Zombies vs. Unicorns

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Overview

Justine Larbalestier says that zombies are our own walking deaths. Funny, grim, and terrifying, they cannot be escaped. Unicorns are sparkly and pastel and fart rainbows.

Holly Black says that unicorns are healers, arbiters of justice, and, occasionally, majestic man-killers. Zombies drool and shed and probably carry diseases.

Some of ...

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Zombies vs. Unicorns

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Overview

Justine Larbalestier says that zombies are our own walking deaths. Funny, grim, and terrifying, they cannot be escaped. Unicorns are sparkly and pastel and fart rainbows.

Holly Black says that unicorns are healers, arbiters of justice, and, occasionally, majestic man-killers. Zombies drool and shed and probably carry diseases.

Some of today’s finest writers have chosen their side, creating dazzling stories about both creatures. So read on, and decide for yourself:

Are you Team Zombie or Team Unicorn?

TEAM UNICORN: edited by Holly Black
Featuring authors Kathleen Duey, Meg Cabot, Garth Nix, Margo Lanagan, Naomi Novik, and Diana Peterfreund

TEAM ZOMBIE: edited by Justine Larbalestier
Featuring authors Libba Bray, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Cassandra Clare, Maureen Johnson, Carrie Ryan, and Scott Westerfeld

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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.)
From the Publisher
"Forget vampires vs. werewolves; the hottest feud is between fans of the fiercely magical horses and the shambling, brain-eating undead. . . . Who is the victor in this epic smackdown? Readers, of course!" - Kirkus Reviews

* "In this offbeat anthology, editors Black and Larbalestier embark upon a literary throw-down to determine which is superior: zombies or unicorns. . . . 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." - Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Who ultimately wins? To reuse an old joke: everyone." - Booklist

* "This is a must-have for fantasy collections.” - School Library Journal, starred review

Children's Literature - Heather Kinard
This imaginative anthology joins the lively debate about which is better: the unicorn or the zombie? Editors of the book lead the debate with Black defending the unicorns and Larbalestier the zombies. Each side has six entertaining stories written by impressive authors, including Garth Nix, Libba Bray, Scott Westerfeld, and Meg Cabot, that try to sway readers into joining a side. Each story is separate and distinct, but the bantering dialogue between the editors helps to tie one story to the next. Some selections are stronger than others ranging from light and funny to dark and sinister. In the beginning, readers may think they have made their choice, but after reading all the selections, some may be tempted to change sides. Fantasy lovers will find much of this book entertaining, but this is definitely written for a more mature audience as there are graphic scenes of violence and sex, as well as strong profanity in several selections. Reviewer: Heather Kinard
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier have gathered 12 stories about zombies and unicorns by well-known and lesser-known authors in this collection (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2010). There are lots of surprises in terms of subject matter and authorship (who would suspect Meg Cabot of writing a unicorn story, "Princess Prettypants"). The editors play up the competitive nature of the collection, with Black a definite unicorn fan who feels zombies have nothing to offer but rot and death. Larbalestier considers zombies a part of our very nature, impossible to deny. Because the full cast—Ellen Grafton, Nick Podehl, Kate Rudd, Julia Whelan, and Phil Gigante—do such a masterful job of realizing the characters in each story, the banter between the editors in between each story is sometimes distracting. In addition to these introductory remarks, music signals whether the story is about zombies (heavy music) or unicorns (light, sparkly sounds). There are no holes barred in terms of language (cursing) and subjects, including zombie homosexuals. Among the tales are Carrie Ryan's "Bougainvillea," Dawn Johnson's "Love Will Tear Us Apart," "Prom Night" by Libba Bray, Scott Westerfeld's "Inoculata," and Garth Nix's "The Highest Justice." An imaginative, entertaining collection.—Edie Ching, University of Maryland, College Park
Kirkus Reviews

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)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781469203973
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio
  • Publication date: 4/3/2012
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Age range: 15 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.12 (w) x 6.50 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Holly Black

Holly Black is the author of bestselling contemporary fantasy books for kids and teens. Some of her titles include The Spiderwick Chronicles (with Tony DiTerlizzi), The Modern Faerie Tale series, the Curse Workers series, Doll Bones, and The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. She has been a finalist for the Mythopoeic Award, a finalist for an Eisner Award, and the recipient of both an Andre Norton Award and a Newbery Honor. She lives in New England with her husband and son in a house with a secret door. Visit her at BlackHolly.com.

