bats of the republic

Bats of the Republic by Zachary Thomas Dodson

Bats of the Republic by Zachary Thomas DodsonBats of the Republic by Zachary Thomas Dodson
Published by Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group on October 6th 2015
Source: Publisher
Pages: 480
Buy from IndieBound


In 1843, hoping to earn approval from the father of the woman he loves, Zadock Thomas is sent across the country on a mission to deliver a secret letter deep within the new Republic of Texas. Three hundred years later, the Texas Republic is one of a handful of remaining city-states and keeps its citizens in line through close surveillance. After the death of his high-ranking grandfather, Zeke Thomas inherits an old letter, but loses it before he can see inside. The letter and its contents are the center of Bats of the Republic, linking the stories of Zeke in the future with Zadock in the past.

Finding a way to write an original dystopian novel is no easy task, but Zachary Thomas nails it with Bats of the Republic. The future Thomas creates is intriguing—with people living in Hunger Games-esqe districts based on age for the purpose of procreation—and often had me wanting more. Dystopia in this case it wasn’t lacking originality, but space. I imagine there was quite a bit left on the editing floor in order to make room for the 1843 storyline, which was vital to the book as a whole, but difficult to balance.

More than anything, Bats of the Republic is a visual reading experience. The small bumps in its story are more than made up by the surprises on every page—drawings, maps, handwritten notes, and a book within a book (bullet hole included). Zachary Thomas Dodson has written a beautiful, complex novel perfect for readers who can appreciate great design as much as good writing.

  • Heather

    Great post! I ordered a copy last week and I’m hoping it gets here in the next couple of days. I’m really excited to read it.

    • That’s going to be such an exciting package to open!

      • Heather

        It arrived on Thursday. I’m juggling a few books at the moment so I’m putting off reading it, but I flicked through it and it looks so great. It’s going to take every ounce of self control I have to not read it yet.

  • Karin Schroff

    Sounds quite interesting. Dang, anotherone for the to be read mountain.

  • Agh. I didn’t really think I would want to read this book until now. Now I have to know what happens! I love that video clip.

  • I’ve been wondering about this book — the maps and illustrations and things sound really cool!

  • Leeswammes

    I’m reading it at the moment, and enjoying it a lot. Pity about the limited dystopia, something I really enjoy. But the book’s physical properties make up for a lot.

  • This is going to sound wildly inappropriate, but I have such an intense case of lust when it comes to this book. I almost bought it for myself recently, but I think I’ll be putting it on my Christmas list instead.

  • Wow this book sounds really cool. How have I not heard of it before?? I think my Christmas wishlist just got a little longer… :)

  • Lindsey Stefan

    This sounds so cool. I imagine it’s the kind of book you want to own instead of getting from the library!

  • This sounds so cool, Shannon! As a Texas girl, I am definitely intrigued by the setting and the historical aspect and the “surprises” inside the book are exciting. Thanks so much for sharing this one!

  • This sounds awesome! I love books with interesting formats and I’m also always on the lookout for a book doing dystopian in a new way.


  • Wow love the video. How inventive. Love the title too. It reminds me a little of the Griffin & Sabine series, just because of all the neat designs etc. My only question is: is it hard to follow? thx

    • I wouldn’t say it’s hard to follow (it’s very clear when you’re reading the modern story vs. the historical one), but it does get a little crazy when the stories start to overlap toward the end.

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