What We're Reading: Dread Nation

Submitted by Durham Tech Library on

[caption id="attachment_4424" align="aligncenter" width="198"]dread nation by justina ireland book cover Available at the OCC Library on the New Book shelf[/caption] This book was enthusiastically read by Meredith Lewis, Orange County Campus Librarian. Genre: Revisionist Zombie Historical Fiction, Supernatural fiction [not sure if it's fantasy or science-fiction-- I'm waiting for the next  books in the series to figure out how those zombies became zombies!] #ReadGreatThings2018 Category: A book with a supernatural creature [yup], A book that takes place during a historical event 50 years or more in the past [Reconstruction-era America... but with zombies] Find out more about the Read Great Things Challenge here. Why did you choose to read this book?

Honestly, it was one of several this year that I read about, had a great premise, and also got really good reviews. I often wonder if books are as good as everyone says they are and this is one of several I've read lately that have lived up to their hype --see: Children of Blood and Bone (reviewed on the blog here, The Hate U Give, and I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter. Despite the great reviews, I was a little torn because I actually hate zombies. A lot. If a zombie apocalypse actually ever occurs, I'll have a hard time not just giving up because it's too bleak. I don't want dead people-like things eating my face. 
What did you like about it?
This is going to sound strange, but it was a really sassy and hopeful book. So it takes place during the Reconstruction era after the Civil War, except the war was finished because zombies started rising from the battlefield. Afterwards, newly freed slaves (and Native peoples, another interesting aspect to the book) are sent to combat schools to learn to kill the undead. Our intrepid heroine Jane is ready to graduate from Miss Preston's School of Combat when... well, things go crazy and I don't want to spoil the wonderful plot twists for you. Despite all the undead, Jane is always plotting on how to make her world better and how to get back to her family. In addition to the zombies, it casts a nicely critical eye on race relations and problems when marginalized people are put in opposition to each other. [Can you tell I was an English major? Look at that last sentence.]
Did it remind you of any other book, or a movie?
The deep-seated evilness of several of the characters reminded me of The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. 
Who would you recommend the book to?
I'd recommend this to both people who do like zombies and people who don't like zombies, and any people who like super engaging stories, awesome strong female characters, and are okay waiting for the next book in the series [2019 on Goodreads!]. 
What would you pair this book with? 
Some very sharp sickles. You know, for the zombie slaying.