Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Dread Nation 'Rise Up' by Justina Ireland

I'm not a big fan of zombie books- as a matter of fact, I don't think I've read any of them because they just don't appeal to me.  However, this one was getting some buzz on twitter, and I liked the historical aspect of it. 

Dread Nation 'Rise Up' is set just after the American Civil War when after the Gettysburg Battle, the dead started rising and devouring the soldiers.  Fast-forward 14 years and the story begins with Jane McKeene and her schooling at Miss Preston's School of Combat for Negro Girls.  At this school, black children learn to fight the undead. They learn how to handle weapons and learn proper etiquette so they can be Attendants to the upper class in the South.  Jane struggles to follow the rules, she likes to explore, find as much information as she can and do things her own way. This gets her into a great deal of trouble at times, and she worries she will never make a good Attendant.  However, when Jane and another young woman Katherine, who always plays by the rules, get thrown together, they have to learn  how to survive and save the people around them from becoming one of the shamblers

I found this book to be interesting to read on a few levels.  The plot of the story was fun to read.  Jane is quite the adventurer- I like how inquisitive she is -even when it gets her in trouble.  She is my kind of main character.  She's tough, strong, smart and sassy.  I liked how Katherine had a lot of the same traits, but went about her life somewhat differently than Jane.   I also found it really interesting to read about life in the South, after the war that was supposed to end slavery and how things didn't really change.  The fact that rich, white men held all the power in this book rings true to some of what we see in society today.  I couldn't help but draw parallels to many current events.  There was even talk about residential schools for First Nations - although that wasn't a big part of the novel. 

I think this is probably just the first book in a series of books.  I'm not sure I would pick up the next one right away, but the story of Jane and her quest to not only save the world from shamblers, but also to find her family is compelling.  I do have some lingering questions about where she will go next and what will happen to her and her friends, which means I will probably order the next book. 

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