Sunday, December 19, 2010

Zombies vs. Unicorns

It's a question as old as time itself: which is better, the zombie or the unicorn? In this anthology, edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier (unicorn and zombie, respectively), strong arguments are made for both sides in the form of short stories. Half of the stories portray the strengths—for good and evil—of unicorns and half show the good (and really, really bad-ass) side of zombies. Contributors include many bestselling teen authors, including Cassandra Clare, Libba Bray, Maureen Johnson, Meg Cabot, Scott Westerfeld, and Margo Lanagan. This anthology will have everyone asking: Team Zombie or Team Unicorn?

Aithen's Review

This was a pretty awesome anthology, to say the least.

I adore zombies (though as a kid, I was a fervent believer that unicorns existed and would be back to save the world - some day), and I was already 100% team zombie before I even started reading this anthology. But that didn't stop me from loving many team unicorn stories (even if the zombies were better, in the end).

Something I really loved is the little introductions Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier gave before each story. They were really funny, and it was cute to see them argue about which kind of mythical creature was best.

It was amazing to see all the different stories that could be done with the theme. Every single one was different, even if a zombie or unicorn had to play a main part. They were all quite different, and that is what made every single story interesting.

Of course, I won't review every single story in the book, but I'll tell you the highlights of my read:

- The Children of the Revolution, by Maureen Johnson
A seriously deranged story that sent shivers down my spine. My favourite story of all. No story can even start to amaze me as much as this one. I had never heard of the author before, but I am definitely hunting down more of her books with my Christmas money.

- The Care and Feeding of your Baby Killer Unicorn, by Diana Peterfreund
A really amazing unicorn story. Killer unicorns? Count me in! This story was really, really cool, and the best of the unicorn stories. If all unicorn stories were as good as this one, maybe my unconditional zombie love would've wavered. Maybe.

- Inoculata, by Scott Westerfeld
A strange spin on a zombie story. Zombie-human hybrids are extremely interesting, and the fact that the main love-story is between two girls just adds to the awesomeness.

- Princess Prettypants, by Meg Cabot
Absolutely hilarious, this story kept me laughing all through physics class (don't do like me, kids, reading in class is bad, bad bad XD). It was a caricature, really, of the sparkling purple and white unicorns of our childhood, and it was exquisitely done, too. Another author I've never heard of and am going to read more from. (Okay, wait, scratch that. ALL her stories are sparkling-colorful-girlish stuff. Guhh. )

These stories could've given this book an easy 10. Sadly, some of them weren't as good (Like Cassandra Clare's Cold Hands. I was so disappointed with it, and I already didn't really like her books and wasn't expecting too much. Margo Lanagan's A Thousand Flowers actually disgusted me. Bestiality? With a unicorn? Uh, sorry, but no. Hating that.) and made me want to give this book a 6. That's the problem with anthologies, I guess. Some stories are amazing, some aren't, and you have to live with it. Overall, though, it was really excellent, and I recommend it to all zombie-, unicorn-, and fantasy-lovers out there.

What team will you be on? Zombie, or unicorn?

The awesome-tastic promotional video


Zombies vs. Unicorns edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier
Rating : 8,5/10

Beryl's Review

I'll tell you which story I liked, and which I didn't.

Those that I liked:

Love Will Tear us Apart (Alaya Dawn Johnson): This story is told by the point of view of a zombie, which I found interesting, since no other story did this. All the thoughts and the mentality of the protagonist who is actually the zombie really gave a cool insight.

Purity Test (Naomi Novik): Hilariously ridiculous. It's the kind of story that is so silly you just love it.

The Children of the Revolution (Maureen Johnson): This story was funny, but I found it a bit generic. I know Maureen Johnson is a popular and good author, but I found her story a bit unoriginal. She took the base concept of zombies and made her characters turn into them. Let's say there was no new element. She didn't try to redo the concept of zombies in her own way. The reading was nevertheless good.

The Care and Feeding of your Baby Killer Unicorn (Diana Peterfreund): I think this one is my favorite. I just found it really fun to read and I couldn't wait to learn what happened to the baby unicorn.

Inoculata (Scott Westerfeld) : This story had an interesting concept, and kudos for the lesbian pairing.

Princess Prettypants (Meg Cabot): I laughed so hard while I read this. This story really made me pity and relate to the protagonist. It's another of my favorite stories.

The Third Virgin (Kathleen Duey): The story is told by the point of view of a unicorn, and so it's another interesting insight. Loved the ending.

Prom night (Libba Bray): Libba Bray has a usual succeeded in creating this atmosphere that makes the reader want to keep reading. Her short story really seemed like the beginning of an awesome novel. It only lacked a bit more of zombie action.

Those I didn't like

The Highest Justice (Garth Nix): Very dull, lack of characterization, and a mess overall. I browsed through it quickly instead of wasting my time reading it.

Bougainvillea (Carrie Ryan): It had a nice decor and setting, but the rest was boring.

A Thousand Flowers (MargoLlanagan): Somewhat weird. A failed attempt at creating a sort of fairytale with bestiality. What I hated most was that the story was told by the point of view of three persons, but in the 1st person. You don't write a few pages using the 1st person point of view, because it has the effect that the reader quickly gets attached to the narrator. If you kill the narrator off a few pages after, and switch to another person, the reader is destabilized. The transactions from person to person were also messy.

Cold hands (Cassandra clare): Boring. It's Cassandra Clare, after all.


Rating : 9/10 (if you don't count the bad stories)

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the honesty! Overall I really enjoyed this anthology too. As for Margo's story, I would highly suggest not reading her story Tender Morsels if you do not like bestiality and there are some other gritty weird themes in that novel as well.


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