A review by Nalini Haynes
Zombies vs Unicorns is an anthology of short stories about — you guessed it — zombies and unicorns. Black and Larbalestier’s preface and dialogue woven between chapters provides the zombies VS unicorns aspect. Black is pro-unicorn while Larbalestier advocates brain eating in all things.
Stories about pet unicorns that grow into man-eating monsters, stories about bestiality — of the four-legged and two-legged kind — stories abound about love and lust and murder and mayhem.
I consumed the audiobook version with not just the different (figurative) author voices but also the different (literal) narrators’ voices. While the hired actors were all varying shades of good, my personal fave was the narrator who sounds like Emeraude Toubia from ShadowHunters whenever her voice is pushed or stressed. This narrator’s enunciation is crisp and her accent gives the tonal resonance and disctinction to be a female version of Morgan Freeman and Ian McKellen. The downside of the audiobook is that Black and Larbalestier’s segments sound like high school students are reading a play. Their diction was good but oh so stilted!
In my opinion, the only other downside was the book as a collection of stories went out with a whimper. I won’t say more because spoilers — but I would have chosen a stronger finish for the book.
As a collection of short stories (also called an anthology when authors vary), these stories were fun, mostly well-paced and entertaining. I listened to this book while at the gym and walking for kilometers and kilometers. It encouraged me to walk further instead of heading home out of boredom, so I recommend Zombies vs Unicorns, especially if you’re trying to get fit!
Awards: Winner Aurealis Awards, Young Adult Short Story, A Thousand Flowers (Margo Lanagan) 2010 AU
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Category: Young adult fiction