From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up–This highly entertaining anthology contains 12 distinct stories brought together by two well-known YA authors. Though each tale has its own flavor, the snarky dialogue between the coeditors draws them together, in the end creating the feel of one long, continuous story. With Black defending the unicorn side of the debate and Larbalestier advocating voraciously for zombies, each team has six powerful stories to sway readers into joining one side or another. Though there are no weak selections in this amazingly well-put-together anthology, there are several standouts for each side. Queen of the Undead, Carrie Ryan, takes readers once again to the world of The Forest of Hands and Teeth (Delacorte, 2009) in the commanding “Bougainvilla.” Though there is some graphic language, Alayna Dawn Johnson's “Love Will Tear Us Apart” takes place in another immensely intense and thought-provoking zombie world. Diana Peterfreund wows readers by delving again into the dark world of Rampant (HarperTeen, 2009) with “The Care and Feeding of Your Baby Killer Unicorn,” proving Astrid is not the only strong female hunter out there. Conversely, Meg Cabot provides a funnier view of the beasts in “Princess Prettypants,” in which a unicorn literally farts rainbows. The debate is wrapped up with Libba Bray's strong zombie tale, “Prom Night,” leaving readers with both hope and realism battling for dominance. This is a must-have for fantasy collections, though schools must be cautioned that there is strong profanity, a bestiality tale, and graphic scenes of both violence and sexual encounters.Jessica Miller, New Britain Public Library, CT
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Can the chatter of the YA nerdosphere launch a successful book? This imaginative collection answers with a resounding yes. Beginning in February 2007, editors Black and Larbalestier debated zombies’ and unicorns’ strengths and weaknesses on Larbalestier’s blog, and the resulting interest roped in stories from a number of impressive authors, including Libba Bray, Meg Cabot, and Garth Nix. Handy icons make it easy to choose which stories each camp will want to read, but the book’s A-plus design—and the desire to know which team wins!—will have unicorn die-hards crossing over into flesh-eating territory, and vice versa. The standouts come from the authors who take their gimmicky mission the most seriously: Carrie Ryan’s “Bougainvillea,” in which she continues the mudo mythology she began in The Forest of Hands and Teeth (2009); Maureen Johnson’s highly unsettling “The Children of the Revolution”; Scott Westerfeld’s propulsive “Inoculata”; and Margo Lanagan’s “A Thousand Flowers,” in which she writes about unicorns with such freshness and fire, you’d think she invented them. Who ultimately wins? To reuse an old joke: everyone. --Daniel Kraus