19 July 2010

Settling an Age-Old Question, or, Zombies Versus Unicorns, edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier

I am suffering from serious YA-sparkly-vampire-exhaustion, so when I was lucky enough to get my hands on an ARC of Zombies Versus Unicorns at ALA, I saved it for my mid-July Cozumel vacay, thinking it would be the perfect by-the-beach read. Happily, I was not in any way disappointed! The book, which is edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier, is a collection of short stories, each of which is about zombies or unicorns (or both, in some cases), and while some of the stories are certainly stronger than others, all of them were original and compelling.

The standouts for me were
  • "Princess Prettypants" by Meg Cabot, in which a girl receives a unicorn for her seventeenth birthday and discovers that it's good for more than just looking pretty and farting rainbows;
  • "Purity Test," by Naomi Novik, in which the age-old question of whether a virgin girl is the only one who can see or assist unicorns is put to the test;
  • "Bougainvillea," by Carrie Ryan, which takes place during the early days of the Return in the Forest of Hands and Teeth universe and explores the consequences of dictatorship and the question of power in an unstable world;
  • "Prom Night," by Libba Bray, in which an isolated town of teenagers attempts to celebrate life in the midst of a zombie virus that has wiped out of the rest of the world as they knew it;
  • "Cold Hands," by Cassandra Clare, in which a town that lives peacefully with its resurrected dead is the center of an aristocratic murder mystery.
What I loved most about this collection is how the stories differ in tone; I laughed out loud while reading a number of them ("Princess Prettypants" and "Purity Test" were hysterical), and others ("Prom Night" and "The Third Virgin") were truly frightening. Overall, this was a fun (and sometimes haunting) read, and I highly recommend it.

Also? Team Zombie!

Zombies Versus Unicorns is scheduled for release on September 21, 2010.

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