Holly Black, Justine Larbalestier (editors)
Allen & Unwin (2010)
Reviewed by Mitenae
Zombies Vs Unicorns is not your typical short story anthology. It divides the authors into two teams (and thus the stories) and sets out to convince you that their team is better. But with a brilliant selection of fantastic writers trying to sway you it might be hard to make a decision.
Team Zombie, edited by Justine Larbalestier, has Carrie Ryan, Maureen Johnson, Scott Westerfield, Cassandra Clare and Libba Bray but my favourite here is Alaya Dawn Johnson’s “Love will Tear us Apart”.Each of these stories seeks to recast and expand the zombie, playing with our expectations of what a zombie is. Many of these could match or better many of the zombie movies.
Team Unicorn, under the command of Holly Black has managed a formidable attack with Garth Nix, Naomi Novik, Margo Lanagan, Kathleen Duey and Diana Peterfreund, but my favourite comes from Meg Cabot with her hilarious story “Princess Prettypants”. On the whole, each of these unicorn stories seeks to recast the unicorn as less innocent and more threatening. More could have been done with the unicorn here as I feel the idea wasn’t pushed as much as it could have been, although they do play with what the unicorn traditionally is.
Neither side really convinced me, but that’s because I’m a long-time vampire fan.
Although I love the anthology I did have concerns with some of the stories. Garth Nix’s story felt too short and Diana Peterfreund’s story is lovely but feels incomplete and foreshortened. Libba Bray’s story is just a teaser and has the potential to be a much larger story.
I found Margo Lanagan’s story “A Thousand Flowers” to be confusing when it changes point of view. The shifts are not made clear enough when they happen and there needed to be more of a distinction in the characters voices coming through.
This is a really fun anthology to read. I love the commentary between the editors, actually it was the highlight of the collection for me. This is an anthology well worth reading.