Editors: Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier
Publication Date: 9/21/10
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Blurb (GR): 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?
And the winner is...
The zombie stories are almost consistently very good. The weakest, expectedly, is Cassandra Clare's necrophilic Cold Hands. Not only is it written poorly, but it has a fundamental flaw in logic - why aren't bodies of the deceased simply burned? Wouldn't that stop all the town's problems?
The rest of the stories are great though.
Alaya Dawn Johnson managed to convince me zombies can be sexually attractive (that's a first!) in her Love Will Tear Us Apart, points added for boy/boy love story, points taken away for crassness and excessive use of the f-word.
Carrie Ryan's Bougainville is a million times better than the only novel of hers I've read (The Forest of Hands and Teeth). Great survival story with a twisty ending, no nauseating love triangles and quadrangles and the heroine is actually likable.
The Children of the Revolution by Maureen Johnson is about creepy zombie kiddies and a freaky celebrity.
Scott Westerfeld's Inoculata left me yearning for more. The whole idea of people mutating to co-exist with zombies is fascinating. There is also some girl on girl action.
The most bleak story is saved for the end. Libba Bray's teen survivors don't have much to look forward to after Prom Night is over.
Ironically, both my most and least favorite stories are about unicorns. Garth Nix's The Highest Justice and Naomi Novik's Purity Test are half-baked creations that they probably threw together in minutes. Nothing original or exciting about them.
Meg Cabot's Princess Prettypants, as you can expect from the title, is a pure silliness and fluff, but the writing is very engaging and I have a soft spot for Meg's characters.
The Care and Feeding of Your Baby Killer Unicorn definitely needs a better title, but the unicorn in this story is super-cute in spite of having sharp teeth and being carnivorous. Maybe I should give Diana Peterfreund's novels a try?
And finally, the best! The unicorn in Kathleen Duey's The Third Virgin is a hardcore addict! And Margo Lanagan's A Thousand Flowers is full of deliciously gory stuff like rape, bestiality, murder and child birth. Only fans of Tender Morsels should proceed with this one.
So yay for creepy unicorns as well!
(This one is up to no good)