Reviews for Zombies Vs. Unicorns

Booklist Reviews 2010 September #1
"Can the chatter of the YA nerdosphere launch a successful book? This imaginative collection answers with a resounding yes. Beginning in February 2007, editors Black and Larbalestier debated zombies' and unicorns' strengths and weaknesses on Larbalestier's blog, and the resulting interest roped in stories from a number of impressive authors, including Libba Bray, Meg Cabot, and Garth Nix. Handy icons make it easy to choose which stories each camp will want to read, but the book's A-plus design--and the desire to know which team wins!--will have unicorn die-hards crossing over into flesh-eating territory, and vice versa. The standouts come from the authors who take their gimmicky mission the most seriously: Carrie Ryan's "Bougainvillea," in which she continues the mudo mythology she began in The Forest of Hands and Teeth (2009); Maureen Johnson's highly unsettling "The Children of the Revolution"; Scott Westerfeld's propulsive "Inoculata"; and Margo Lanagan's "A Thousand Flowers," in which she writes about unicorns with such freshness and fire, you'd think she invented them. Who ultimately wins? To reuse an old joke: everyone." Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2011 Spring
Twelve short stories by authors including Meg Cabot, Scott Westerfeld, and Libba Bray seek to settle an ostensibly age-old debate. Humorous commentary by the editors introduces the stories, which are funny, disgusting, touching, and frightening--and sometimes all of the above. Icons ensure "no unwary zombie fan [accidentally reads] a unicorn story or vice versa," but fantasy fans will eagerly devour them all. Copyright 2011 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2010 August #1

Forget vampires vs. werewolves; the hottest feud is between fans of the fiercely magical horses and the shambling, brain-eating undead. Adopting tones from humorous to haunting, tender to terrifying, and settings ranging from the fairy-tale past to modern suburbia to dystopian day-after-tomorrow, twelve YA authors (both up-and-coming and superstar) explore the mythic potential of each otherworldly creature. Team Zombie offers up both sweetly creepy romances between the living and not-quite-dead and chilling examinations of adolescence after the Zombie Apocalypse. Standouts for Team Unicorn include an inspirational tale of the reluctant heroine born to slay monsters and the baby maneater she loves and a poignant, piercing analysis of the corrosive price demanded by the power to heal. A healthy dose of graphic gore and plenty of love and lust (including same-sex and different-species pairings) push this collection into the older teen range. The editors chime in with wonderfully snarky cheerleading and a bit of insightful commentary along the way. Who is the victor in this epic smackdown? Readers, of course! (Fantasy/horror/short stories. 14 & up)

Copyright Kirkus 2010 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2010 August #4

In this offbeat anthology, editors Black and Larbalestier embark upon a literary throw-down to determine which is superior: zombies or unicorns. To that end, each assembled a six-person team of writers and set them loose. Each story is prefaced by editorial banter as each editor (hilariously) makes her case. Highlights include Diana Peterfreund's Rampant tie-in, "The Care and Feeding of Your Baby Killer Unicorn"; Libba Bray's postapocalyptic tale of teens trying to maintain a semblance of civilization in "Prom Night"; and Maureen Johnson's pointed take on celebrity fads in "The Children of the Revolution." Meg Cabot's "Princess Prettypants" skewers the image of unicorns as sparkling, rainbow-farting "symbols of pure happiness, hope, and awesomesauce," while Carrie Ryan's "Bougainvillea" acts as a prologue to The Forest of Hands and Teeth. Scott Westerfeld's "Inoculata" examines what happens when the zombie hordes finally win, while the zombie in Alaya Dawn Johnson's "Love Will Tear Us Apart" isn't nearly as far gone. Without a clunker in the bunch, this anthology more than lives up to the potential its concept suggests. Zombies or unicorns? There's no clear winner, unless it's readers. Ages 14-up. (Sept.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2010 October

Gr 9 Up--This highly entertaining anthology contains 12 distinct stories brought together by two well-known YA authors. Though each tale has its own flavor, the snarky dialogue between the coeditors draws them together, in the end creating the feel of one long, continuous story. With Black defending the unicorn side of the debate and Larbalestier advocating voraciously for zombies, each team has six powerful stories to sway readers into joining one side or another. Though there are no weak selections in this amazingly well-put-together anthology, there are several standouts for each side. Queen of the Undead, Carrie Ryan, takes readers once again to the world of The Forest of Hands and Teeth (Delacorte, 2009) in the commanding "Bougainvilla." Though there is some graphic language, Alayna Dawn Johnson's "Love Will Tear Us Apart" takes place in another immensely intense and thought-provoking zombie world. Diana Peterfreund wows readers by delving again into the dark world of Rampant (HarperTeen, 2009) with "The Care and Feeding of Your Baby Killer Unicorn," proving Astrid is not the only strong female hunter out there. Conversely, Meg Cabot provides a funnier view of the beasts in "Princess Prettypants," in which a unicorn literally farts rainbows. The debate is wrapped up with Libba Bray's strong zombie tale, "Prom Night," leaving readers with both hope and realism battling for dominance. This is a must-have for fantasy collections, though schools must be cautioned that there is strong profanity, a bestiality tale, and graphic scenes of both violence and sexual encounters.--Jessica Miller, New Britain Public Library, CT

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