Zombies vs. Unicorns is an anthology I’ve been wanting to read for quite some time. I noticed it because I adore Holly Black’s writing, and some other authors I love are contributors. I’d always been a bit put off by zombies (especially the brain eating part) but the book Generation Dead, got me to look at them very differently.
The introduction of the book and the introductions to each of the stories are hilarious. I like the silly trash talk, what can I say? It reminded me a lot of the blog Forever Young Adult and I think this is actually the best audience for the anthology: adults who read YA with a drink in hand. There’s enough swearing, sexuality and substance abuse that I can see why libraries have been iffy about purchasing it for the teen area, and yet I think older teens and people in their early twenties will love it.
There isn’t really a consistent tone among the stories, which caused a bit of a problem for me. Maybe because I rarely read anthologies, I had trouble going from silly humour to dark and deadly. I enjoyed some stories drastically more than others.
I will get into my enjoyment of individual stories in a moment, but you will notice that there is a trend where I lean towards one of these beasts
Yep, that’s right, I’m team unicorn. Not really shocking given my distaste for cannibalism, brains and horror movies. However, I strongly prefer unicorns who kick butt to those that are pretty.
So the breakdown:
- The Highest Justice by Garth Nix: This one amused me because it had both creatures in it. I didn’t think Jess reacted strongly enough to the mayhem but I liked the unicorn. 🙂
- Love Will Tear Us Apart by Alaya Dawn Johnson: I liked that this was written like science fiction, with a logical explanation for the zombie. I found it disgusting as I expect to with a zombie story but I like the end. 🙂
- Purity Test by Naomi Novik: Pretty awesome, in that it mocks the need for virginity when it comes to dealing with unicorns. Also it references Harry Potter and the Troll knew about Big Macs. Funny stuff! 🙂
- Bougainvillea by Carrie Ryan: I couldn’t get into it, I didn’t finish it. 😦
- A Thousand Flowers by Margo Lanagan: Ew… bestiality is not appropriate for YA books. The perspectives shifted too much for a short story, and well just ew. 😯
- The Children of the Revolution by Maureen Johnson: This was odd. I can’t decide if I think turning Angelina Joli’s adoption of kids from around the world into a zombie joke is funny or offensive. The kids really creeped me out, and I felt bad for the narrator. It was one that sparked discussion but that made me uncomfortable. After the last two stories I was starting to wonder where this anthology was going. 😕
- The Care and Feeding of Your Baby Killer Unicorn by Diana Peterfreund : I loved this story, it was by far my favourite in the anthology. I had high hopes for it after reading Rampant and I wasn’t disappointed. Fabulous character development and world building. I want to raise a tiny meat-eating horse that makes me powerful…. 😀
- Innoculata by Scott Westerfeld: This is the first zombie story of the anthology that I fully enjoyed. I want more zombie tales from Westerfeld! 😀
- Princess Prettypants by Meg Cabot: delightful! I love the lame party, the boy next door, the kick butt unicorn revenge on stupid boys… 😀
- Cold Hands by Cassandra Clare: First off, I love the name Lychgate (but I think I’d use it with werewolves /lychans). Also comparing zombies to newborn kittens is golden. Definitely my favourite zombie story in the anthology, this reminded me of Generation Dead with its parallels to interracial couples. Leave it to Clare to have me second guessing my team of choice. 😀
- The Third Virgin by Kathleen Duey: Disturbing but fascinating. Interesting insight into addiction and self-harm. 🙂
- Prom Night by Libba Bray: Terrifying, depressing but well done.
I have mixed feelings about the book, since I loved some stories and was disturbed by others. Definitely not for just anyone but if you’re into either zombies or unicorns it’s worth a look.