Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Book Review: Zombies vs. Unicorns

Title: Zombies vs. Unicorns
Author: Team Unicorn edited by Holly Black – Kathleen Duey, Meg Cabot, Garth Nix, Margo Lanagan, Naomi Novik & Diana Peterfreund; Team Zombie edited by Justine Larbalestier – Libba Bray, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Cassandra Clare, Maureen Johnson, Carrie Ryan & Scott Westerfeld
Genre: YA

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Publication Date: September 2010
Hardcover: 432 pages

Stand Alone or series: Stand alone.

Summary: (from goodreads)

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?

This is not an easy book to review because it's made up of so many different pieces. Not only does the book bounce between unicorn and zombie stories, but each individual story brings something completely different to the table. I'm not usually a big fan of short story compilations since I'm one of those people who has to know what happens later, but this book didn't leave me feeling unfulfilled. That's not to say that there weren't stories I would love to read a novel about. I just didn't feel cheated or like I was reading some side project which was definitely a plus.

The thing I was most impressed with was the wide range of different themes this compilation covered. A lot of the stories had completely new and refreshing ideas. Quite a few stories also featured same-sex couples which is always a pleasant surprise in my opinion.

I'm not going to review each individual story (though the Book Smugglers have a great breakdown if that's what you're looking for), but I will say my favorite story was “Love Will Tear Us Apart” by Ayala Dawn Johnson. This story completely blindsided me and I absolutely adored it. I can't wait to check out some of Johnson's other books. That's how much I loved this story. I also really liked "Bougainvillea" by Carrie Ryan. Even though I wasn't particularly fond of The Forest of Hands and Teeth, Ryan's writing is wonderful. "Princess Prettypants" by Meg Cabot was also surprising and I wouldn't mind reading more about the feisty unicorn one little bit.

While some stories were better than others, I can't think of one story that I really didn't like. All in all I think this was a great compilation. I also think the cover art was awesome and I'm a bit sad I have to return the book to the library.

Notable Quotes/ Parts:

I actually enjoyed the editors banter back and forth. One of my favorite quotes from the book is when Justine Larbalestier said, "Emperors and kings. Noble families. You're just saying unicorns are stuck-up snobs. Zombies are the proletariat. Long live the workers!" (pg2)

Here’s an excerpt from “Love Will Tear Us Apart” by Alaya Dawn Johnson:
Think of it like the best macaroni and cheese you’ve ever had. No neon yellow Velveeta and bread crumbs. I’m talking gourmet cheddar, the expensive stuff from Vermont that crackles as it melts into that crust on top. Imagine if right before you were about to tear into it, the mac and cheese starts talking to you? And it’s really cool. It likes Joy Division more than New Order, and owns every Sonic Youth album, and saw you in the audience at the latest Arctic Monkeys concert, though you were too stoned to notice anything but the clearly sub-par cheesy mac you’d brought with you.
You can read the first short story here.

Verdict: I loved it. Fun and a bit self indulgent, it was a nice way to get a little bit of both worlds.

Rating: 7. Very good

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