As a black girl born in July of 1863, in the South no less, Jane McKeene did not have a promising future ahead of her. Her birth just so happened to coincide with the dead rising from the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville. The dead have plagued the United States ever since. A divided nation agreed on re-education acts that required black and native American children to be trained to put down the dead. Jane is in training to be an Attendant, a young woman set as a personal bodyguard for wealthy women.
I love this, because of course white people would make minorities do the dirty work. It makes a sick amount of sense. Ireland's vision of how 19th century society re-arranges itself around the constant threat of attacks from the dead was entertaining and sobering. This novel works as an action and adventure story, raises issues of social justice, and provides a few key perspectives on life in the 19th century.
'Dread Nation' is the first zombie book since 'World War Z' that kept my attention. Don't even get me started on films and television. My fellow readers who have become numb to anything zombie related, I ask that you check this out. Jane and Co.'s struggle to save themselves and others from the undead as well as other humans is a great teen read full of humor and adventure, may wake you up to the possibilities of the zombie genre again.