BFF Charm: Yay! Sometimes!
Swoonworthy Scale: -15! or a 10!
Talky Talk: It Could Be Anything!
Bonus Factors: Zombies! Unicorns!
Relationship Status: Surprising Red-Hot Affair
Winner of This Round: Team Zombie!

Okay, this is sort of a complicated book report, since the book is actually a collection of short stories. So I’ve selected the stories in the first half of the book to review (I’ll review the second half in a few weeks!). In one corner, we have zombies, weighing in at Overtired, Overproduced Schill, and in the other, the white, majestic beasts known as Unicorns, who think they’re sooo special, just cause they’re mythical beasts and their horns can cure cancer, or whatever.

In typical deathmatch fashion, all short stories will be rated on the Erin Scale of Awesomeness, which goes from 0, i.e. lentils to 5, i.e. delicious French cheese.


“The Highest Justice” by Garth Nix

BFF Charm: Yay!

Yay BFF Charm

Jess, girl, I feel ya. Your mother’s been murdered, and all she wants is to confront her killer. So what’s a daughter to do? OBVS magick up a unicorn and have him turn your mom into a zombie so that she can kill your dad and the lady he’s cheating on your mom with. OBVS!

Swoonworthy Scale: 2

Oh, I think I caught you makin’ eyes at one of those castle guards, Miss Thing.

Talky Talk: Ye Olde Tale of Revenge

In typical Garth Nix style, his kickass heroine weaves through a world of magic and mayhem, which as Meg Cabot has told us, is actually better than the Hogwarts ride at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Bonus Factor: Zombie AND Unicorn

I like that Garth Nix did not limit himself to only one or the other. Inclusionary tale!

Erin Scale of Awesomeness: 3

“Love Will Tear Us Apart” by Alaya Dawn Johnson

BFF Charm: YAY!

BFF Charm Heck Yes - sparklier and shinier than the original BFF Charm

OH MY GOD, Phillip A. Grayson, please be my new best friend!! Okay, so, yes, you will probably try to eat my brains, on account of how you’re a zombie. And I wouldn’t even be able to Dramatically Seduce you, like Olivia Benson just did to Stuckey on the episode of SVU I just watched, because you aren’t into women. But maybe I could keep you from enjoying my delicious grey matter by distracting you with talk of music! It almost always works with the zombies from the NME!

Swoonworthy Scale: 10

A RED HOT TEN. Um, apparently the only thing I was lacking in my life was a gay zombie romance? The fact that Phillip compares Jack to mac and cheese only ups the swoon scale for me.

Talky Talk: Rock On With Your Straight Up Self

Why haven’t I read any other Alaya Dawn Johnson books? This chick kicks ass. Her short story is peppered with bits of rock and roll, and she makes me laugh when she’s not making my heart beat a bit faster with sexy gay zombie love!

Bonus Factor: Gay Zombies!

Why hasn’t more been written about gay zombies in love? I demand a full series featuring gay zombies in love, IMMEDIATELY!

Erin Scale of Awesomeness: 5

“Purity Test” by Naomi Novik

BFF Charm: Yay!

Yay BFF Charm

Alison, GIRL, I feel ya! Many a time have I found myself hungover in the middle of Central Park, having spent all my alcohol on money, being poked by a unicorn and told I have to help him rescue some babies. Well . . . okay, that has never actually happened to me. But many a time I have found myself hungover!

Swoonworthy Scale: 0

There’s no real swoon factor in this story. I wish I could say, “Duh, of course there’s not; it’s a story about a girl and a unicorn” but you will soon see that THAT DOESN’T MATTER.

Talky Talk: Snarktastic

Naomi Novik, you are a breath of fresh air! I loved her sarcastic heroine, and her equally – if not more – sarcastic unicorn.

Bonus Factor: Sarcastic Unicorn

But will anyone in the herd listen to me? Of course not! They go off and grab the first thirteen-year-old who coos at them, and then it’s all, ‘Their purity will lead the way,’ blah, blah, blah. Lead the way to a whole bunch of dead baby unicorns, maybe. I want a little more competence in my heroine.

