Author: Justina Ireland
Title: Dread Nation
Series: Dread Nation 1
Genre: Alternative History, Zombies
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads
Character-wise this book was like a gust of fresh air. For instance, our main hero is a young black woman warrior with attitude befitting someone with her skill and their underestimation. Yet, story-wise, the book was very mediocre.
About: The war between states of America has come to a halt when dead started rising on the battlefields, and killing the living. Like a plague they run over the whole nation, and possibly beyond that. Some say it is because slavery has been made illegal. Others care not for this nonsense, and still treat the colored folk as secondary. Which led to schools of combat made especially for them, where people of color were taught to fight and defend.
In some places in America there are walled off safe havens. But safety is relative in places where dead don’t stay dead. Jane McKeen could almost smell her graduation from Miss Preston’s School of Combat as her life got flipped, and the core of it might just lie in one of those places. It all started mildly. Like a lord turning into a shambler mid-ball. Then one of the best families in Baltimore disappeared, leaving everything behind. Next thing you know, she has been packed off to defend one of these undefendable forts people called havens. She was put in lines of poorly trained brothers and sisters of color. She was given weapons which wouldn’t cut grass, let alone zombies. And she was told not to kill, unless necessary… But once hordes come in, of creatures seemingly smarter than the stuff she killed before, she makes her mind up. To survive, and to get some damn answers.
Mine: Somewhere in the background there’s zombies, hordes of them, crawling through forests and planes. Those who died recently are fast, agile. Those who died before are slower, but gather in greater numbers. They are seemingly evolving too… And yet all we get to read about are intrigues, crushes, lies, politics, brutes, and Jane’s want to get away from every place she lands in. She complains about how her weapons are trash for long, long chapters, and yet kills things easy enough. In fact, everyone kills with little to no taste of horror in the air, even when lines are broken, and things start roaming in the streets. It seems all we get is this one narrow bubble with, well, no feeling to it. The only reason it wasn’t boring was Jane herself. I said time and again, a good character can save your lack of plot any day. Jane’s the only reason I’ll continue with the further books, with hopes they’ll improve story-wise. How do you make a zombie book so very… Not?
I don’t know, I didn’t like the way the story was told much. I’ll give it a wobbly 4 out of 5, only because the characters were interesting.