Saturday, August 7, 2010


Zombies vs. UnicornsZombies vs. Unicorns by Holly Black

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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 (...more 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? Cover Blurb

I Loved this Anthology! First, lets get this out of the way, I'm 100% TEAM ZOMBIE! Since there are twelve stories in this anthology:

six zombie/six unicorn, I've decided to review them in a head to head smack down! Let's see who is triumphant!


The Highest Justice vs Love Will Tear Us Apart

Garth Nix's story: The Highest Justice:interesting tale.It also has a necromanced zombie! Princess Jess is bringing her recently reanimated mother to confront her father the King. She has invoked the help of the Unicorn Elibet, a silent tool of vengeance that has been attached to her family for generations.

The purpose of their journey is to confront the King and his sorceress mistress who Jess suspects is responsible for her mother's death.

The story is well written and dispels the gentle unicorn myth.

Alaya Dawn Johnson gives us : Love Will Tear Us Apart. A very sweet and funny tale of Phillip Grayson a teen zombie. Phillip begins to hang out with the uber popular jock,Jack. Phillip's feelings for Jack straddle the line between intense hunger and an even intenser physical attraction. Jack seems to reciprocate these feelings but both of them are hiding deep secrets that threaten their slowly growing love.

I loved the dark humor and teen angst in Alaya's story. It was also unique to see a Gay protagonist. I really felt attached to the characters and was rooting for them to get together.



Purity Test vs Bougainvillea

I'm a huge fan of Naomi Novik's Temeraire books so I was excited to see her take on Unicorns. Young Allison has been rudely awakened from her nap on a Central Park bench, by a Unicorn horn poke! She is confused and hungover as she takes in the irritable talking Unicorn Belcazar. Belcazar is on a mission to rescue some baby unicorns and has demanded Allison be his companion, despite her lack of virginity :) I loved this story! so much fun. Allison and Belecazar have great chemistry between them, even though it s sarcastic and argumentative.

Carrie Ryan's Bougainvillea is a story set in the same world as the book The Forest Of Hands And Teeth. Iza is the daughter of a powerful Governor on the island of Curacao. She feels trapped in her life despite its many comforts. One rash decision upends her life and forces her to make decisions about her future. I enjoyed learning a little bit more about the world after the Return. Iza is an interesting character and I'd like to see more of her in a future story. The zombie action is a little brief but intense!



A Thousand Flowers vs The Children of the Revolution

I struggled with Margo Lanagan's story : A Thousand Flowers. Set in ancient times, it starts out interesting enough. A young man comes across a unicorn. Entranced he follows the Unicorn and comes across a beautiful young princess lyIng on the ground. She has obviously attacked. Trying to help her the young man, Manny is captured by the King's guard. When the Princess declares him innocent he is released, until several month later when he is hunted down. It has become discovered the Princess is pregnant.At this point the story fell apart for me. It becomes obvious who the source of the child is . The narrative also shifts abruptly and the ending is anticlimactic.

Children of the Revolution: Maureen Johnson. What was supposed to be a romantic farm vacation in England turns into a nightmare for college student Sofie. Abandoned by her boyfriend Franklin, Sofie takes a Babysitting job with a reclusive celebrity that will fund her way home. These aren't ordinary children though, and one simple act of compassion changes Sofie's life. This was an enjoyable story, not action packed but a definite twist ending.



The Care and Feeding of Your Baby Killer Unicorn vs Inoulata

Dina Peterfreund's story is set in the same universe of her Novel Rampant. Unicorns have returned to the world,and they aren't happy! They are vicious man eaters.The main character Wen has experience with them. In fact she is irresistible to them, she witnessed them attack and kill her cousins and leave her completely untouched. Now barely a year later she is at a carnival freak show with some friends. The carnival advertises a live unicorn called Venom. Wen's friends think it's fake but once Wen is in the tent she instantly knows it isn't.

Wen can feel the unicorns emotions, read it's thoughts and has fantastic powers when she is in a unicorn's presence.This link draws her back to the circus where she witnesses Venom give birth and plead with Wen to rescue her baby.

This is a marvelous story! My heart raced when I read it! Wen experiences a deep struggle with her choice to save little "Flower". She struggles with what her faith and her parents would expect her to do vs what her heart is asking of her. Beautifully written. It has made me RUSH to read Diana's book Rampant.

In Scott Westerfeld's story Inoculata a small group of teens and adults are living on a secure farm. The watch the ever growing numbers of undead who surround their fences day and night. Young Allison also watches Kayln, a beautiful young girl who she is in love with. One night while talking to Kayln she discovers a shocking secret that changes the lives of everyone in the camp. Nicely told and an interesting take on infection and survival in an undead world.



Princess Prettypants vs Cold Hands

Meg Cabot's Princess Prettypants is about Liz Freelander's seventeenth birthday. In a day that steadily is going from bad to worse she is shocked to find her big gift of the night is a Unicorn shipped to her by her eccentric Aunt. This was a fun story. Meg deftly chronicles the High School terrain and sets up a series of events that lead to a fun climactic ending and a little romance :)

Cold Hands is the love story of James and Annie. the have been childhood pals and are expected to be engaged until an accident tears them apart. Loved ones rarely stay gone in the English town of Lychgate, and a courageous act by Annie may be the key to their reunion.



The Third Virgin vs Prom Night

The Third Virgin by Kathleen Duey examines the healing powers of Unicorns. It narrates the 500 year journey of a Unicorn that cannot die or be killed. It's healing prowess is immense, but he also has the power to withdraw the life force of those he touches. The spark he feels with this act is the only true joy he gets in his existence. His desire becomes an addiction coupled with a cruel streak of deception and manipulation of his virgin companions.His "third virgin" Ree bears internal and external scars due to a family tragedy. As the unicorn heals her he also lays a emotional trap for her that may lead to pain and death. This was a wonderful and disturbing story. Kathleen explores how time, isolation and addiction might shape the perspective of an already alien creature.

Prom Night by Libba Bray has the feel of Lord Of The FLies with braiiins. There is little zombie action but the threat is immenient. Instead the story focuses on Jeff and Tahmina, the "police" in a small fenced in town absent of adults. The teens move thru their year with as much normalcy as possible, including hosting a Prom. A very interesting tale examining teen relationships and the absence of adults in their world.


A Tie!!! I have to create a bonus category for the wonderful introductions/debates/rivalry's the wonderful Holly Black and justine Larbalestier before each chapters. Based on that the over all winner in this Battle Royale is :


As if there was any doubt :)

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1 comment:

Mary Ann said...

You know why Team Zombie wins, don't cha???
Cos they got all de BRAIIIINNNNNZZZZZ !!!

hehehe - had to say that :D