Review Detail4.5 2
ZOMBIES VS. UNICORNS apparently started on the editors, Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier, respective blogs. Ms. Black proclaiming that Unicorns were better. Ms. Larbalestier taking the Zombies side. Each proceded to gather six amazing YA writers to prove their point. The result is the twelve short stories in this anthology. Six stories about unicorns. Six about&you guessed it&zombies.
At first glance, I figured the unicorn stories would be more of the high fantasy, sort of castle and queen stuff. Most, if not all, would have happy endings. This was not the case. Most were even more violent than the zombie stories. Each and every one of the twelve stories, zombie ones included, was enjoyable and highly readable.
I think I can best handle this review by going to go down through the twelve so you will know the titles, author, and a little bit about each one.
The Highest Justice by Garth Nix. Without giving too much away, it is about a unicorn who commits a sort of murder for hire. Really starts the book off with a bang.
Love Will Tear Us Apart by Alaya Dawn Johnson. Probably my favorite story in the bunch. Zombie story told in alternating points of view, first person and the unique second person. It centers around a homosexual, zombie/human love story were the father of the zombie may or may not end up eaten in a hotel room. The author begins the story by comparing warm macaroni cheese to brains. And with references to The Beatles and The Who, who couldnt love this story?
Purity Test by Naomi Novik. The story is set in an alternative NYC where trolls and unicorns roam and two young people get tricked into adopting a litter of baby unicorns. Not sure if Novik was a great choice for the Unicorn side since she has difficulty hiding her apparent disdain for the magical breed&at least according to Justine Larbalestier. ?
Bougainvillea by Carrie Ryan. Im a huge Carrie Ryan fan. Anyone who has read FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH will most likely enjoy this short story that seems to take place in the same universe as her novels. Only the main character, Iza, lives on an island, which of course is surrounded by water unlike Mary in Ryans first book.
A Thousand Flowers by Margo Lanagan. This was another great one, but I could say that about all of them, I guess. First-person narrative where the main character is a unicorn. Begins with a scene in which the unicorn is very drunk and trying to find a place to piss in the woods. By the end of the story, the unicorn will have to change her partying ways to reluctantly help with a birth.
The Children of the Revolution by Maureen Johnson. Freaky story about a girl living in England who takes a weekend babysitting job. Little does she know, shell be babysitting a bunch of zombie babies.
The Care and Feeding of Your Baby Killer Unicorn by Diana Peterfreund. I actually read this entire story aloud to my class, and most seemed to really enjoy. A lot of great themes in this one about a girl who has a curse when it comes to unicorns. She is one of the few who can communicate with these killers.
Inoculata by Scott Westerfeld. Loved this zombie story as well. Takes place in the very near future where most of the adults have been infected with this zombie disease and the teenagers are in control. Similar to the Libba Bray universe in this book. Maybe for a slightly younger audience than Prom Night. Little bit of everything. Little romance. Little violence. Good stuff here by one of the best writing in YA. Very LGBT-friendly, which is still somewhat a rarity.
Princess Prettypants by Meg Cabot Not as innocent as the title would imply. About a teenager named Liz who has to keep her new-found unicorn a secret.
Cold Hands by Cassandra Clare. About a girl who was going to marry about boy, but the boy became a zombie. I dont want to ruin the ending, so I wont say what I wish I could say. I will, however, say that James, the almost groom, may not have changed all that much going from man to zombie. The bride may almost prefer the qualities of a zombie to a man. Kind of a stab a men in general, but hard to argue. ?
The Third Virgin by Kathleen Duey. I loved this one about basically a serial killer unicorn trying to reform themselves.
Prom Night Libba Bray. Great way to end the anthology. In a similar setting to Inoculata. The two main characters are teenage police officers trying to maintain order in a world full of nearby zombies. The story takes place over the course of a few hours in which in a different world the two officers would be celebrating their senior prom night. Also a freaky story.
I excited to see more YA anthologies featuring short stories. Not sure why they arent more. I cant wait to see GIRL MEETS BOY edited by Kelly Milner Halls, which comes out in 2012. It appears it might follow a similar format as ZOMBIES VS. UNICORNS only trading off stories from a male vs. female point of view.