I’d been looking for an alt history to break into that genre for a while but wasn’t entirely set on it until Read Harder made one the focus of task 2. I’m glad they did and that I found this one in particular. Dread Nation is about zombies arising in the middle of the American Civil War and changing everything.
Okay, maybe not everything. Just because there are zombies, does not mean that people are going to stop being terrible to each other as they grasp for ever greater power on the backs of others, not the people that were capable of it in the first place. Ireland stays true to the era and builds a story that pulled me in. I’m excited for the next installment. Unfortunately, the next one isn’t coming out until February next year, so I’ll have to remember patience.
The protagonist of this story is Jane McKeene and she has a bit of a sordid history. The reader learns more about her as the story progresses but the one thing that is clear from the beginning is that she is a great fighter and much smarter than anyone in that era would have given her credit for, or any of her cohorts. The story pulls together in a way that the reader never really knows who Jane can trust and who’s out to get her but that sounds true to the time for a former slave.
Jane is the kind of female protagonist I love most. She’s aware of her shortcomings and the way she gets herself into trouble but always has some sort of justification. It’s fun in fivtion, no matter how much I want to strangle people like her in real life. The thing is, in a story like this, I completely get it. People toy with her life because of her inferior status despite her real worth in anything as important as her ability to fight a zombie. Honestly, zombies plus post-Civil War hypocrisy was always gonna make for a fun, especially with a smart protagonist that would have been a slave and still isn’t treated much better than one.