In 2007 an intense debate heated up on the blogs of young adult authors Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier. The main topic of consideration was centered on a simple question, a choice between two supernatural creatures and their merits in connection with the writing of fiction. Who makes for a better story: zombies or unicorns? What had begun as a friendly little blog chat and voting poll soon turned to all out social media war and the troops began to rally. The time has come for the ultimate literary showdown; the time has come for Zombies vs. Unicorns.
Zombies vs. Unicorns is an anthology of short stories from some of the most popular young adult authors of today showing their support for either “Team Zombie” or “Team Uniciorn”. Black and Larbalestier edit the anthology itself with hilarious commentary throughout the entire book and short introductions by both before each short story is presented. Every story provides its own unique twist on the creature the author has chosen as their subject and each story is completely strange and unexpected in its own delightful way. While some writers stay true to their form others take on different settings or time periods, giving readers a glimpse into their writing in new territory.
Readers will find themselves saving chocolate milk loving baby unicorns in Manhattan with author Naomi Novak, fighting the mudo off and living on a solitary island after “The Return” with Carrie Ryan or maybe even hanging out with Meg Cabot to watch one teenager get a pretty amazing birthday present with a horn (No not that kind of horn.). No matter the time, no matter the place, you can be sure a zombie or unicorn will make an entrance.
While each story is different in every way, a few of the stories are quite mature and should be viewed by parents possibly before turning the book over to younger teens. Since the authors in the book are popular young adult authors one might think the book would be appropriate for reader’s of those author’s same books but that may not be the case with every story and each teen should be judged by their own level of maturity for certain subject material in the anthology.
Whether the reader is more pro-zombie or pro-unicorn oriented in the end really doesn’t matter. The anthology has proven the point that both make great subjects for fiction especially in the form of short stories as in Zombies vs. Unicorns. Throw in some detailed background and mythology on the stars of the book and you also become a more educated scholar on the subject of both the un-dead and the unicorn. A hilarious, absurdly quirky book that takes readers somewhere no reader has gone before with terrific young adult writers as their guides.
Meg Cabot, Kathleen Duey, Margo Lanagan,
Garth Nix, Naomi Novik, Diana Peterfreund
Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Alaya Dawn Johnson,
Maureen Johnson, Carrie Ryan, Scott Westerfeld
In the end well I have to say I am….how can I not be?
R.I.P. IV Challenge 2009
I am excited to have finished my reading for Stainless Steel Droppings’ R.I.P IV Challenge. I am posting early just because I rarely have time lately to post and with my son’s first Halloween coming up I am busy with Mommy stuff and may not get in anymore spooky reading! I must say I was happy with what I accomplished this last month though reading wise. I really have gotten hooked on Charlaine Harris and her Sookie Stackhouse series and I found a very similar series I like by Molly Harper. The first two books are out now: Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs and Nice Girls Don’t Date Dead Men. Nice Girls Don’t Live Forever will be released January 2010. Now normally these books would not be “my cup of tea” but the main character is a Children’s Librarian, dedicated Janeite and frankly hilarious! So my final total was 10 although I did not get to every genre. I really wanted to re-read some Poe and The Monk but time ran away! Happy Halloween!!
Mystery: Helter Skelter
Suspense: The Ghost Writer by John Harwood, Grave Surprise by Charlaine Harris
Dark Fantasy: The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan , Hunger Games and Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Gothic: Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger
Supernatural: A Touch of Dead by Charlaine Harris, Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs and Nice Girls Don’t Date Dead Men by Molly Harper
So much has been going on lately that I have barely posted but I have had my nose stuck in some fantastic fiction! For the past two days I have been reading The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins. I had never read The Hunger Games so I was able to read that and then Catching Fire back to back. I loved them both. Such smart ideas and unique writing. So much of her futuristic society went back to basics and yet other parts like the Capitol reminded me of Scott Westerfeld’s work in the Uglies series. I thoroughly enjoyed the books and cannot wait for the next in the series. I love the mix of futuristic technology and natural survival skills. I see the future reverting to one of these two. In some ways I think our separation from nature and inability to survive within true nature may be our downfall like many of the tributes. All in all some terrific writing and “can’t put it down” reading. Below is a synopsis of the latest book Catching Fire:
“Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge.”
Another book that I have recently read on the futuristic society theme was The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan. I read this book in about a day. I simply could not put it down. Her fast paced plot and interesting storyline keep you sucked into the story at a non-stop pace. I was intrigued by her idea of the future as a place haunted by the undead due to some sort of virus type illness. Zombie plots abound but this was done in such a new and classic way that I found myself finding beauty, sadness and life in the strangest places with her writing. Absolutely a must read…Ryan is also a native South Carolinian which is always nice. I love to find local authors making a splash in the book world! Below is a synopsis of The Forest of Hands and Teeth:
” In Mary’s world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future—between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?”