Sunday, November 6, 2011

Mini book review: Zombies Vs. Unicorns

This book attempts to answer that age-old question - which is better, zombies or unicorns? - via short stories.  Compiled by Justine Larbalestier (Team Zombie, author of How to Ditch your Fairy, among other books) and Holly Black (Team Unicorn, author of the Spiderwick Chronicle series plus more), Zombies Vs. Unicorns contains twelve short stories by different authors, six zombie stories/six unicorn tales, and leaves it up to the reader to decide.
  • "The Highest Justice" by Garth Nix - the most fairytale-ish of the lot and which actually has a zombie in it, despite being a unicorn story
  • "Love Will Tear Us Apart" by Alaya Dawn Johnson - which asks if really good New Wave music is enough to sustain the love between the dead and the living
  • "Purity Test" by Naomi Novik - in which a unicorn and a not-virgin have to rescue kidnapped baby unicorns from a nasty wizard in NYC
  • "Bougainvillea" by Carrie Ryan - you think you're safe from the inevitable zombie apocalypse by living on an island, but then you have to deal with pirates as well as the lurchers
  • "A Thousand Flowers" by Margo Lanagan - an odd story where the first person narrator keeps switching without warning.  Plus bestiality.
  • "The Children of the Revolution" by Maureen Johnson - I always knew there was something off about Angelina Jolie
  • "The Care and Feeding of Your Baby Killer Unicorn" by Diana Peterfreund - unicorns in this story's universe are vicious, poisonous, man-eating creatures, although the baby ones are still adorable
  • "Inoculata" by Scott Westerfeld - and a little child shall lead them, especially if that little child does not entirely succumb to a zombie bite
  • "Princess Prettypants" by Meg Cabot - the titular unicorn does indeed glitter and sparkle and fart honeysucked-scented rainbows but you still shouldn't piss her off
  • "Cold Hands" by Cassandra Clare - just because one of you is dead doesn't mean you have to break up
  • "The Third Virgin" by Kathleen Duey - a grim tale about a very twisted unicorn
  • "Prom Night" by Libba Bray - with all the adults gone, it's up to the surviving kids to police themselves
The stories in Zombies Vs. Unicorns are uniformly decent, some better than others, none of them awful, each of them just long enough to read at breakfast before work.  I was on Team Zombie before I started reading, and I'm still on Team Zombie now that I'm done with the book, but the unicorn stories hold their own.  Plus I now have a listing of a whole bunch of new fantasy/urban fantasy authors to explore!

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