Zombies vs. Unicorns, Ed. Holly Black, Justine Larbalestier

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Oh my goodness everyone, Zombies vs. Unicorns is the perfect anthology. I am so glad I picked it next (though maybe my next book will not be 400-500 pages long like the last two have been).

This anthology is exactly what you expect it to be. Well, maybe not exactly — there are no zombies fighting unicorns. The battle for supremacy is a one of words, as unicorn stories and zombie stories butt heads trying to prove their supernatural beast to be the ultimate literary trope, most open to authorial wrangling, fullest of metaphoric resonance, that sort of thing.

Born out of a long-standing argument between two friends (Black and Larbalestier), the zombies vs. unicorns question made its rounds on the internet, gaining supporters on both sides, before resulting in a final solution: this book. I love the origin story here, because it’s just the odd sort of thing me and my weirdo writer friends might do, breaking into teams and duking it out in a published anthology of YA short stories.

The stories in Zombies vs. Unicorns are fantastic, too. There are some names you might recognize — Garth Nix, Meg Cabot, my personal YA hero Scott Westerfeld — and they pretty much bring their A game. Like any anthology, it has its highs and lows, but the highs are frequent and towering, the lows uncommon and shallow.

I love the different ways both creatures are imagined by the different authors. The unicorns range from suicidal to conjugal, from a killer named Venom to a badass named Princess Prettypants. The zombies are, in turns, mindless hordes, abstaining lovers, and aspiring politicians. In a world saturated with zombie stories and seriously lacking in unicorn stories, this anthology is surprisingly fresh on both fronts. As a bonus, there are a fair bunch of queer characters in the stories; though, weirdly enough, only in the zombie stories. Perhaps unicorns are queer enough themselves.

So, which are you: Team Zombie, or Team Unicorn?

Book Count: 3

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2 responses to “Zombies vs. Unicorns, Ed. Holly Black, Justine Larbalestier

  1. Definitely! I’ll bring it along when we manage to do that reading dae. I’m probably Team Unicorn. I love zombies, but they’ve been done to (un)death! All of these zombie stories were very inventive, but I think there’s way more unexplored potential in unicorns.

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