‘Dread Nation’ – Justina Ireland

Jane McKeene is a gutsy young woman, and thank goodness because she ends up in all manner of awful situations and her special set of skills and bullish nature come in very useful.

When we first meet Jane she is training, learning how to be an Attendant keeping white people safe from the threat known as the shamblers. We’re in a world like no other – an historical setting but overrun with zombies. She has a love/ hate relationship with fellow student Katherine (whom she delights in calling Kate because it annoys her) and there is something she is keeping secret about her friendship with Jack.

Unfortunately, many no longer believe the shamblers are a real threat now. When this is shown to be foolish, some are determined not to give up their privileged position. The Mayor and one of the school assistants engineer a situation where Jane and Kate are sent away.

Told they are going to help patrol and keep the new town safe, the girls have to use their wits to stay alive. They are – quite rightly – suspicious of what is going on. As more and more secrets are uncovered, Jane has to come up with increasingly risky plans to ensure their survival.

The setting for this world is a strange mix of historical and modern. Jane is a great main character and there are some really interesting details given about her mother to suggest that what comes next will be good.