Thursday, February 6, 2014

Book 8: Zombies vs Unicorns

That's right.  Zombies vs. Unicorns.  A collection of short stories that tries to answer the question of which is better.  The hope and purity of Unicorns or the despair and despoilment of Zombies. Six of each (and oddly and a bit disappointingly, only one story has both and even it doesn't have a fight between the two).  Here we go:
1) The Highest Justice by Garth Nix.  Medieval magical setting.  Nix can write and I would have a read a whole book set in this world.  Left me wanting more, much more.  It's a unicorn story with the help of a zombie.  Five out of five stars.
2) Love Will Tear Us Apart by Alaya Dawn Johnson.  Gay zombie lusts after hunk who's dad is a zombie killer.  Interesting set up, cool characters, nothing new here.  Four stars\
3) Purity Test by Naomi Novik.  More tongue in cheek than anything.  Silly fun with all too human unicorn in the middle.  Four stars plus one for the Fort Tryon reference.
4) Bouganvillea by Carrie Ryan.  This is actually a great short story.  Curacao is a haven in world gone mad with zombies.  Teenage girl with daddy dictator issues.  Uses the Zombie backdrop for commentary on survival very well.  Five enthusiastic stars.
5) A Thousand Flowers by Margo Lanagan.  Meh.  Odd story, written well, but avoids the unicorn themes in favor of strange mysticism.  Enjoyable though.  Three stars.
6) Children of the Revolution by Maureen Johnson.  Good short story.  Some of the satire misses, though the end is pretty good.  Three stars.
7) The Care and Feeding of Your Baby Unicorn by Diana Peterfreund.  Very readable twist with unicorns as bad guys.  Pretty standard YA stuff with misunderstood teen girl who discovers she holds secret powers.  One of the few books with an actual upbeat ending, which I appreciated.  Four stars
8) Inocualata by Scott Westerfeld.  Something in this one really grabbed me.  I suppose the half zombie is getting done to death and I'm getting pretty tired of having gay characters pop up all the time, but feels genuine.  I enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I would have.  Four stars.
9) Princess Prettypants by Meg Cabot.  Love the title.  A real unicorn story.  This might be my favorite simply because it totally embraces unicorns rather than trying to make them evil or something.  Sweet with just a tinge of revenge fantasy thrown in.  And Cabot can really keep things interesting, if a bit surface.  Four stars.
10) Cold Hands by Cassandra Clare.  Strange that one my least favorite is by the only author that I've read before.  Shallow characters, not terribly engaging backdrop, and too tidy end.  Two Stars.
11) The Third Virgin by Kathleen Duey.  Putting a twist on the magical healing powers of a unicorn who gets so tired of it all after 500 years (maybe more), especially its own murderous inclinations, Duey pulls off a very interesting piece on redemption.  Four Stars.
12) Prom Night by Libba Bray.  Near perfect.  Gets a lot of development in a short period of time while providing the creepiest story.  Classic horror.  Five Stars.

That's 25 stars for the Unicorns and 23 for the Zombies.  Unicorns win!

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