BOOK IN REVIEW: Zombies vs. Unicorns by Holly Black, JustineLarbelestier, and More10:46 PM
The Care and Feeding of Your Baby Killer Unicorn by Diana Peterfreund
This particular story strikes my interest because it portrays unicorns differently from the usual. When we say unicorn, we typically refer to a majestic creatures with magic and healing abilities. We also think sparkles and rainbows, but here, the unicorn is just an animal. I love the way Diana talked about unicorns, completely turning them into creatures of her own making. She places a twist in the typical unicorn tales and created a story that is truly unique. The unicorns in her story are still magical creatures, but they do not heal or find virgins, instead, they are deadly creatures with a poisonous horn that is treated like any other animal that poses danged to the human society. This story adapted the unicorn tale into something that is a bit more plausible today without losing that magical touch. Diana made a story that didn't feel like she was talking about mythical creatures. It was more about the heroine struggling with her religion, the views of society, and the caring for a baby unicorn even though the unicorn species had done horrible things in the past. I believe that she has done a great job in writing this story and although I wanted her to explain further the events that lead to Wen's cousins' deaths and the actual killer unicorn, Peterfreund has already done a great job writing this and creating a familiar yet completely different world.
Inoculata by Scott Westerfeld
Inoculata is probably one of my favorite stories in this entire anthology. I found myself hanging onto every single word written by Westerfeld. From the very start, I found myself enraptured by this book. Reading a book that turns the typical zombie plot into something very different gives me happiness. I don't know exactly what it was about this story that I liked. Maybe it was the slightly twisted heroes and heroines. Maybe it was the interesting in-between zombies. Maybe it was the interesting portrayal of the human's desperation to survive even in the dreariest of times. It was certainly a tale the piqued my interest from start to finish, and although it wasn't very long compared to some other stories, it definitely created impact. To be honest, it felt more like an excerpt of a really long book because this story has so much potential. The author could have made this a full-length novel and I would read it.
Princess Prettypants by Meg Cabot
This story. OMG, this story. I love it from the bottom of my heart. It's not because it's hauntingly beautiful or deeply moving, but because in its simplicity, it was able to bring out and address something that I think is really important while keeping it light and sparkly the Meg Cabot way. The sheer fabulosity of Princess Prettypants partnered with the sass of our heroine, Liz, and her best friend, Alecia, who can stand up for herself when she needs to despite being homeschooled and naïve create the best trio I have read about in a while. Not everyone will find anything special in this, but I did. Reading about the strength of women brought together while fighting against assholes will never get old for me. It brings me joy from my very core. Add in an impossibly sweet guy, and you've got a perfect teenage girl read that is unrealistic but completely satisfying and delightful. Not everyone will like it; I'm sure, but I did and that's what matters.
Cold Hands by Cassandra Clare
For me, this story was kind of meh. I mean it was interesting and nice, but it was also somewhat lacking. The story follows a rather typical storyline where the man who is currently in power wants to keep the throne so when it's time for the rightful ruler to step up, the man murders them in an elaborate ploy. I feel like a lot more could be done with the story though since the portrayal of zombies here is very interesting. It was, well, I don't know... Just kind of missing something. It needed more impact more elaboration. One of the interesting things in this story was how the dead and the alive were somehow united because of their rulers, one dead and one alive. Imagine what she could do with that. She could have explored the oddness and complexity of that relationship, the relationship between a zombie and a human. She could have shown a little bit more of life afterwards. I just feel like there could be more.
The Third Virgin by Kathleen Duey
This story explores a concept of an atypical unicorn. What we see here is not the type of unicorn that we always hear about. It's not the majestic creature or the one that's all sparkles and rainbows or the one that makes everything it touches wonderful and magical. One of the reasons why the unicorn here was so different was simply that it was actually a pretty bad unicorn. When I say 'bad', I'm referring to the unicorn itself. I mean the unicorn was basically a horrible being that is far from being that beautiful creature we know of. Instead, the unicorn here was greedy, weak to its vices, and most importantly, a murderer. Even so, it was a creature that needed love. The unicorn was sort of like a lonely and immortal serial killer. It was a unicorn that sought love in all the wrong places, yearning to feel that rush and relief when they find someone who needs them and then takes their life. It's so incredibly screwed up, and that's just so fascinating. I never expected to read something like this when I picked up this book and first flipped its pages.
Prom Night by Libba Bray
Being the last story in this anthology, I had very high expectations for Prom Night. Libba Bray did not disappoint. Even in a post-apocalyptic setting, Prom Night is more about how life just goes on. This story showed its readers how humans, especially the youth, tend to continue and enjoy life even at the most depressing of places. Through all the stories about death or finality, this one was just a refreshing end that hints at continuity. It's an ending that gives us more possibilities than conclusions, and I think that that's actually a really good way to end an anthology like this. It's haunting but also hopeful, and I, for one, thought that the ending was beautiful. I think that Prom Night by Libba Bray is the perfect ending to a good anthology. It doesn't seal everything up in a neat little bow; instead, it lets the reader think of what's to come.
Zombies vs. Unicorns is an anthology that I believe is very unique. The concept itself is something that I don't think I could've though of in a million years. Reading this was highly enjoyable since if had a good mix of humorous and haunting. I also believe that the difference in writing styles of the authors is something that makes the comparison/ argument between zombie team and unicorn team even better. With the different writing styles and different themes that the authors had, readers get to see so many more sides to myths that have had set characteristics to them. There were some stories I enjoyed more than others. There were some stories that dragged at some points, while others needed to be longer. It's far from a perfect anthology, but I had fun with it. It's very easy to read, and it quickly captures its readers. It's a fresh, fun, and witty book that I can definitely say is ome of a kind.