Wednesday, May 16, 2018

I Would Have Liked More Zombies

TITLE: Dread Nation
AUTHOR: Justina Ireland
PUBLISHER: Balzer & Bray
PUBLISHING DATE: April 3, 2018

FROM GOODREADS:  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.

MY THOUGHTS: Part of the fun of reading "Dread Nation" for me was that I did it as a buddy read with a fellow blogger who is not a fan of horror. Now while for me, this was "horror-lite," I am proud of Maria for taking the plunge and I know that both of us are now anxious for the next installment which unfortunately doesn't come out until next year. 

So "Dread Nation" centers around Jane, an African American who has been sent to a type of "finishing school" except that it is for minorities and their primary goals are learning how to kill zombies and protect the wealthy Caucasians. Some things happen and in order to "get rid of Jane," she and some of her friends are sent out West to a new settlement. They soon discover how seedy a situation they are in and Jane gets in more trouble as the book progresses.

So first I have to say that "Dread Nation" is full of despicable characters. In fact, if you look at the weekly discussions Maria and I posted on our blog, you will see that we use that word quite a lot. However, I also think Ireland has created a gem of a character in Jane. She is strong, opinionated, and stubborn. She sets her sights on something and doesn't give up. She's also extremely smart. Although Jane doesn't always make decision I backed while reading, I felt her heart and soul were in the right places. I also loved her developing friendship with another girl at the finishing school - Katherine. Or as Jane loves to call her (because she hates it) - Kate. Early on the reader can see that despite not liking each other, these two are destined for friendship. 

I know there has been a lot of controversy regarding some aspects of this book. My rating doesn't reflect those because to be honest, I primarily read it for enjoyment. Also, I have to add that another friend of mine read and ARC of this and usually we are on the same page with books. However, she didn't like "Dread Nation" as much as I did and I think it's because initially, we were both expecting more horror and zombies. Since she warned me there wasn't a lot present, I do think it paved the way for me enjoying the book more. With all that said, I definitely want to see what is in store next for Jane and her friends. And secretly, I'm hoping for a few more zombies!

RATING: 4 PAWS

29 comments:

  1. I don't know if I could stand many despicable characters around Jane, but she sounds *fantastic*!

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    1. She really is. She's not perfect but that makes her better!

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  2. This does sound fascinating! I'll have to pick it up; I've been thinking about it.

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  3. I need to squeeze this in! I'm glad for the "zombie light" warning, though. Yours is the first review that I've read that mentions that.

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    1. I really think it helps knowing that going into it. If people are expecting horror, they will probably be disappointed.

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  4. I totally agree. Jane is a great character, but I wanted more zombies. Still, I’m excited to read the next book. Great review!

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

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    1. Me too. I wish it wasn't such a long wait!

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  5. I had a feeling this would end up being horror-lite. I'm glad I passed on this one. It does sound good, but, I like my horror full strength (and always more zombies!)

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    1. I found the alternate history aspect interesting but yes, more zombies would have made it better!

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  6. The lack of zombies and lots of horrible characters are conspiring to put me off reading this book!

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    1. I really think you would find this kind of slow. I know you like more action. Although I do think you'd like Jane. Now the others, you'd want to feed them to the zombies.

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    2. That can be fun if they do get fed to the zombies!

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  7. Good to know going in that it's horror-lite. I'll probably end up borrowing it from Overdrive.

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    1. I can't wait to see what you think of this one!

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  8. Sorry there weren't more zombies, but JAne sounds like a great character! Glad you liked this!

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    1. I really did. I think my expectations were low because I had heard from a friend there was a lack of zombie action. It may have helped my reading experience.

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  9. I've seen a lot of conflicting reviews for this one, and I don't think it's a good fit for me. It feels like historical fiction with zombies, lol. I'm glad it ended up working for you!

    L @ Do You Dog-ear?

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  10. I would always want more zombies but this is one that I do want to read. I might try the audio and I am encouraged now that I know you enjoyed it. Great review, Barb!

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    1. You know, I kind of feel like that about The Walking Dead now too - where did all the zombie action go????

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  11. This one is still on my TBR! Glad to hear you enjoyed it! :)

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    1. Can't wait to hear your thoughts!

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  12. It was cool being able to follow your progress with your read-along. I'm glad you enjoyed it! And haha, yes, who doesn't want more zombies :D

    ~Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

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  13. I'm glad for Maria that this wasn't really horror, but I wonder why this was marketed as horror in the first place? I guess a lot of "zombie books" get labeled that way by default. I'm glad you got a heads up going into reading it. :)

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  14. OF COURSE you would want more zombies in this book, as well as more blood and gore! Lol. Well, "chicken heart me" was VERY glad there wasn't as much of that in this novel! But there were plenty of other interesting elements in it that I adored! For starters, Jane is such a STRONG, DYNAMIC female hero!! And I was SO glad that she and Katherine ended up as good friends! I also loved Jane's snarky comments about the prevalent racism of the time.

    So I did find plenty to enjoy in this novel, except for certain things I really hated.... You know what those are! :)

    Btw, I just realized something -- all that talk in the book, by the prominent whites in the story -- about returning America to its previous "glory days", reminded me of all the talk by the infamous Trump of "making America great again". These are the satirical elements of this novel that I thoroughly enjoyed!

    I'm sorry you were disappointed by the near lack of "zombie action", Barb! But don't worry, perhaps Ireland will include more of this in the sequel! I'm looking forward to buddy reading it with you, too!! :) :)

    Thanks for your insightful review! And I'm glad you're proud of me for taking the plunge! Lol.

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

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