New Books — November/December 2010

Forge (sequel to Chains), by Laurie Hals Anderson. Y Anderson.
In this sequel to “Chains,” Anderson shifts perspective from Isabel to Curzon and brings to the page the tale of what it takes for runaway slaves to forge their own paths in a world of obstacles.

Avatar: The Last Airbender, Vol. 2. YPB Avatar.
Aang must face his destiny as he fights for the Water Tribe’s safety–and his life. But even with the help of Katara, Sokka, and his flying bison, Appa, will he be able to escape Zuko’s deadly clutches? (Graphic novel)

The Goblin Gate (sequel to The Goblin Wood), by Hilari Bell. Y Bell.
Jeriah uncovers a web of political intrigue while trying to obtain a spell from Master Lazure that might allow him to rescue his brother Tobin from the Otherworld, where he was taken by the beguiling hedgewitch Makenna and her legion of goblins.

Kind (Good Neighbors, Book Three), by Holly Black and illustrated by Ted Naifeh. Y Black.
The faerie world has been unleashed on Rue’s city. The big question is: Will she stop it and save the world she’s always known? Or will she take her place as the rightful faerie heir? The third and final volume in the Good Neighbors series. (Graphic novel)

The Frenzy, by Francesca Lia Block. Y Block.
Romance is as fleeting as a full moon in this chilling werewolf love story from Block. When she was thirteen, something terrifying and mysterious happened to Liv that she still does not understand, and now, four years later, her dark secret threatens to tear her apart from her family and her true love.

Plain Kate, by Erin Bow. Y Bow.
Plain Kate lives in a world of magic and curses. As the woodcarver’s daughter, Kate held a carving knife before a spoon, and her wooden charms seem to reveal hidden truths about their owners. But when the village falls on hard times, Kate is accused of witchcraft.

Eighth Grade Bites (Chronicles of Vladimir Todd, Book One), by Heather Brewer. YPB Brewer.
Thirteen-year-old Vladimir Tod really hates junior high. Bullies harass him, the principal is dogging him, and the girl he likes prefers his best friend. Oh, and Vlad has a secret: His mother was human, but his father was a vampire. With no idea of the extent of his powers, Vlad struggles daily with his blood cravings and his enlarged fangs. When a substitute teacher begins to question him a little too closely, Vlad worries that his cover is about to be blown. But then he faces a much bigger problem: He’s being hunted by a vampire killer.

Ninth Grade Slays (Chronicles of Vladimir Todd, Book Two), by Heather Brewer. YPB Brewer.
Freshman year stinks for Vlad Tod. Bullies still harass him. The photographer from the school newspaper is tailing him. And failing his studies could be deadly. A trip to Siberia gives “study abroad” a whole new meaning as Vlad connects with other vampires and advances his mind-control abilities, but will he return home with the skills to recognize a vampire slayer when he sees one?

Tenth Grade Bleeds (Chronicles of Vladimir Todd, Book Three), by Heather Brewer. YPB Brewer.
It’s another sucky year at Bathory High for Vladimir Tod. Now a sophomore, Vlad realizes that having a normal high-school year is the least of his concerns as he’s finding it harder to resist feeding on the people around him.

Eleventh Grade Burns (Chronicles of Vladimir Todd, Book Four), by Heather Brewer. YPB Brewer.
As Vlad enters his junior year at Bathory High, he has much more than the regular teenage angst to contend with, in this fourth installment of Brewer’s bestselling series.

Crave, by Laura Burns. YPB Burns.
Shay was born with a rare blood disorder, and her stepfather has devoted his medical career to finding a cure. When Shay is given a blood transfusion, she sees her stepfather’s office through the eyes of a vampire.

Matched, by Ally Condie. Y Condie.
Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander’s face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham’s face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

Click here for the rest of this huge list of new books

Zombies vs. Unicorns, edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier

Author: Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier, editors
Genre: YA Anthology / Fantasy and Horror
Pages: 432
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Call number: Y Zombies

I guess Black and Larbalestier have been debating the merits of zombies vs. unicorns on the Internet for a while now, but I missed the hoopla until it finally spilled over into this anthology of twelve stories. At first, I thought that each story would be a death match between a zombie and a unicorn, but that would have gotten old fast, so I’m glad instead that each author represents a side: on Team Zombie, it’s Alaya Dawn Johnson, Carrie Ryan, Maureen Johnson, Scott Westerfeld, Cassandra Clare, and Libba Bray; on Team Unicorn, it’s Garth Nix, Naomi Novik, Margo Lanagan, Diana Peterfreund, Meg Cabot, and Kathleen Duey.

I’ve read a lot of zombie stories (and seen a lot of movies), but my experience with unicorns is more limited: Peter S. Beagle’s The Last Unicorn, and Holly Black’s short story “Virgin”, and . . . that’s about all I can remember. So, I was actually looking forward to reading the unicorn stories, just to see what’s out there in the modern day, but I ended up on Team Zombie anyway. I don’t know if I find zombies more interesting because I enjoyed the stories more, or if I enjoyed the stories more because I find zombies more interesting, but it’s still the case: overall, the zombies won out.

I liked all of the zombie stories in this collection, but my top ones were: “The Children of the Revolution”, by Maureen Johnson, the zombie babysitting story which was funny and creepy and had a killer ending; “Bougainvillea”, by Carrie Ryan, which is set in the same universe (after the Return) as her two novels and continues her excellent storytelling; and “Prom Night”, by Libba Bray, which had a subtle, disquieting ending as doomed teenagers, after all of the adults in town have been quarantined or killed, attempt to soldier on with the high school tradition of prom.

For the unicorn stories, the one I really liked was “The Care and Feeding of Your Baby Killer Unicorn”, by Diana Peterfreund, which is set in her Rampant universe and definitely made me want to read the novel. Several of the stories explored the dangerous side of unicorns, but this was the one I felt did it best. I also enjoyed Meg Cabot’s “Princess Prettypants” as a kind of as tongue-in-cheek, light-hearted revenge fantasy, and I thought two of the others – Margo Lanagan’s and Kathleen Duey’s – were both disturbing in a good way.

I thought it was curious that a lot of the zombie stories I liked had a strong romance element, involving zombies of various sentience levels, while several of the unicorn stories focused more on their dangerous side, often as a vengeful judge/punisher of wrongdoing.

Cover comments: Honestly, this book should sell based on the cover design alone. The cut-out of the zombie fighting a unicorn, and the cartoonish but graphically violent scenes of their death match ranging over hill and dale, is some of the best I’ve seen. Not only does it effectively present the focus of the book, it’s hilarious and eye-catching. It’s like looking at an I-Spy or Where’s Waldo book, but with a sick twist.

December Gaming Programs: Winter Wii

Bored over Winter Break? Not on Tuesdays! Come to the library for our Winter Wii programs. Board games, card games, and snacks will always be available at all of our gaming programs. We will also sometimes have free advance reader copies of books to give away.

Tuesday, December 21, 2:30-4:30: Just Dance 2. Come boogie with friends and work up an appetite.

Tuesday, December 28, 2:30-4:30: Super Smash Bros. Brawl or Mario Kart — we’ll have a vote. Any other suggestions? Comment here and tell me what you want to play!