I was really really disappointed with this book. It was like that 2008 movie Jumper–amazing concept, terrible execution. Zadie Smith gathered a couple dozen well-known writers to do short stories/character sketches but they really fell short of the mark. I mean, I know that they weren’t supposed to be stories that focused on the plot–character development was the whole point–but even as such they were boring and pretentious.
I only found a few stories that were worth my time:
- The Liar by Aleksander Hemon-a brief retelling of Jesus’ crucifixion.
- The Monster by Toby Litt-about a creature who can’t see himself and all he knows of his appearance is based on touch.
- Soleil by Vendela Vida-one of the better-developed sketches that actually made me interested in learning more about the wild-child “aunt” Soleil.
- Theo by Dave Eggers-a lonely and jilted giant seeks solace in the beautiful mountains.
The rest you could totally skip and save yourself the yawning. I just felt like so many of the stories were written to sound extremely pompous and egotistical. I don’t like associating with snobby socialites, so I’m not interested in reading about them either. I don’t care about your Upper-East-Side-bagels-and-lox-can’t-find-a-good-nanny-problems. I want to read about someone real. Real problems and real courage.
It reminded me too much of A Fortunate Age by Joanna Smith Rakoff, which I hated.
Maybe I’m shallow. Maybe I haven’t started crying into my gin and tonic at 10am and I just don’t understand. Who knows?
All I know is that I won’t be reading this ever again.
2 vagina-faced monsters of 5
Seeing as I’ve been on Chelsea’s Excellent Vacation since July, reading about Death’s Excellent Vacation was no stretch.
(As a side note, sorry for being AFK so long. I’ve moved back to the US and have been scrambling around seeing anxious friends and relatives).
Like many of the books I’ve read in recent months, DEV is an anthology of fantastical short stories by some pretty talented names. I had several favorite stories, including:
- Two Blondes by Charlaine Harris- Sookie and Pam are at it again. Strippers, elves, murderers, and vampires, OH MY! (If I were them I would stop listening to Eric…)
- The Boys Go Fishing by Sarah Smith- An elderly super hero is forced out of retirement when a bunch of mutant kids are dumped on his doorstep. I liked this one because I pictured Morgan Freeman as the main character–you’ll see what I mean.
- The Innsmouth Nook by A. Lee Martinez- A goofy tale of two guys opening a bed and breakfast in a town straight from the Black Lagoon.
- Safe and Sound by Jeff Abbott- Let’s put it this way: Nancy Grace covering the Natalie Holloway case meets supernatural disappearances.
- Seeing is Believing by L.A. Banks- Old swamp voodoo brings a young couple together, but there’s more than meets the eye.
- Thin Walls by Christopher Golden- SUCCUBUS, OMG! Just wait til you read the mouth/vagina description… *shudder*
- The Heart is Always Right by Lilith Saintcrow- A story about gargoyles in the modern world that was so captivating, I’m hoping for a series to be spawned.
There were a handful of others, while cute and entertaining, were just not as gripping as those listed above. They were either too corny or just emitted the paranormal romance vibe too strongly.
I highly recommend this anthology and it’s going down as a new favorite. Read it to stave off post-Halloween withdrawals.
4 horny demon dogs of 5
Since the dawn of time there have been intense (and often violent) rivalries between opposing factions. Vampires vs Werewolves. Bloods vs Crips. KKK vs Black Panthers. Humans vs…. Well, everything really… But never before has there been a rivalry as blood thirsty and cutthroat as ZOMBIES VS UNICORNS. Holly Black (Team Unicorn) and Justine Larbalestier (Team Zombie) have compiled an anthology of stories about zombies and unicorns to end all anthologies. No, they’ve really outdone themselves. They got the likes of Garth Nix, Scott Westerfield, and Meg Cabot to contribute–just to name a few. There’s seriously not a dud in the bunch.
I LOVED this book. I really do like anthologies. They give you brief snippets of an author’s work and it’s a great way to discover new talent without the time commitment that a whole book demands. That being said, however, usually there are a few that just plain suck. There are no two ways around it. The editors draw you in with a few big names on the cover, and the rest are just lifeless page-fillers. Not so with Zombies vs Unicorns. I absolutely loved/appreciated all the stories compiled and gained a new respect for all the writers involved. I also really liked the commentary between Black and Larbalestier–although I wish Holly had stood up for Team Unicorn a bit more! I know the whole thing is a running joke between the two of them, but she totally let Justine run all over her!
The variety of the stories was also great. We saw killer unicorns, zombies in love, unicorns with suicidal tendencies, gay zombies… Need I go on? These are not your typical Lisa Frank unicorns or your 28 Days Later zombies. You will experience something brand new and freaking awesome with this collection. I would especially recommend:
- The Care and Feeding of Your Baby Killer Unicorn by Diana Peterfreund
- Cold Hands by Cassandra Clare
- The Third Virgin by Kathleen Duey
Love love loved it.
2.5 rotting body parts + 2.5 unicorn farts = one 5 star anthology