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It’s the epic battle of brains against manes. Which side are you on?

It’s a question as old as time itself: which is better, the zombie or the unicorn? This all-original anthology edited by Holly Black (Team Unicorn) and Justine Larbalestier (Team Zombie) makes strong arguments for both sides in the form of spectacular short stories. Half of the stories portray the strengths—for good and evil—of unicorns, and half show the good (and really, really badass) side of zombies. Contributors include many bestselling 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?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781469203966
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Publication date: 04/03/2012
Edition description: Unabridged
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.00(h) x 1.37(d)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

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 Tales series, the Curse Workers series, Doll Bones, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, The Darkest Part of the Forest, the Magisterium series (with Cassandra Clare), and the Folk of the Air series. 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

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

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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Zombies vs. Unicorns 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 261 reviews.
Jocelyn_Summers More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Like if you are with me. Team unicorns unite!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im team zombiecorns... c:
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hey unicorns are awesome zombies are dumb and slow and can be beaten with a plant
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is totally awesome some mature and gory themes enclosed but overall great. TEAM UNICORN!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book and there is alot of profane language. I reccomend it for older teens.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Rona Campbell More than 1 year ago
I personaly am team zombie but i enjoyed all of the stories and highly reccomend this book.
Rebecca Holecek More than 1 year ago
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.
trinityM82 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The stories about zombies are better than the ones about unicorns. There is an iteresting take on the idea of unicorns being flesh eaters.
roses7184 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I debated for a good long time whether to review this book as a whole, or to break it into story components like I've seen a few others do. I finally decided to just do a general review. After all, half the fun of diving into a compilation like this is discovering each story for yourself! I wouldn't want to take that away from my dear readers. So instead, I'll try to explain what I love overall. Shall we?Let me start out by saying that I don't generally read many anthologies. As a reader, I'm big on being able to connect with my characters and their lives. I want to feel invested in them as I follow them throughout the story. Anthologies make that a bit difficult to do, since the authors are limited to a short story and therefore limited in the amount of character building that they can do. Make sense? Okay, now take everything that I just said and throw it out the window. Yup, I'll wait. Toss it right out. This book made me 100% love anthologies and I only hope that there are more out there like this!Each story in Zombies vs. Unicorns opens with banter between Holly and Justine, and that in itself is pure fun! I enjoyed all the stories in this anthology so very much, that it's impossible for me to declare a favorite. However I will say that Maureen Johnson's zombie children gave me some crazy dreams! Some of the stories are slightly disturbing. Some of them will have you giggling maniacally and then wondering why on Earth everyone is staring at you. You might think I'm kidding but I warn you, don't read this book on the bus. (Unless of course you're on a bus full of crazy people, in which case you'll blend right in.) The swap between zombie and unicorn themed stories keeps the book light and moving, and I read straight on through until the end!In an effort not to ramble on about my love for this book, I'll wrap it up here. Suffice it to say that if you enjoy zombies or unicorns, or "zombicorns" (zombie/unicorn hybrids that a friend and I fully support) then you will enjoy this anthology immensely! The sheer talent on the contributing writers makes it hard to choose what side you are truly on. I've debated this deep question and I think I've come up with an answer. Yes friends, overall I'm Team Zombie. Celebrate or throw tomatoes as you wish, then get down to your local bookstore and pick up a copy of Zombies vs. Unicorns!
shellyquade on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Individually, I liked most of the stories, all of which had their own flair. The point of the anthology, however, was supposed to be an attempt at answering the question of which is better: zombies or unicorns?Frankly, that's a matter of opinion, and difficult to reach a conclusion on. Before each story, however, which alternated between a story featuring a unicorn and a story featuring a zombie, was a short dialogue between editors Justine Larbalestier & Holly Black. This dialogue was neither in depth, nor particularly funny, nor particularly adequate at arguing for zombies and/or unicorns.This anthology is worth purchasing, it's just not put together as well as it could be, and is therefore not as effective as it should be.
callmecayce on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A fantastic collection of YA short stories about zombies and unicorns. Each of the stories is labeled with a zombie or a unicorn icon and accompanied by some commentary from Justine Larbalestier (zombies) and Holly Black (unicorns). These commentaries, along with the introduction, are one of the best things about the book. I liked all the stories, but my favorite was "Love Will Tear Us Apart" by Alaya Dawn Johnson. I love this book and highly recommend it, regardless of whether you like or hate zombies and/or unicorns.
