Are zombies still a pop culture trend? Regardless of their status, Justina Ireland's Dread Nation is a must-read for any zombie or historical retelling fan. Inspired by Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Ireland's novel features a biracial protagonist growing up in Post-Reconstruction America in the 1880's, plus zombies! Jane's biggest problem isn't the undead though, it's the racism prevalent within 19th century society. At the age of 12, Jane was required by the Native and Negro Reeducation Act to attend combat school to train as an attendant- a warrior who protects the wealthy, white families of society. As Jane approaches the end of her training, she wants nothing more than to return to her home and mother when families start disappearing mysteriously around Baltimore County. As Jane begins to investigate, she is thrust into a conspiracy that brings her up against some powerful enemies.
Dread Nation explores themes of racism, classism, feminism, sexism, and bigotry wrapped up in the pop-culture guise of a fun zombie apocalypse romp. If you're a fan of The Walking Dead, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, historical fiction, or any other zombie type media, I recommend giving this a try!