Title: Dread Nation
Series: Dread Nation #1
Author: Justina Ireland
Publisher: Harper Audio
Narrator: Bahni Turpin
Source: Public Library
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.
The idea is the story takes place shortly after the slaves have been freed and the Whites are having issues accepting those who are not White as equals. The war was fought and no one really won, as the dead from the battle began getting up and attacking their fellow warriors.
There were moments of hilarity, and even the chapter titles will have you laughing. Jane also has a way of being perhaps a little too strong minded at times and gets herself in hard situations. She will also look out for you no matter what. You may have made life hard for her but you do something silly like wear a full corset, and because you can no longer get a full breath can’t keep up with the other girls running to a conference. She may pretend to have something happen knowing you’ll be asked to stay behind with her and you can all catch up to the others at the conference.
I found the book entertaining and enjoyable. I was a bit uncomfortable at times with some of the ideas of the book and would have to remind myself of the time period the story takes place in, and those ideas were just the ideas of that time. Jane’s wit helped to ease my uneasiness. She has a way of expressing things that just make you laugh.
I loved the writing of the story, having Jane’s matter of fact way of stating facts, it brought a little levity to the story. I am very much looking forward to catching up with Jane and the other characters in the next book, Deathless Divide. It’s expected publication is sometime Winter 2020.