Saturday, April 21, 2012

Book Review: Zombies vs Unicorns

Considering my overall impression of the Mars anthology was only lukewarm at best it may seem a bit odd that I decided to read another anthology immediately afterwords, the only explanation I can offer is that I'd been meaning to read this book for years (I followed Justine's blog back when she was still able to update and might have been around for the original blog post). So, knowing full well that just because an anthology is hyped well and has a lot of authors in it that I like doesn't mean that it's going to be good (I'm looking at you Geektastic) I decided to give this one a shot anyway.

Zombies vs Unicorns edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier

I'm curious how the paperback cover works since the hardcover book here has the black dust jacket with cut-outs of a zombie and a unicorn which can be removed to show a mural of unicorns and zombies fighting each other printed onto the book cover itself. I think the dust jacket idea is clever although I'm not that fond of the art style used for the images themselves, it's a neat idea regardless however.
Summary: Originating from a debate in the comments of author Justin Larbalestier's blog, she and Holly Black head up this anthology which compare zombies and unicorns with 12 stories from well known young adult authors who try to prove why their side is better.
The Good: I was quite pleasantly surprised to see that not every story in the anthology involved romance, I simply like a break from it sometimes, and that there were two LGTB romances in the anthology as well (oddly enough both zombies, "Love Will Tear Us Apart" by Alaya Dawn Johnson and "Inoculata" by Scott Westerfeld), a very nice change of pace overall. There are some stories in here which I’m confused if they were written to be parodies (all unicorn stories, Meg Cabot’s "Princess Prettypants" and Naomi Novik's "Purity Test")*  but they ended up being so genuinely hilarious that in the end I ended up not caring, I had fun reading them. Fun actually sums up a lot of the anthology, given my bad track record with anthologies I really wasn’t expecting much out of this one yet I enjoyed it and can see why so many other people have as well.
The Bad: I’m simply not a big fan of dystopias, for reasons that deserve their own post someday, and since a number of the zombie stories were set in dystopias I didn’t like them as much (which may sound harsh but as I’ve said before, it’s not plot but setting that’s the most important part of a story for me and that’s extra true with such stories like these). None of the stories were bad however, there were just some not to my taste and only about half of them stuck in my mind only a month after I read them which speaks volumes on it's own.

Probably the best anthology I've tried in the past few years but since it had been at least six months between whatever my last anthology was an the Mars one that's not as grand a statement as it sounds. Not sure if I would want a copy of my own for rereading but I'd certainly recommend this to many of my friends, it's a fun book with variety that I can see appealing to a lot of people.
*so zombies do romance and unicorns do comedy? No wonder I like unicorns better

1 comment:

  1. I'm sorry to post this in the comments, but I couldn't find any contact information. I just wrote a thriller fantasy called Cinderella and Zombies and was wondering if you'd like to review it. You can contact me through email at emilycaseysmusings at gmail dot com