Justine Larbalestier is the author of several teen novels, including LIAR, the MAGIC OR MADNESS trilogy, and HOW TO DITCH YOUR FAIRY. She was born and raised in Sydney, Australia, and she and her husband, Scott Westerfeld, now split their time between Sydney and New York City. Visit Justine at justinelarbalestier.com.

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Read an Excerpt

Zombies vs. Unicorns
“The Highest Justice”
Holly: Legends of unicorns occur all over the world throughout recorded history. From a unicorn in Persia, described in the fourth century as having a long white horn tipped in crimson, to the German unicorn whose single horn broke into branches like a stag, to the fierce Indian unicorn, black-horned and too dangerous to be taken alive. There’s the kirin in Japan, with a deerlike body, a single horn, and a head like a lion or wolf. And there’s the medieval European unicorn, with the beard of a goat and cloven hooves.

No matter the origin, the unicorn is usually thought to be a solitary creature whose very body possesses the power to heal. The legends describe it as elusive and beautiful, fierce and strange.

In fact, such is the mysterious draw of the unicorn that originally the story that follows was meant to be a zombie story. Somehow the power of the unicorn caused the story itself to switch sides.

Garth Nix’s “The Highest Justice” draws on the association between unicorns and kings. The Chinese qilin presaged the death of Emperors. The heraldic unicorn shows up on coats of arms, including the Royal Arms of Scotland and England. And in “The Highest Justice,” a unicorn takes an even more direct interest in a royal family.

Justine: That is so unconvincing. Emperors and kings. Noble families. You’re just saying unicorns are stuck-up snobs. Zombies are the proleteriat. Long live the workers!

Also, your global list of genetic experiments gone wrong (deer with the head of a lion? Talk about top heavy!) prove nothing about unicorn variation. Everyone knows unicorns are all-white or rainbow-colored. Ewww. Zombies come in all races. There is nothing more democratic than zombies!

It’s an outright lie that the power of the unicorn caused the story to switch sides. Garth Nix has always been a unicorn lover! He was supposed to write a zombie-unicorn story. But he messed it up, didn’t he? (Dear Readers, you will notice much messing up from Team Unicorn throughout this anthology.)

Holly: Zombies represent the workers? A seething mass out to get us all, eh? That doesn’t seem so egalitarian.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 229 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(126)

4 Star

(54)

3 Star

(26)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(19)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 230 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 24, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Pretty good in a very... Unique and interesting way. Worth reading.

    When I got zombies vs unicorns, it was free, so i thought 'why not'. I really enjoyed it, however it was free but i'm not sure i would've spent my money on it if it weren't for the fact that one of my favorite authors (Cassandra Clare) wrote in it. It's definately worth reading though. It's really interesting to see how different authors percieve the topics of zombie and unicorns which really are very cliche and stereotipical topics. It's really cool how they all were able to change it up and keep it interesting so that not ALL zombies were moaned and ate peoples brains and not ALL unicorns pranced and glittered. Some are a lot better than others. Some were slow but the majority were between pretty good and really good. Some had really great style and perspective as well. I gave it 3 stars because although some (mostly in the beginning so may I say: IT GETS BETTER!)weren't as good, the ones that were good were really good. And can I just say for the record:team zombie totally crushes team unicorn.

    8 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2012

    Unicorns forever UNICORNS

    I had grilled cheese with Dreamdancer (a close unicorn friend of mine) and she was thourghly insulted. We both totally agreed that zombies were gross oddities of darkness,and an insult to majestic, beautiful unicorns. Zombie fans, open your eyes. Unicorns, our majestic soliders of light, will forever rule over petty zombies.

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2012

    Zombies rule!!!!!!

    Lets face it, everyone and everything dead or alive knows that a zombie would beat a unicorn in any kind of battle any day. Justine Larbalestier has the right idea, zombies rule, but on the other hand Holly Black an all her followers still have yet to get there eyes opened to the real world and admit that zombies have always, and forever will rule on top of pansy little unicorns.

