My very good friend Beth who has just moved back into town has an obsession with zombies. She is not only prepared for the Zombie apocalypse; she is looking forward to it. This makes her really easy to get presents for. Zombie Apocalypse survival kits, pretty much any functional item that has been covered in decomposing limbs, no problem.
Since Beth is also obsessed with books, I have made it a point for the past few years to get her books about Zombies. First was the Zombie Haiku Book. Then Zombies vs. Unicorns. The latest is Shakespeare, Undead.
Somewhere between Zombie Haiku and Zombie vs. Unicorns, Beth and I had made a deal. She would finally read Pride and Prejudice (which I enjoy, though I do like the Colin Firth movie better) and I would read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Both of us kept our convictions about which was better. I did come out with a larger appreciation for zombie stories though, whereas Beth’s opinion of classic literature (yawn) did not change.
So when I gave her Zombies vs. Unicorns, I knew she’d make me read it. So I read it before I gave it to her. This way once she read it, we could discuss which parts we loved and which we hated, and see how our opinions differed.
When I first picked up Zombies vs. Unicorns, I was fully expecting to be on team Unicorm. I’ve never been a huge fan of the gore that accompanies zombie entertainment, and though I don’t decorate my room in butterflies and rainbows, I do find Unicorns to be magical, intriguing creatures. They are majestic, and often associated with purity.
Zombies vs. Unicorns is a collection of short stories written by several YA authors. Each author needed to pick a “side”. They could either write about Zombies or Unicorns. The collection was put together by two editors, Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier, who are also YA authors and who also each picked a side. Black was Team Zombie, Larbalestier Team Unicorn. Before each story, the respective editor included an introduction to the piece, with their opinion of why the story proved their side was better.
The authors who wrote the pieces all outdid themselves. There were zombie love stories that tugged on my heartstrings. And the Unicorn stories… well. They were actually pretty disturbing. There was some creepy “love” storylines and some pretty intense perspectives on life for both humans and unicorns. All in all, neither side went with traditional stories, which resulted in a collection that has you looking at both types of stories in a new light.
Anyway, I really enjoyed the collection and it has led me to continue the tradition of reading books I get Beth before I give them to her. So this weekend I finally read “Shakespeare, Undead” which was supposed to be Beth’s Christmas present, but since this is the first time we’ve seen each other, will probably just be a welcome back gift. Tomorrow I’ll share my thoughts on it.