Erin Scale of Awesomeness: 5

“Bougainvillea” by Carrie Ryan

BFF Charm: Meh

BFF charm with a :-| face

Well, Iza, you’re certainly the smartest of Carrie Ryan’s heroines, but that’s not saying all that much. Plus, I’m not sure I could deal with your imperious attitude, or your father’s tyrannical behavior. Still, I have to give you props for your show of kickassery at the end.

Swoonworthy Scale: 0

I mean, the guy in the book IS pretty cute. It’s too bad he is a ruthless cold-blooded killer, and all. Plus, he wouldn’t even play Risk with Iza! What kind of assclown doesn’t like to play Risk?

Talky Talk: Mudolicious

I’m not sure what one should expect in an anthology entry about zombies written by a person who writes about zombies. I was sort of hoping that Carrie Ryan would take this time to just go crazy and have her zombies sing the Robin Sparkles classic, “Let’s Go To the Mall!” while performing intricate jazz choreography. But, no, it’s a story set in the same world as her other stories, though at least this time we got a little Caribbean flavor.

Anti-Bonus Factor: Mudo


Erin Scale of Awesomeness: 1

“A Thousand Flowers” by Margo Lanagan

BFF Charm: Nay! 

BFF Charm that says "denied"

Listen, Unnamed Princess. It’s not that you like to have sex with unicorns that makes me not like you. It’s that you don’t OWN that you like to have sex with unicorns. Why make poor Manny suffer just cause you can’t own up to the fact that you’ve been schtupped by a horned beast?

Swoonworthy Scale: -15

Okay, BUT SERIOUSLY? SEX WITH A UNICORN? NO. Also, if you’re going to have sex with a mythical creature, at least practice safe sex.

Talky Talk: Ye Olde Confusion

I have to admit; I didn’t really get this story. Normally I’m totes cool with stories written like pamphlets from the Rennaissance Festival, or whatever, but this one proved just a bit too much for me. I kept thinking, “So . . . she’s dead? Or . . . not really? And there’s a unicorn? Why is she crying?”

Anti-Bonus Factor: Sexing Unicorn


“Children of the Revolution” by Maureen Johnson

BFF Charm: Yay!

Yay BFF Charm

Oh, Sofie, I will be your best friend! I can totally see how you found yourself stuck on some dumb organic farm picking blackberries. I, too, have fallen for boys who seem to be all soulful and artistic and are actually just high as a kite. Luckily, I never got eaten by zombies because of it. I don’t . . . think.

Swoonworthy Scale: 0

Sofie’s boyfriend is a jerk, even if they do end up happily ever after.

Talky Talk: Easy, Breezy, Beautiful Zombiegirl

MoJo (that’s what I call her in my head) continues her streak of fun, light-hearted, snarky commentary. She makes being eaten by zombies a real kick!

Bonus Factor: Scientology Zombies

OH MAN ILU MAUREEN JOHNSON. She made the zombies Scientologists. Er, sorry, Lazarologists. Also, Angelina Jolie is the bad guy. Ace.

Erin Scale of Awesomeness: 4

Relationship Status (For the Whole Book): Surprising Red-Hot Affair

I’ll be honest. When I first heard about this book, my eyebrows shot up to my hairline. (which, if you’ve seen my forehead, you’ll know they have a long way to travel.) “Zombies? Vs Unicorns? Seriously?” I said to myself. But then I thought, “Well, I’ve probably got a friend who would be interested in a book. Or maybe a stranger! I could be a matchmaker! Oh my goodness! I could totes be responsible for someone else finding love with Zombies vs. Unicorns! I’d be their hero!” So, I picked up the book, promising it that I’d hook it up with someone really cool. But I had to take a cursory look through the book, right? Just to make sure I matched it with the right person? So I asked the book about itself, its likes and dislikes and turn-ons.

And what followed was a totally surprising, red-hot affair! I can’t keep my hands off this book! Oh, I know it’s probably bad for me, and I can never bring it home to meet my parents. And there are plenty of parts I don’t agree with. But . . . well, I just can’t help myself!

Sorry, potential dates of this book! I’m only matching you up after I’ve used him up myself!

Winner of This Round: Team Zombie!

FTC Full Disclosure: I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review (dammit!). Zombies vs. Unicorns is available now.

Erin is loud, foul-mouthed, an unrepentant lover of trashy movies and believes that champagne should be an every day drink.