Tatiana_G on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
And the winner is...TEAM ZOMBIES!Frankly, I have no interest in zombies and unicorns, I just don't, and especially in unicorns. But I was induced to give this anthology a chance mostly by many of my GR friends' positive reviews. They didn't let me down. Unlike almost all multi-author collections, this one is very strong.The zombie stories are almost consistently very good. The weakest, expectedly, is Cassandra Clare's necrophilic Cold Hands. Not only is it written poorly, but it has a fundamental flaw in logic - why aren't bodies of the deceased simply burned? Wouldn't that stop all the town's problems?The rest of the stories are great though.Alaya Dawn Johnson managed to convince me zombies can be sexually attractive (that's a first!) in her Love Will Tear Us Apart, points added for boy/boy love story, points taken away for crassness and excessive use of the f-word.Carrie Ryan's Bougainville is a million times better than the only novel of hers I've read (The Forest of Hands and Teeth). Great survival story with a twisty ending, no nauseating love triangles and quadrangles and the heroine is actually likable.The Children of the Revolution by Maureen Johnson is about creepy zombie kiddies and a freaky celebrity.Scott Westerfeld's Inoculata left me yearning for more. The whole idea of people mutating to co-exist with zombies is fascinating. There is also some girl on girl action.The most bleak story is saved for the end. Libba Bray's teen survivors don't have much to look forward to after Prom Night is over.Ironically, both my most and least favorite stories are about unicorns. Garth Nix's The Highest Justice and Naomi Novik's Purity Test are half-baked creations that they probably threw together in minutes. Nothing original or exciting about them.Meg Cabot's Princess Prettypants, as you can expect from the title, is a pure silliness and fluff, but the writing is very engaging and I have a soft spot for Meg's characters.The Care and Feeding of Your Baby Killer Unicorn definitely needs a better title, but the unicorn in this story is super-cute in spite of having sharp teeth and being carnivorous. Maybe I should give Diana Peterfreund's novels a try?And finally, the best! The unicorn in Kathleen Duey's The Third Virgin is a hardcore addict! And Margo Lanagan's A Thousand Flowers is full of deliciously gory stuff like rape, bestiality, murder and child birth. Only fans of Tender Morsels should proceed with this one.So yay for creepy unicorns as well!
exlibrisbitsy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Just for the record I am Team Unicorn all the way. I have loved unicorns since I was very small. I had stuffed animal unicorns, my little pony action figures that were unicorns, even unicorn wallpaper on the walls of my bedroom (oh yes, there were rainbows too, why do you ask?). I was a huge fantasy fan even then. Zombies have been a much more recent addition to my life and while I do find them frightening, but in an intriguing way, I don¿t normally get much enjoyment out of reading about them.With this attitude I cracked open Zombies vs. Unicorns, a short story anthology edited by Justine Larbalestier and Holly Black. The purpose of this book is to have a show down between short stories about zombies and short stories about unicorns to see which one would come out on top. Some of the best YA fantasy authors contributed to this collection and it shows. Even the stories that weren¿t as powerful as some of the others still had a shine to them that I appreciated and I didn¿t feel that there was a dull one in the bunch.There was a short introduction talking about zombies and unicorns and their relative merits and then each of the twelve short stories contained a short preface by the editors arguing for or against their specific champion as regards to the story presented. For the most part this was written humorously and sometimes with amazing insight into the story itself. On an occasion or two it skittered dangerously close to being degrading to the story or author and not just to the zombie or unicorn the author was supporting. Perhaps I was misreading intent though because the bickering did get a bit tiring by the 11th and 12th round as they started to run out of things to argue about.While all of the stories were very well written and each brought up great points in their own way my two favorites were "The Care and Feeding of Your Baby Killer Unicorn" by Diana Peterfruend the author of Rampant and "Bougainvillea" by Carrie Ryan the author of The Forest of Hands and Teeth. So, basically I liked a unicorn and a zombie story respectively each expanding on the respective worlds the authors had built in their novels with these short stories.The unicorn stories both poked fun at their own ranks with tongue firmly in cheek or used the unicorn in increasingly creative way to examine different aspects of humanity. In "The Highest Justice" a princess uses her purity to bring a unicorn to her aide and see justice be done. I wanted this one to be a full blown novella because I wanted to read more after it came to a close. I thought that both "Purity Test", a story about a unicorn that is willing to be lenient on the concept of virginity if it means he gets a competent heroine, and "Princess Prettypants", a