Much as I love short story anthologies, I tend to find them lying around half-finished, simply because it is so easy to put them down at the end of a story and get sidetracked by some other shiny book. So although I bought this book and started reading it back in September when it was first released, it was only recently that I picked it up again and realized I had a couple stories left to go.
The premise of this anthology is an argument started via blog between YA authors Justine Larbalestier and Holly Black about the relative merits of these mythological creatures. The stories alternate between zombies and unicorns, with a few combining the two. The editors provide introductions to each story, arguing the virtues of Team Zombie (Larbalestier) and Team Unicorn (Black). Many big-name YA authors have contributed, including Meg Cabot, Garth Nix, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, and Scott Westerfeld. The bickering between the editors feels, at times, a bit contrived, but the stories deliver in fun and exciting ways.
Personally, I was firmly on Team Unicorn when I picked this book up. In a revelation that is sure to send shock waves through the book blogosphere, I must admit: I am not a fan of zombie literature. I know it has been very popular of late, with World War Z and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies hitting bestseller lists everywhere. But I just do not see the appeal of shuffling, leaking, previously-dead people trying to eat your brain. Unicorns, on the other hand, have a complex and contradictory mythology. They have healing powers and a sense of purity about them, and yet they can also be deadly. They have an air of mystery about them. They glow. And they don’t leak body fluids.