book. Not just because it’s long. It’s slow. But I suppose that comes with the territory of a world where it takes seven days to travel between San Francisco and Sacramento. Also, I didn’t quite believe Jane’s thirst for vengeance, which is the driving force of this sequel. The man in question actually did save her life whether she wants to admit that or not. Sure his methods and treatment of others were completely heinous, but I never believed Jane to be that selfless. She does right wrongs when she sees them, but this seemed more personal, and I just didn’t fully get on board.

Despite my minor complains, this series is absolutely worth a read. I read both books back-to-back like one epic novel and it worked.

About Each Book

Series Report: Dread Nation by Justina IrelandDread Nation (Dread Nation, ) by Justina Ireland
Published by Balzer + Bray on April 3, 2018
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Historical, Science Fiction, LGBTQ
Format: eBook (418 pages)
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Purchase: Amazon
Add Book: GoodreadsBookhype

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.


Series Report: Dread Nation by Justina IrelandDeathless Divide (Dread Nation, ) by Justina Ireland
Published by Balzer + Bray on February 4, 2020
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Historical, Science Fiction, LGBTQ
Format: Hardcover (560 pages)
Source: Library
Purchase: Amazon
Add Book: GoodreadsBookhype

After the fall of Summerland, Jane McKeene hoped her life would get simpler: Get out of town, stay alive, and head west to California to find her mother.

But nothing is easy when you're a girl trained in putting down the restless dead, and a devastating loss on the road to a protected village called Nicodemus has Jane questioning everything she thought she knew about surviving in 1880's America.

What's more, this safe haven is not what it appears - as Jane discovers when she sees familiar faces from Summerland amid this new society. Caught between mysteries and lies, the undead, and her own inner demons, Jane soon finds herself on a dark path of blood and violence that threatens to consume her.

But she won't be in it alone.

Katherine Deveraux never expected to be allied with Jane McKeene. But after the hell she has endured, she knows friends are hard to come by - and that Jane needs her, too, whether Jane wants to admit it or not.

Watching Jane's back, however, is more than she bargained for, and when they both reach a breaking point, it's up to Katherine to keep hope alive - even as she begins to fear that there is no happily-ever-after for girls like her.


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