Zombies Vs. Unicorns Book Review

Are you Team Zombie or Team Unicorn?

-front flap


Zombies Vs. Unicorns edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier

Usually, I don’t like anthologies of short stories because I end up either not caring about the characters because the tale is so short, or caring too much then running out of story. But on a whim I picked this book up, and I must say that I was absolutely delighted. It was fantastic. As you can probably guess, each story is either about Zombies, or Unicorns, and you can decide for yourself which is better. I’m personally Team Zombie because I liked more of the Zombie stories, although the Unicorns were pretty good.

So now, I’m just going to go through and give a brief review of each story in here.

 The Highest Justice by Garth Nix: I actually didn’t really like this story. It was medievaly, but not in a particularly entertaining way. A classic Unicorn tale and good enough on its own, it paled in comparison to some of the other more modern, faster paced stories.

Love Will Tear Us Apart by Alaya Dawn Johnson: Oh. My. God. So good. I loved this story. I was laughing like a hyena and totally in love with the characters. I what I liked a lot about this story, and many others in the anthology, is that they took the terms “Zombie” and “Unicorn” but interpreted them in a unique way. So this is a Zombie story, but not just regular back from the dead stuff. It’s gay Zombie romance and quite possibly my favorite story in the book.

Purity Test by Naomi Novik: Well, this was another Unicorn story. It was more modern, but not quite as entertaining as some of the other Unicorn tales, though better than the first. It was a little…too random, I suppose. One of those stories where things just happen. Cute, but just okay.

Bougainvillea by Carrie Ryan: Another mind-blowingly awesome Zombie story. As I read it, I barely thought of it as a Zombie story because it had transported me to a little island in the Caribbean and immersed me in the life of the main character. It was quieter than some of the other stories, but very, very interesting. And the ending—incredible.

A Thousand Flowers by Margo Lanagan: Okay. This story was weird. It was weird and totally confusing because the narration kept switching between characters, but it was first person so it was really hard to tell who was telling the story. Not that I really cared because the story was kinda dull. Until this chick got it on with the Unicorn. Then it was just gross.

The Children of the Revolution by Maureen Johnson: Another quieter Zombie tale. Less fascinating because you can kinda tell what’s going on before the character figures it out, but entertaining nonetheless. The ending was quite funny.

The Care and Feeding of Your Baby Killer Unicorn by Dana Peterfreund: This was probably the best Unicorn story in the book. Because it was awesome. And hilarious. And romantic. And had killer Unicorns. I loved the main character. Her narration was perfect and it was a really lively story. I wish there was more of this. I really, really do.

Inoculata by Scott Westerfeld: A good Zombie story. Typical Zombies, but not so typical situations for the main characters who go through Zombie drills and training to protect themselves from the hordes of Zombies that live outside their walled hold. Then, as the title suggests, they find a cure. What they do next surprised me. It’s not what I would have done. This reminded me a lot of Zombieland. Double Tap!

Princess Prettypants by Meg Cabot: Another fantastic Unicorn story. So much funny. It takes the classic idea of a Unicorn— all rainbows and sunshine— and throws the beast into the life of a girl who couldn’t care less about having one. Lovely.

Cold Hands by Cassandra Clare: Lame. I have a love-hate relationship with her work, but this time it was most definitely just hate. The mystery was not mysterious. The main character was way too mopey. The story had a message—why can’t humans and Zombies just get along?— that was too overdone. And the setting was a modern day dukedom which I thought was just weird. Not because of the medieval/modern mix but because it added nothing to the story except to make it confusing.

The Third Virgin by Kathleen Duey: This was a darker more pensive Unicorn story where the main character was the actual Unicorn. I liked the slow pace and the fact that the beast was totally emo. It was evil and good all at once and was torn and it kept killing people so it wanted to die. Suicidal Unicorns? Yes.

Prom Night by Libba Bray: So we all know that she’s just a fantastic author in general. And this story delivers. It’s probably the creepiest story in the book and the ending was a cold finger running down my spine. But man was it good. This is Zombies at their most terrifying.

Great stories (for the most part) combined with great cover art makes this antholgy a choice definitely worth your time.

Ri’s Rating



0. Couldn’t get past chapter one for fear of wanting to kill myself. Book induced suicide…

1: Yuck. Ew. Below Average. Probably didn’t even read the middle and skipped to the end.

2. Ok. Would’ve been better if I’d written the ending and everything else.

3. Not bad at all. Very enjoyable. Quite nice. Recommendable.

4. My kind of book. Near ideal, but something was a little off (annoying names, bad ending, that sort of thing).

5. WOW. Makes me wonder why people watch T.V when this is out there. Really liked it. Don’t expect to see this often.

6 and above. What I want my book to be.

Leave a comment


  1. Lyla

     /  April 10, 2011

    I bought this book because of the hilarious intro and the amazing cover. Seriously, I want to own it just because of the weirdly grotesque yet happy-colored cover art.

    I liked the stories – they were all creative, as one would expect from these authors. But I FELL IN LOVE with zombies when I read “Love Will Tear Us Apart.” Good god, I felt like I’d read a whole novel in that I was SO attached to the characters. It was astonishing. I would read a whole series based on it.

    I guess it was a bit crass for some, but I thought it gave the story some teeth and I loved it. And as a heterosexual female, I demand more stories about awesome, crazy, sexy boys who fall for each other in such a fantastic (and yes, weird) way. The fact that they might kill each other one day, and that one of them is a zombie, is brilliant.

    Read it – you’ll love it too.

    • Ri

       /  April 11, 2011

      SAME. That was, hands down, my favorite story in the book. The feeling of having read a whole novel– that’s exactly what I felt. It was so interesting and funny and I loved how he simultaneously wanted to eat him and love him. That, right there, is comedic gold. And I 100% agree that love stories need a bit more diversity. As this one shows, they are clearly just as enjoyable and what makes a story good isn’t the gender of the characters but the quality of the writing. Thanks for comenting, it was fabulous to wake up to that!

  1. Book: Zombies versus Unicorns | taking a break

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