story about a girl that wants a car for her birthday but instead gets a unicorn, were laugh out loud funny and I enjoyed them very much. "A Thousand Flowers" ended up being more sad and introspective than I expected, as a unicorn leads a man to find a princess bloody and half naked in the woods. Finally, I think "The Third Virgin" is a must read as it shows the addiction to, and pitfalls of, seeking attention and pity when you deserve neither.The zombie stories, interestingly enough, spent more of their time not being traditional zombie stories than otherwise. Most of them actually turned out to be a zombie romance! In "Love Will Tear Us Apart" a zombie struggles with his condition and with his feelings for another boy at the same time. In "The Children of the Revolution" the generation that comes after the zombie apocalypse decides to rebel in the way each new generation does best, by becoming that which their parents hate. In "Inoculata" we examine crazy celebrities, their fascination with staying forever young, and their strangely sinister and secretive religions. "Cold Hands" is another zombie love story with the living and the dead risking everything for love. Finally, "Prom Night" was the first truly sinister zombie story in the b
PureImagination on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have never reviewed an anthology, so I really don't know where to begin. I guess I will start off by saying that I usually do not like short stories, or reading a book of short stories all at one time. I usually grow bored with them. I like to have lots of character development and plot building and you just can't do that in short stories, but I am happy to say that I did not grown bored with this book.Every single author in the book is fantastic and their stories were fantastic as well. I was planning on naming my favorite zombie story and my favorite unicorns story, but as I look back through them, I just can't pick! I'll try to touch on a few of my favorites.I think my favorite was definitely Cold Hands by Cassandra Clare. This story was amazing! I want it to be the start of a new series! Forget about the Mortal Instruments, this was more awesome than those. (Yes I did just say that!) The world she creates in this story has endless possibilities and I wish we could explore them all. The characters were fantastic and Cassandra really made you feel their love for each other even though it was short. If you read one story in this anthology make it this one!Inoculata by Scott Weterfeld was also fantastic. It's another one that I wish was the beginning of a new series or book. I loved the idea of his 'cure' and the ending left you wanting more.I have never read anything by Meg Cabot so I didn't know what to expect when it came time to read Princess Prettypants. The name alone is terrifying, but the story was great! How can you go wrong with a unicorn that farts rainbows?I also love The Children of the Revolution by Maureen Johnson. It was funny and eerie at the same time. It was a lot of fun.I, of course, loved The Care and Feeding of Your Baby Killer Unicorn by Diana Peterfreund. I'm a huge fan of the Killer Unicorn series, so I was excited to read this one, and I was happy to see that it was about the back story of the new character that shows up in Ascendant. I can't wait to learn more about her!Those are only my favorites. All the stories were good. Another thing that made the book awesome were the introductions (a.k.a. arguments) between Holly and Justine! They made me laugh many times. And have you saw this book in person? Its amazing! The artwork and design are so detailed!I highly suggest that you read this book! Especially if you are a fan of any of these authors. But what you really want to know is which team, right? Going into this book I was team unicorn, but now I'm not so sure. Do I have to pick?
ChelseaSaysRawr on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What an interesting comparison, I¿m surprised that I haven¿t heard about this before. I¿ve heard about Aliens Vs Predators, Ninjas Vs Pirates, Werewolves Vs Vampires, but Unicorn Vs Zombie? A very interesting question, one that I figured I already knew the answer to. Unicorn team over in my corner. This collection of short stories are a wide range of things, amusing, sad, heart retching, good, evil, comical, silly, inspiring..etc. And at the beginning of each story Holly and Justine would have a debate and bring up the points that the next story has while the other person tries to prove why that point doesn¿t matter and how that person chosen character is better. The book is pure fun and enjoyment, with stories by the big names in teenager fiction and nonfiction.In the end I don¿t know what team is better; I find I preferred more of the zombie stories over the unicorns. That, I think, is because most of the unicorn stories didn¿t seem well planned out or didn¿t touch me as much as the post apocalypse zombies stories did. But even feeling this, the arguments that Holly makes before every story reminds me of why I do like unicorns, who are more than white horsies with big horns that dance around on rainbows. So now I¿m sitting on the fence¿. But in the end it¿s up to you.
dcoward on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An excellent collection of short stories - not a dud in the bunch.
