Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

Updated: Jan 18, 2019

"This book is only based on my strong opinion of the book and not influenced by the love/hate of the author”

Title: Dread Nation

Author: Justina Ireland

Published: April 3rd 2018 by Balzer + Bray

Genre: Historical Fiction

ISBN: 0062570609 (ISBN13: 9780062570604)

Pages: 455

Cost: $21.99 CAN


"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."

I got this novel from a book subscription called Page Habit, at first I might have thought that this book was totally going to be a disappointment but I was surprisingly very wrong.


The first thing that I have noticed about this book was the fact that the edges of the pages were uncut (something that I have always disliked). The cover is eye-catching (dark and mysterious) which makes me wonder about the story, and excuse me but a POC character, YES! OK, here is where the book turned for a worse personally, the summary.

  1. “The dead began to walk” I dislike anything that has to do with zombies. If I wouldn’t have gotten this book for free in my subscription, it would of right then and there gotten back on the self of the store.

  2. The word “Negro”. I was reading this summary out loud near people and, of course, I stumble on this word. ^?

  3. “Protect the well-to-do” Some slang I could not understand and would need to guess mostly about but now that I read the book I know this means “the rich”.

  4. I am not a fan of history in books; I am not here to get lectures but rather just escape in a new world.

  5. I believe that the book summary didn’t peek my curiosity. And therefore again I wouldn’t have purchased this novel.

Oh boy am-I so happy to have been so wrong on this book’s first expression.

“This always happens when I start talking about complicated stuff with people. In my head, the ideas are so clear and make perfect sense, but when the words come out they’re a mess.”


The story never felt long (even if there were 451 pages) there was always actions or a plot twist happening. Like any book there is always a love story, but rather than developing an intimate love relationship between two people the author decided to pursue the aspect of friendship. Two girls from different worlds who hated each other have no choice but to protect one another to survive, then maybe they realize how much they actually mean to each other. Every character actually had an important role to play, and the best part was that the author did not drag them along for every part of the book. Not only is this book based on history and shows the importance of black culture it as well deliberately showcases feminist since the two main women characters are constantly being undervalued.

“I don’t like you because you’re arrogant and self-important. You could be so much better than you are, but you’re too selfish to see it.”


The book had so many pages but I didn’t mind as much since the book was so well elaborated. When the book shift to its halfway mark I lost a tad of interest in what was going on because there was no development for a while (but don’t get me wrong it was still very satisfying). I did not totally enjoy how the book ended, yes it did lead us to know what will happen in the second book but there was no real joy of a chapter ending. The book just left me with a feeling of, “OK, so that’s it”, I would have rather seen it go through all the way or at least till they reach the new safe zone.

“In here with this boy I don’t know, this is the calmest I’ve felt all week.”

“And I swear that ain’t just the fluttering feeling I’m getting from seeing him lying in a bed half-naked, either.”


The author did a great job bringing out so many emotions that I had about Jane Mckeene’s life story (and some others). I am not one that loves reliving the past since I cannot bare to witness so many unspeakable things that have happened to innocent people but in this case, these situations were educating and did develop the story.

In this book, I have also learned what is aro-ace (aromantic, asexual). While reading this book I didn’t actually know that this was an actual community of people (feelings), until I read, “shady boots | #TeamMizCracker ” on Goodreads. You can obviously see that Katherine is full out aro-ace while Jane is only affectionate with some certain individual. Yet again this book has opened my eyes to another subject that people could get educated about and I learned that not everyone is the same.


This would be a book that would make you fall in love with reading all over again. From history, self-finding, and education this book has different life-lessons for any individuals reading it. It deserves a 5 star since the author incorporated so much information/emotions/education into one book. At the same time, the author didn’t forget that this book was as well fiction, therefore, it didn’t feel like a history lesson.


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