Friday, January 21, 2011

Review: Zombies vs. Unicorns (Round Five)


ZOMBIES VS. UNICORNS ROUND FIVE!
Story Reviews for Cabot and Clare
from Zombies Vs. Unicorns Anthology 

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Princess Prettypants
by Meg Cabot


When I read "Princess Prettypants", I suddenly missed my Liza Frank stickers and school supplies I once had in my grade school days. From that statement alone you should already have an idea what kind of creature our first author wrote about for this round.

Meg Cabot, bestselling writer of the famous series The Princess Diaries, decided to take a plunge into this geeky debate about what creature is better for weaving great fiction, choosing the side of—surprise!—Team Unicorn.  In her contribution, Cabot was able to create a hilarious and rainbow-colored high school tale (literally and metaphorically) about love, magic, expectations, and sweet revenge.

"Princess Prettypants" is like a mini chick-lit for high schoolers with a mythical twist: there's a classic Cabot heroine and a storyline propped up with a cute rainbow-farting (no kidding) unicorn as some sort of a deus ex machina, so no other evidence is needed to prove this. It sounds like a dud in this anthology of awesome literary explosions, right?  Not exactly: Cabot sprinkled a little bit of wicked playfulness on her style, using all the fluff mentioned above to poke fun at most people’s stereotyped view of unicorns. For the record, that’s plus points in my book.

Basically the story is about a girl celebrating her seventeenth birthday, where she receives a unicorn named Princess Prettypants—poor thing!—as a present from her quirky aunt. A friend gets into trouble and our heroine rides her unicorn to save the day. I swear I can imagine a silly little flick in my head, and if that’s what Cabot is aiming, then she succeeds.

One of my guilty pleasures is liking anything that oozes with cuteness and sweetness…except if we are talking about young adult novels. I make it a point to steer clear of the overly cheesy and hackneyed variety, not because they are bad, but because they pop out like mushrooms in bookstores—different titles and covers but containing the same thing—trying to lure teenyboppers in their bandwagon. I think that too much of this is not good for a reader’s mind...but whatever, people read with different motives, mine may be different from theirs.

Anyway, I used to think that Cabot is one of the writers who do this—maybe she still is—but this tale told me she can write something that can actually float my boat even for a while. My constant thought while reading the story is “Cabot really created something that mocks a bubblegum-colored unicorn?” Take that as a metaphor. It's a first, I think.

I liked it. I sound like Justine Larbalestier haha.
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Cold Hands
by Cassandra Clare


Cassandra Clare is perhaps one of the most famous authors under the fantasy/ paranormal romance umbrella nowadays, having penned the Mortal Instruments series (I’m still reading the third book, City of Glass) and its prequel series, the Infernal Devices. So I know how she wrote about shadowhunters and demons—now I found out how she wrote about zombies.

Coming from Clare, I sort of expected that her contribution to the anthology, “Cold Hands”, would be a love story. Here the dead are not your typical flick zombies; they don’t eat brains and entrails, all they ever wanted to do when they come back to life is to be with their loved ones.  The town of Lychgate has this curse and no one who lives there can go anywhere else because the dead will follow them. This precipitates for the world to create the moniker “Zombietown” for the place. Adele and her lover, the Duke-in-waiting James, are happy despite living there. But when James is killed, everything is thrown off balance until James attempts to take his rightful place—at the throne and right beside Adele.

The story was decent. It’s not something I’ll give a thumb down, but it’s not one of the stories here that took the cake either. The idea of the dead becoming part of the norm is cool, I think, but if you notice the glaring plot holes that come with it, it wouldn’t be as great. The characters are okay, too—tragic figures in the middle of a somber setting. I was relieved that Adele didn’t fall into a Bella Swan-like trance when James died, though for a moment I thought she’d be like that, considering how much she claimed to love the man. The title already gives away clues as to what would happen, so I expected the implied necrophilia at the end (guh, my exposure to this kind of literature is making me so immune and I don’t know if it’s a bad thing or not).
Anyway, there are mini-stories incorporated in the main storyline to make it colorful in its own way, and I liked it. Over all it's a really good story.
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MY VERDICT FOR THIS ROUND:
Team Unicorns- 1
Team Zombies- 1
ANOTHER TIE! :)

Total as of Round Three:
Team Unicorns- 2
Team Zombies- 5

(Round One is HERE)
(Round Two is HERE)
(Round Three is HERE)
(Round Four is HERE)

Since we're only a round away from the end, it's safe to say that the Zombies, for me, win. :P I'm still going to review the last two stories though.

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