I’m going to try something new this week, and because alliteration amuses me I’m calling it Trashy Tuesday. Here’s the deal – I usually try to read things that have at least some sort of value, even if only in my own mind. From now on, I’m going to make an effort to read and review at least one book each week that has zero literary merit whatsoever. The initial offering is…Zombies vs Unicorns!
I’m not going to lie to you lovely folks. I saw this book and thought to myself “oh, hell yes!” …but then I actually started reading it. I’ll start right off by telling you that there are no battles between zombies and unicorns in this book. Not. A. Single. One. [super sad face] Instead we get a bunch of short stories written by today’s ‘hottest’ YA authors (I assume they are, anyway, because I see teens gushing over their books all over goodreads and other forums), all of which are written from the viewpoint of Team Zombie or Team Unicorn. Each story has an intro, with some
witty banter between the two editors (Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier), each taking turns trashing the favourite of the other. I guess the back-and-forth was supposed to be funny, but it mostly fell flat. There was one humourous bit about not needing to be a virgin to get a piggyback ride from a zombie, but really – if you read it, feel free to skip the story intros, you won’t be missing anything much.
The Highest Justice by Garth Nix – The only story in the entire book to feature both a zombie and a unicorn. This was supposed to be a unicorn story, but…actually, I know there was a unicorn but I’m having a difficult time remembering much of what it did. This story obviously left a great impression on me. [insert image of me rolling my eyes here] **
Love Will Tear Us Apart by Alaya Dawn Johnson – Yay, an actual Team Zombie story! I was stoked when I started reading this. Joy Division in the title! [swoon] Mentions my favourite band! [swoon, thud] Talks about the Pizzicato Five! True love! Wait…what? Zombie love? (gay) Zombie sex? Er…not that there’s anything wrong with that because Ms Johnson’s zombies aren’t your typical got-infected-rose-from-the-dead-now-must-eat-BRAINS kind of zombies. Sure, the kid in the story still eats brains (and refers to them as macaroni and cheese, so I kind of love him for that) – but he’s not dead, it’s just some sort of infection that gave him a hunger for grey matter and he broke free from a soopersekrit government facility to become a serial killer. Who wouldn’t want to bring this guy home to meet the parents?! Once I realized that, the ick factor went down quite a bit and I was actually able to enjoy the story. Woohoo for no necrophilia! ***
Purity Test by Naomi Novik – Drunken homeless girl meets smartass unicorn in an NYC park. The best part of this story were the Harry Potter and Star Wars references. Unicorn tells girl to pretend to be a virgin so they can rescue the baby unicorns from an evil wizard. Okay, fair enough. [shrug] **
Bougainvillea by Carrie Ryan – Probably my favourite of the Team Zombie stories in this book, definitely the least trashy. The language was lovely, and I really enjoyed the setting. Explored one of the fairly unused (but often suggested) zombie tropes – set yourself up on an island that you can defend and try to rebuild a semblance of civilization. Particularly creepy were the images of the pirates lashing zombies to the hulls of their ships. I might have to read some more of her stuff. *****
A Thousand Flowers by Margo Lanagan – This was a very sad and creepy unicorn tale (heh, totally punintentional – I swear). I really thought I knew where it was going when the peasant boy found the princess bedraggled and knocked out in the woods. Hoo, boy! I could not have been more wrong. While we aren’t forced to read about it, there’s, um…some bestiality in this one. Traaaaaaaaaaaaashy! Really, this is YA?! Holy crap. ***
The Children of the Revolution by Maureen Johnson – Mmmmm, ‘famous actress’ with many tattoos, kooky religious beliefs and a passel of adopted children…I wonder who she could be referring to?! This story had potential – zombie kids are always creepy – but it just didn’t do it for me. I enjoyed the weird Lazarus cult bits, but other than that…meh. *
The Care and Feeding of Your Baby Unicorn by Diana Peterfreund – This story is set in a universe I have only a passing familiarity with. What I mean by that is, I’m aware that there is a series of books out there that contain giant, venomous killer unicorns and that there are girls that are pre-destined from birth to be
vampire unicorn slayers, but I haven’t actually read any of them myself. Based on this one example, I will likely be removing said series from my ‘might read sometime’ shelf, and adding them to my ‘probably will only read if there is nothing else left on Earth’ shelf. Just not my thing at all. *
Inoculata by Scott Westerfeld - I thoroughly enjoyed Scott Westerfeld’s (non-trashy) YA series Uglies, and reading this story makes me wish he’d write a series centered around the zombie apocalypse. I would totally read that (in a non-ironic way, too). The problem here is that it feels like we’re stepping into either the beginning or the end of a book, not like it’s a self-contained story. Trash factor comes from the slutty girl who hooks up with another girl and then a few nights later with a boy. I guess in a post-zombieapocalyptic world, a girl’s gotta take what she can get? Still, very solid effort. ****
Princess Prettypants by Meg Cabot – This story wasn’t really great, but it did have some highly amusing moments. Teenage girl receives a birthday present from her aunt (you know, the aunt/grandma who always gets you the weirdest possible presents?) and it’s a rainbow farting unicorn. Yes, the unicorn really does fart rainbows, and I believe she said the kids were posting videos of it on YouTube. I would definitely watch them if they were real and not just Mr Toots. My son has a turtle that we refer to as Princess Purty Turtle, so that gave another giggle because if I had a unicorn I would definitely name her Princess Prettypants. ***
Cold Hands by Cassandra Clare – I read this one without paying much attention to who had written it, but thought the writing style seemed familiar. I looked up the author when I’d finished it, read the name and thought “NO WAY! Surely it isn’t…?” Yup! This is the same Cassandra
Claire Clare that used to write LotR and HP fanfic…she wrote The Very Secret Diaries, which are very hilarious. I wonder what happened here, then? I was unable to figure out when/where this was taking place. The city is a duchy of some sort, but it’s like they’re entirely independent and left to their own zombie infested devices. There were cars and limos…but hangings and burnings as well. Weird. This was another (ugh!) zombie love story. Straight zombie love, but still – what’s the deal with ZomRom, is this a new thing I’m not all up-to-date on? I think it’s one thing when the *ahem* love is between two zombies (like in SG Browne’s Breathers), but zombie/living shipping is just gross. Please, authors – make a mental note. Zombie sex (even if it’s only implied) with non-zombies is GROSS. *
The Third Virgin by Kathleen Duey – Trash. Seriously. Sado-masochistic unicorn. I don’t really think I need to say any more. *
To get my total stars for this book, I’m going to average what I gave each individual story (thank goodness this wasn’t timed like GoogleGoggles!): 2.4/5
Sadly, we’ve reached the end of the first ever Trashy Tuesday. Join me next week when I revisit one of the trashiest authors ever – VC Andrews. See you then!