Thursday, May 3, 2018

Dread Nation Buddy Read Update #2

When Maria and I started the endeavor, she told me that sometimes she is a slower reader.  I read pretty fast so I was pacing myself and reading other stuff along the way.  Well, imagine my surprise when Maria told me she finished this past weekend.  Now don't worry, we still have a few more updates for you guys but I guess I could say my leading Maria into the dark side (at least for this book) was a success!

So here are some more of our thoughts and questions and make sure you hop over to Maria's blog HERE to see what I asked her!

WARNING:  This may contain SPOILERS so if you have't read the book and plan to, you might want to skip this post.

Maria:  I was struck by the fact that Jane's mom made it a point to buy up the "worst of the worst" of slaves, so as to give them a second chance on her own plantation. She would also buy up families, so that they wouldn't be separated. I really admired that about her, and was surprised that a white woman of that time would be so compassionate. What did you think of this, especially in light of a later revelation about her

Barb:  I am not sure Jane's Mom was "sold" on this whole idea of slavery.  I think it's great that she was willing to give people second chances and I personally think that by having Jane is her life, she was able to be more empathetic toward other slaves.  Of course, we can also assume she probably wasn't TOO prejudice because she did sleep with Jane's father.

Maria:  I couldn't stand Rachel, a former slave, when I read about her in Chapter 11. She hated Rachel's mother, saying that "...the missus weren't no lady afore she married the major......" and "She ain't nothing but rabble, she ain't got no class...." She also complained that Jane's mother "....wasn't doing things right. Not enough whippings, not enough discipline, too many Negroes forgetting their place." I found this woman to be such a HUGE contrast to Auntie Aggie, and the other aunties!

Barb:  This book definitely does not have a shortage of despicable people!

Maria:  Jane dreamed about Rachel the night before the fateful dinner at the mayor's house, and she thus felt this was a bad omen. Do you agree, or do you think this was just a coincidence?

Barb:  I really don't think it was an omen but I know in that day, a lot of faith was put in omens and prophecies and I think because Jane was not well accepted, she hung on to her beliefs that much more stronger.  I can fully understand why Jane felt it was an omen.  We can often find things that aren't there if we look for them hard enough.

Maria:  I think that the ongoing contrast between the ideologies of the Survivalists and the Egalitarians echoes the conflicts between the Republicans and the Democrats in our own time. So I feel the author was using this as a commentary on the differences between the two parties regarding bigotry and racial discrimination. Do you think this was intentional on her part?

Barb: Oh I definitely think this was intentional.  Follow her on Twitter - she doesn't keep her feelings  hidden much.  I think the whole book has mirrored a lot of what is going on in the world today.  However, I really do try to keep Politics out of it because I prefer reading for enjoyment :)  That being said, I think Ireland really hit in the right time to publish "Dread Nation."

Maria:  How ironic and HORRIBLE that Jane actually saved Miss Anderson's life, and that woman was not at all grateful! And Mayor Carr said that, although the Preston girls had again saved lives, he wished "they were a bit more discreet in their work." DISGUSTING. How could people behave like this in such a situation? If Jane hadn't acted as quickly as she did, Miss A would have been history! (Not that I would have minded much, lol.)

Barb:  She should have let her die.  (This is coming from the person who has no problems with characters dying in books).

Maria:  My question about the letters was answered in Chapter 16. I can't BELIEVE what an absolutely DESPICABLE person Miss Anderson is! But I was surprised that she returned the letters to Jane. I wonder why she didn't destroy them. That's what I would have expected a horrible, mean person like her to do. Why do you think she didn't destroy do that?

Barb:  Clearly Miss Anderson enjoys being a terrible person and what fun would it be if Jane never found out what she had done.  If she had destroyed them, she would have lost the pleasure she received from hurting Jane so much.

Maria:  What did you think when you read about Jackson's reaction as soon as they all got to Summerland? His escape attempt was immediately stopped by the sheriff's goons. I thought it was interesting that Jane had a calmer, more rational reaction. Do you think this is a contrast in male vs. female behavior in this type of circumstance, or instead, a contrast between two temperaments -- one cool, and the other impulsive?

Barb: I don't know that I really thought about it being a male or female thing.  I think we have seen how impulsive Jackson has been the entire book thus far so his actions were completely in character.  Jane has always been the more pensive, methodical one.

Maria:  What did you think of Jane's reaction to Katherine's disgust at the implication that they might have to work in "a house of ill repute"? This incident had some humor in it, despite the terrible situation Jane and Kate were in.

Barb:  I think Jane knew her reaction would get a rise from Katherine.  Also, given how Katherine was brought up, her reaction is certainly understandable.

So I hope you enjoyed reading our thoughts.  I should be finished with this book as you read this and I can't wait to hear how it ends.  Stormi has eluded all along that it sets up a sequel and now we know there is one.  Wonder what happens????