    5 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 30, 2011

    Zombies vs unicorns

    The zombie stories were awesome and violent but the unicorn ones were boreing and drab

    5 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2013

    Unicorns!

    Like if you are with me. Team unicorns unite!!!!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2013

    Team

    UUUUUUUUUUUUNNNNNNNIIIIIICCCOORRNNNNN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2013

    Book

    Hey unicorns are awesome zombies are dumb and slow and can be beaten with a plant

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2012

    OMG UNICORNS

    YGGGFFGJHSHUFXHJJGCHGHFGJGFRGTVHFHVHGJGTFTVGBUYYHYGRHJGHJLIUKJGRF-_HI __TEAM_UNICORN___________________

    3 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2012

    Hiiiiiii

    Im team zombiecorns... c:

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2012

    Review

    This book has inappropriate context for young readers

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2012

    Bubles READ THIS RIGHT NOW OR ELSE

    If U DINT READ THIS I WILL SEND MY PENGUIN PILLOW PET AT YOU AND WHILE ITS FLYING I WILL YELL




























    ANGRY BIRDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    i drank a energy drink. Puppy power

    2 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2011

    Go team zombie.

    While i enjoyed both unicorn and zombie stories, i felt as if the zombie stories carried more of an scary/funny vibe. My favorite story was cassie clares, i would reccomend this book to anyone 13 or over.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 10, 2011

    Awesome

    I personaly am team zombie but i enjoyed all of the stories and highly reccomend this book.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2011

    Flesh

    I am team zombie... which surprised me...

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2011

    Braaaaiiins

    Delicous. Like brains. Im team zombie when i thought id be team unicorn. I guess i was until that guy bit me... this book will change ur point of veiw on zombies and unicorns. My fav story would be children of the revolution. 276 pages. 138 of zombies and braaiiins. Braaaaiiinssss.... we happy. We like sponge, we happy :) we go to london after sponge with lil ones. George is pretty.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2013

    Kk

    UNICORNS! UNICORNS! UNICORNS! GOOOOOOOOOOOO UNICORNS!! Back off zombies. U r suckers. I love unicorns.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2013

    Team switzerland Team uni-ombie

    TEAM UNI-OMBIE

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2012

    Awesome

    This book is totally awesome some mature and gory themes enclosed but overall great. TEAM UNICORN!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2012

    Unicorns

    I agree with Holly,I am a dude so put some it with your shut.Anyways,zombies are dumb.They have little percentage of brains left.Besides,one hit with a bat will send his head flying through the air like a cannonball.Besides,if they did bite you,the unicorns can heal you and they are WAYYYYY smarter than zombies.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 9, 2012

    The book "Zombies vs Unicorns" is a very unique compil

    The book "Zombies vs Unicorns" is a very unique compilation of differing short stories all based on trying to get their "team" to seem the best. The authors all take individual perspectives of what they imagine when thinking about either zombies or unicorns. I enjoyed this book very much and found it amusing when the leaders of either side try to make their side look better regardless of what they say against the other team. The other authors all took such distinct and separate viewpoint that the only comparison the stories have would be the topic of unicorns or zombies. In the end it is you who decides whether or not you liked the zombie stories or the unicorn stories better.

    I believe the zombie stories were better because they were the most well written out of the book. The only thing is that my favorite story is a unicorn story but as a whole the zombie stories were much better. There were many typo's which bothered me as I was reading because I desperately wanted to correct them but could not as my copy was from the library. I enjoyed the fact that at the beginning of every story there was either a unicorn symbol or zombie symbol depicting whether or not it was a zombie story allowing the unicorn lovers to skip the zombie stories and vice versa.

    They were all very witty, very funny stories most ending fairly well. I left this book feeling as though i needed more stories craved more stories, almost like a zombie craving brains hmm... If you enjoy unicorns or if you enjoy zombies or if you enjoy both, then this would be a great book for you! If you don't particularly have a great passion for zombies or unicorns I'm telling you now you should read this book the stories are wonderful and you will not regret it.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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