Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Zombies vs. Unicorns

Zombies vs. Unicorns edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier

Which is better, zombies or unicorns? Black (team unicorn) and Larbalestier (team zombie) have picked their teams of all-star YA authors and are battling it out.

At it's surface, it is a strong collection of short stories about zombies or unicorns. Stand-outs include Alaya Dawn Johnson's zombie entry "Love with Tear Us Apart" about what happens when zombies love humans, Carrie Ryan's "Bougainvillea" a zombie story set in the same world as Forest of Hands and Teeth, Margo Lanagan's deeply disturbing unicorn story "A Thousand Flowers", Scott Westerfeld's "Inoculata" about teens flirting with zombie-ism the same way today's teens flirt with pot, Meg Cabot's hysterical "Princess Prettypants" about a girl who's pretty pissed off she's getting a farting unicorn instead of a car for her birthday, and Libba Bray's "Prom Night" about teenagers trying to hold it together when the adults all turned to zombies.

Despite the fact that the I have more favorite zombie stories than unicorn ones, I'm firmly TEAM UNICORN. I wasn't before I read it. Before I read it, I thought "seriously? Zombies versus Unicorns? What kind of contest is that? Zombies! Duh!" but these stories made me see unicorns in an entirely different light. Even when their farts smell like flowers and sound like windchimes and they have stupid names like Princess Prettypants, unicorns kick a lot of ass. There's also a much greater variety in types of unicorns. Zombies are... zombies. They get boring after awhile. With the exception of "Love Will Tear us Apart" we didn't meet that many zombies in the zombie stories. We met people dealing with zombies, living a life of fear in a zombie-filled world. The zombies don't have the same personality and skills that the unicorns do.


And, even though this book is mostly great stories, but favorite parts were the between the stories, when Black and Larbalestier debate the unicorn/zombie question in the story introductions. Hilarious.

ARC Provided by... publisher, at ALA

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