Book Reviews · Fantasy · Horror · POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

POPSUGAR Reading Challenge 2021 Update: Week Eight

Good morning, everyone! I hope that you are having a wonderful weekend so far, and that you are continuing to stay healthy and warm. It’s been an absolutely frigid week here, and we’ve gotten a significant amount of both snow and ice. Even with the heater running, I’ve spent most of the week wrapped up in my warmest blankets, and Darcy has been sticking pretty close.

Before we get started on this week’s book, I want to give you a quick update about my mum…

Mum was originally scheduled to begin receiving bio-therapy treatments yesterday afternoon, but her appointment had to be cancelled when the insurance company decided to deny coverage of the treatment. We have not been given a reason for their decision, but I’m fairly certain it’s related to the fact that the treatment is still “under study.” Mum’s doctor is currently exploring one other possibility that would allow her the opportunity to receive this treatment. Hopefully, we will hear back from them at the beginning of next week.

Thank you to everyone who is continuing to keep my mum (and my family) in your thoughts and prayers. We appreciate you all so much!

This week’s POPSUGAR Reading Challenge book is Zombies vs. Unicorns, which was edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier.

A book whose title starts with “Q,” “X,” or “Z”…

Zombies vs. Unicorns is an anthology of twelve short stories about…well, zombies and unicorns. This anthology apparently came about as a result of an online disagreement between Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier about which of the two was better.

Black is a staunch member of Team Unicorn, while Larbalestier leads Team Zombie. As an introduction to each story, the two writers continue their debate about the superiority of their chosen creature.

The stories themselves are focused on either zombies or unicorns, and take place in a variety of times and places. Some of the unicorn stories take place in what we might consider a typical fantasy setting, but a surprising number occur in the modern world. The zombie stories feature a wide range of zombie types, including the classic Romero horror movie zombies, as well as ones that are more self-aware.

All of the stories in this collection are unique, and they were written by some fantastic authors.

The stories in this anthology include:

  • “The Highest Justice,” by Garth Nix
  • “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” by Alaya Dawn Johnson
  • “Purity Test,” by Naomi Novik
  • “Bougainvillea,” by Carrie Ryan
  • “A Thousand Flowers,” by Margo Lanagan
  • “The Children of the Revolution,” by Maureen Johnson
  • “The Care and Feeding of Your Baby Killer Unicorn,” by Diana Peterfreund
  • “Inoculata,” by Scott Westerfeld
  • “Princess Prettypants,” by Meg Cabot
  • “Cold Hands,” by Cassandra Clare
  • “The Third Virgin,” by Kathleen Duey
  • “Prom Night,” by Libba Bray

As I’ve mentioned in previous anthology posts, I typically come away from reading anthologies with mixed feelings about the included stories, which is exactly what happened here. While I did enjoy the majority of the stories in Zombies vs. Unicorns, there were a few that I just didn’t care for. My favorite story in the collection actually turned out to be Meg Cabot’s “Princess Prettypants,” which I thought was a lot of fun. I don’t know if I would read this anthology again from cover-to-cover, but there are several stories that I would enjoy revisiting in the future.

I also have to confess that I was disappointed to find that Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier did not write their own stories for this anthology. While I really enjoyed their bantering throughout the book, I would have loved to have read stories by them as well.

It is important to mention that some of the stories in Zombies vs. Unicorns do include content that might cause discomfort for readers, including: references to suicide, accusations of rape, and bestiality. While this book is definitely written with a YA audience in mind (14+, according to the back cover), some of the stories might be better suited to readers on the older end of the YA spectrum.

If you are a fan of zombies and/or unicorns, then Zombies vs. Unicorns is definitely worth checking out. Even though I personally did not enjoy every story equally, I am glad that I took the time to read this anthology. It was a lot of fun to see how each author approached their subject, and I am definitely interested in reading more by the contributing authors in the future.

Next week’s POPSUGAR Reading Challenge update will be posted on February 27th. In the meantime, I hope you will visit The Unapologetic Bookworm frequently this week for book reviews and other new content. Also, be sure to stop by on Monday for a special post in honor of my mum’s birthday.

Have a great weekend!

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