Unkletom on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In the age old (according to editors Black & Larbalestier) quest for the answer to which is cooler, brain eating zombies or rainbow farting unicorns, twelve renowned authors have taken up sides and presented stories in support of their choice. 1. The Highest Justice, by Garth Nix: An eerie tale of murder and high intrigue in a fairy tale setting. 2. Love Will Tear Us Apart, by Alaya Dawn Johnson: A high school zombie struggles to choose between competing desires. 3. Purity Test, by Naomi Novik: A teen encounters the usual assortment of unicorns, trolls and evil wizards while hanging out in Central Park. 4. Bougainvillea, by Carrie Ryan: Carrie brings her considerable imagination to bear to give us her spin on the classic Caribbean governor's daughter meets zombies tale. I enjoyed this much more than I did Forest of Hands & Teeth. 5. A Thousand Flowers, by Margo Lanagan: A touching and very unusual love story. 6. The Children of the Revolution, by Maureen Johnson: A tongue in cheek exposé of the truth behind that beautiful celebrity couple and all their adopted children. 7. The Care and Feeding of Your Baby Killer Unicorn, by Diana Peterfreund: A fascinating tale where unicorns are less the stuff of dreams than of nightmares. 8. Inoculata, by Scott Westerfeld: A classic zombie tale with an element of Mad Max thrown in. I guess that comes from being married to an Aussie. 9. Princess Prettypants, by Meg Cabot: It's a good thing this is a story in an anthology. There is no way I would be caught dead with a book with this title on the cover. That said, this is a surprisingly entertaining story of a 17 year-old girl who doesn't get the car she wanted for her birthday. 10. Cold Hands, by Cassandra Clare: A classic romance with a dash of murder intrigue and undead thrown in. 11. The Third Virgin, by Kathleen Duey: And I thought serial killers were a uniquely human phenomenon. This one is fascinating and very original. 12. Prom Night, by Libba Bray: In a bleak world where all adults have turned into undead, the remaining teens struggle to retain a tenuous hold on normality. All of the stories are entertaining (not a stinker in the lot) a couple of the unicorn tales give off a hint of saccharin and one or two of the zombie stories tend to shamble a bit. My three favorites (Bougainvillea, Children of the Revolution & Cold Hands) just happen to all be zombie tales so I guess that if I were the judge, I'd have to side with the undead. I still don't think I'd let my daughters date one, though.
midnightbex on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a great collection of glimpses into fantastical unicorn and zombie filled worlds. As a long time Team Zombie standard bearer, I was surprised by how much I also enjoyed the unicorn stories. It's rare for a collection to contain such a wide variety of genres from true horror to teenage wish fulfillment (in the best way possible) and have them all be engaging reads.As and added bonus, Black and Larbalestier, who edited the book, engage in some interesting trash talk in their introductions to each story and pull the works together.Pick up this book and decide for yourself which team you're on!
pocketmermaid on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book gets five stars just for its premise: an anthology of short fiction alternating between two of the coolest things on the planet -- zombies and unicorns! Though the banter between the anthology's two editors in-between each story urged me to choose a side, I'm not able to make such a choice. I found all of the stories entertaining in one way or another. This is mostly thanks to editors Holly Black (Team Unicorn) and Justine Larbalestier (Team Zombie) getting pretty much all the coolest writers in Young Adult fiction today to contribute a story to this collection. Personal highlights from Team Unicorn were Margo Lanagan's "A Thousand Flowers" and Diana Peterfreund's "The Care and Feeding of Your Baby Killer Unicorn." Personal highlights from Team Zombie were Alaya Dawn Johnson's "Love Will Tear Us Apart" and Libba Bray's "Prom Night." This was a very awesome read & I'm so happy it exists in this world. Hurrah!