Dread Nation
Momma Leighellen's Book Review

“It’s a cruel, cruel world. And the people are the worst part.”

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland, is a YA action packed thriller about Civil War zombie slayers. This is the book about zombies I didn’t know I needed! I have to admit, I’ve never actually read a book about zombies. My bad. I had no idea what to expect. This is a well written historical fiction book based in a post Civil War era that is full of heart. And zombies.

Dread Nation History

“I learned that I can be ruthless when I need to and merciful when I am able.”

The author based the story on the original American practice of removing native children from their homes and placing them in training schools. This practice strips them of their heritage & culture in an attempt to make them more white. In this tale, she sets this practice against the backdrop of slavery and Gettysburg creating a powerful narrative of what it means to be truly free.

Dread Nation follows two young black women, Jane + Kate. They are previously students at a training academy that instructs black girls on becoming an Attendant. An Attendant is a job that serves & protects white owners from zombie attacks. The girls start off as enemies in the school but soon become friends when they both get shipped off to a new town in the middle of nowhere.


Kate pretends to be a white mistress and Jane is her Attendant. They have to work together to uncover of a plot to use the undead for work. Fun, fast paced, and smart it is easy to root for Jane & Kate as they seek ways to gain their freedom.

“People care less about doing the right thing than they do about being safe.”

Go in to this ready to have some action packed fun but also learn a thing or two in the process. I loved the strong female leads and the focus on friendship & doing what’s right for others. The plot remains focussed on the friendship and quest for freedom. But there is a sweet side story of Jane missing her mom that tugs at your heartstrings.

The sequel to Dread Nation is already out! It is called Deathless Divide and you can find out more about it from Justina Ireland here. To see more great reviews from Leighellen, check out more on her blog.

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