Saturday, April 12, 2014

Zombies. vs Unicorns by Holly Black & Justine Larbalestier - Ashley's Review

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Title: Zombies vs. Unicorns
Edited by: Justine Larbalestier & Holly Black
Year Published: 2010

My Pre-Reading (Pre-Listening?)

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


Review: Oh my goodness. This book was absolutely fantastic! The stories ranged from hilarious to charming to terrifying, and most of them reinvented zombies and unicorns and made them entirely different creatures. I really enjoyed the stories and seeing how different popular YA authors put their own spin on these classic creatures.

I listened to the audiobook version while on a long car trip, so I guess part of this should be about that. I don't typically listen to audiobooks, simply because they take too much time to get through. I would rather sit down for a few hours and read a book for myself than have to listen to someone else read it to me over the course of 15+ hours. If I had that much time, I could read like three books! The narrators in this book though made it seem as if not that much time had elapsed. I found myself paying attention to the stories, laughing out loud during most of them, and not wanting to get out of the car becuase it meant turning off the book. It was nice to have several narrators because the stories didn't run together. It was also easy to tell what gender the narrator was - male voices for a male POV and female voices for a female POV. All of the narrators did a good job distinguishing voices between characters too.

I also enjoyed the commentary before each story from Justine and Holly. Their banter also made me laugh, and I felt myself sympathizing most often with Justine (go Team Zombie!). I'm not sure that would have translated well in print (is it even in the book? I would assume so). I also enjoyed that before each story was a sound that indicated whether the story would be a Team Zombie story or a Team Unicorn story - supposedly to help members of one team skip stories from the other. It helped keep track of which story was about which creature.

All of the stories were really interesting, and I enjoyed when I got to a story from an author that I had actually read things from (e.g Scott Westerfeld, Carrie Ryan, Meg Cabot, etc.). As far as the zombie  stories go, there are your horror zombie stories (of course), but there are also zombie romances, stories from the zombies' perspectives, good zombies, and so much more. The unicorn stories were also diverse, including a story called The Care and Feeding of Your Baby Killer Unicorn. Stories like that made me think Team Unicorn didn't really take this competition seriously... Overall though, the stories are the perfect length, and definitely held my attention. Some are a little lengthy, but I think that might have had to do with switching CDs in the middle of them. 

I would totally recommend this book to any fans of zombies and/or unicorns. If you don't like zombies, skip those stories! Same with the unicorns. I loved the new takes on familiar creatures, especially with how popular zombies have gotten in pop culture recently. It's a fun read that you can keep on your nightstand for as long as it takes to finish, which is one of my favorite things about anthologies. I'll definitely be looking into these authors more, and trying to find out if any of these stories are parts of larger series! Definitely a 4/5.


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