  1. I have to say, I am really curious about this one now. I have seen it but wasn’t sure if it would be something I would enjoy, but I think I would now. :)

  2. I did enjoy reading your thoughts - thanks. This is a book that I would definitely like to pick up at some point.
    Lynn :D

  3. I am loving this back and forth, you guys! This book is so good, and omg god, you weren't kidding about it having despicable people in it.

  4. I had to skip the post sadly as I do still plan to read the book!

  5. I'm skipping too as I plan to read this at some point. Maybe I'll jump back into the conversation later!

  6. Great discussion! I agree that this book has a lot of bad guys. It’ll be interesting to see what they do in the next books.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

  7. Yes there were definitely a lot of despicable people in this book! In a way, I think the author made them too predictable/stereotypical, but like you said, I think she was driving at using this book as commentary.

    ~Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

  8. Oh, Barb, SO sorry for the late comment back....I've been in a funk, as I explained in my message to you on Goodreads. Suffice it to say that I am now looking for some extra work.

    Well, I'm making an attempt to catch up with all my replies and comments back now.

    I was surprised myself at not being able to put down this book! I did try to slow things down, although there came a point where I just couldn't RESIST finding out how it all ended!! Lol.

    Well, for the most part, I really liked this book! I say "for the most part", because there was a very shocking revelation at the end that REALLY surprised and disappointed me.... Of course I won't mention it here. :) Other readers might not let this bother them, but it certainly bothered me.

    Okay, on to your answers and comments!

    The fact that Jane's mom was willing to give slaves a second chance really made me like her a LOT! I was happy to see that!! (Of course, now I know the real reason she did that, but it was STILL admirable.)

    Yes, Rachel was certainly one of the book's despicable people! To think that a former SLAVE would talk like she did!!

    Yes, the people of that time put a lot of stock in such things as omens and prophecies. Superstitions abounded. But in the case of Jane's lucky penny, it DID serve her as a warning device. In the case of this dream, I do think that the author intended it as foreshadowing. Our heroes were about to be transported into an environment in which the conditions of slavery were very much in evidence.

    I, too, think that "Dread Nation" is very relevant to the current political situation. I think this aspect of the novel is a HUGE part of its appeal. Although I do read for entertainment myself, I really enjoy it when an author does this type of thing! Ireland's use of satire throughout the book was rapier-sharp!!

    Miss A. wins my award for "Most Despicable Character in 'Dread Nation'"!! Lol. Jane SAVED her life, for Pete's sake!! And look how she "rewarded" Jane!!! I agree that she returned the letters to Jane in order to enjoy Jane's distress on seeing them. Too bad a zombie didn't get that BLASTED Miss A.!!

    I think you're right about the differences between Jane's and Jackson's reactions when their train arrived in Summerland. Jackson is indeed the impulsive type, while Jane has a cooler head. In the end, she achieves much better results through cold, calculated planning!

    Yes, Jane does enjoy seeing Katherine's disgust at certain things. In her opinion, Katherine thinks too highly of herself. I thought the contrast between the two girls was very well brought out here. Jane is certainly not as 'finicky' as Katherine is! Lol. They ARE definitely becoming friends, though!!

    Well, I must say I have GREATLY enjoyed this buddy read, Barb!! I'm looking forward to your thoughts at the end! AND I'm looking forward to reading that sequel with you, too!!

    Please say "thanks" to Booker T. for helping me ward off those DARN zombies, as well as for convincing you to stop hounding me (pun intended!) about that new Stephen King book! Lol.

    HUGS TO YOU AND THE PUPS, AND WOOF, WOOF TO THEM!!! <3 <3 <3 :) :) :)

  9. oh ok thanks for the warning about the spoilers. I'm reading it now so I'll be back to comment when I'm done :)

  10. I will have to come back and read all of the thoughts after I've read Dread Nation. It sounds like this was a great book to ease her into horror. I hope she stays! :)

  11. I can't wait to give this one a go!

  12. This book was sited for being insensitive to Native American history by the American Indian in Children's Literature Association. The author has dragged a few other authors on Twitter and Goodreads for perceived "racism", one from a synopsis alone because there weren't even any ARCs out yet, and another using out of context quotes attributed to the MC, when they were spoken by other characters. When she was told of the problems with her book the AICL found, all she said was "I don't read reviews". This wasn't a review it was an assessment by a Native American Lit professor who sits on several national literary boards. She had dragged other authors for less than is in her book, but refuses to discuss about what she wrote in hers. :(

    1. Maria actually sent me some links to some of this earlier this week. I follow her on Twitter (but don't pay a lot of attention) but do know she is quite the "activist" on her feed. It really has muddied my perception of the book some. Strictly for enjoyment, I liked it, but with all that has been going on, I'd be lying to say it hasn't tainted my opinion some.