Monday, February 14, 2011

Review: Zombies vs. Unicorns (Round Six)

Story Reviews for Duey and Bray
from Zombies Vs. Unicorns Anthology 

The Third Virgin
by Kathleen Duey

If your favorite unicorns are the Lisa Frank type or the ones you imagine springing out of the fairytales your mother reads to you long time ago before you escape to dreamland, Kathleen Duey’s story contribution will definitely not float your boat.

The Third Virgin is perhaps one of the longest stories in the anthology, and in my mind’s catalogues I filed this under the heading ‘not really enjoyed’, right next to Margo Lanagan’s A Thousand Flowers. Not because I prefer fluffy unicorns—they’re too cloying in my opinion—but because the story is not engaging enough, and I admit I almost gave up and left it unfinished.

This is the only story in the collection that was told from the perspective of a unicorn, which is a bit new to me because the only tales I’ve read with animal POVs are the fables we have in our elementary and high school textbooks (with the exception of Richard Bach’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull, which I loved to death). I think this would pass up as a dark fairytale, but there’s something about the dull and melodramatic tone of the narrator that had me rolling my eyes. The gist: it is about a unicorn searching for the virgin who could finally kill him. He is desperately trying to escape a life he mostly spent ‘appearing’ to be helping people but actually taking more years of their lives. Now, I can tolerate a lot of melodrama, but overkill is a no-no for me. The narrator is like, an emo unicorn or something.

All in all, not a very good read. 

Prom Night
by Libba Bray

After reading this story, I immediately scribbled Going Bovine by Libba Bray on my list of to-reads this 2011.

Prom Night is an eerily realistic take on a zombie apocalypse, where parents are already zombified and the children are the only ones left to survive.  For me, the most disturbing part is how most of the kids have hardened; you could feel through their actions that they have gone through a lot already before the story started. There are a few times when their adult shells would show a few cracks, flashbacks surging in to thaw their hearts and send their consciences in chaos. I love how the heroine effectively stood out as a flawed character, and how her sidekick, Jeff, acted with rationality and still be able to goof around (his entrance into the Prom is cool and fun).

Zoroastrianism, drugs, punk kids, teen police officers, and the slowly disintegrating hope of survival all rolled into one haunting package—you’ve got to agree that this is one fitting ending to an amazing compendium. It left me an uneasy, tingling feeling.

This is not a regular story; it does not have a climax to speak of, no denouement, and no real ending. It’s like we took a peek from the future to know what it would be like, and plunged back into the present when the fireworks set off in the end to announce that the time is up.


Team Unicorns- 0
Team Zombies- 1

Total as of Round Six:
Team Unicorns- 2
Team Zombies- 6

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

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