Scary Short Story Sunday: The Highest Justice by Garth Nix


Short Story Peril Challenge Banner

Short Story Peril Challenge Banner

I am sure you have all heard of the (R)eaders (I)mbibing (P)eril challenge hosted by Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings? I have decided to participate in all facets of the challenge this year. Expect a declaration of my participation in the Good Books & Good Wine Update. I have decided to declare Sundays from September to October to be Scary Short Story Sundays. I will read a scary short story and do a brief post about it. This week’s story is from the anthology Zombies vs. Unicorns (which actually is where most of my short stories for SSSS will be coming from). As you all know, I am firmly Team Unicorn. I mean, these are thinking beasts that could gore you! Therefore, I do consider stories about killer unicorns to be a form of a horror story, and hence counting for this amazing challenge.

The Highest Justice by Garth Nix opens with an introduction written by Justine Larbaleister and Holly Black — Team Zombie and Team Unicorn, respectively. The introduction debates the merits of both teams in relation to the upcoming short story. A quote I gleaned for it’s humor:

“You’re just saying unicorns are stuck-up snobs. Zombies are the proletariat. Long live the workers!” – pg. 2

I’m sorry, I giggle whenever communism is invoked in relation to zombies.

zombies vs unicornsOnto, The Highest Justice!

Garth Nix’s tale opens with a young maiden walking through the woods with a horse and a unicorn. AND OMFG, is that her dead mother gone zombie strapped to the top of the horse? Why yes, yes it is. Kids, this story contains both Zombies AND Unicorns. Oh, and did I mention the maiden is a princess? So her mother is the queen?

Right-o. So the motley crew is all walking through the forest to mete out justice to the person who poisoned and killed the queen. Along the way, the unicorn gores some peeps. Jolly good times are had by all.

Then we come to the love nest of the king, who as we learn has lots and lots of monkey sex. SEX IN YA. SEX. (I wonder how many search engine hits I will get for that.) Right, so we can guess this short story will eventually possibly fall under the umbrella of banned books, which is truly a scary thing to behold.

Of course, the unicorn does a few more badass things, then the story ends.

Overall, I quite enjoyed this opening story, The Highest Justice by Garth Nix. It’s only 16 pages longs, so you can read it in like 15 minutes. The writing is solid, it rarely meanders. Clearly, in a short story you cannot quite waste words, since you do not have much space. Finally to sound all hokey and such, Nix perfectly evokes a fairy tale setting in which unicorns do not fart rainbows, but mete out justice with the tips of their pointy, sometimes poisonous horns….AWESOME.

Disclosure: Book received for review.

You can Purchase Zombies Vs. Unicorns Here!

About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. Enbrethiliel says


    I'm on Team Unicorn, too! =D

    The king's "monkey sex" isn't such a deviation from fairy tale tradition, I think. Last month, I looked at the fairy tale Donkey Skin, about a princess who runs away from home because her father wants to marry her. So, yeah, children's stories have room for kinky kings. (LOL! Just helping you get more weird hits, April!)

    And now I want to read this book–or at least more Garth Nix.

    Thanks for the review. =)

  2. I've NEVER heard of this! HOW is this possible?! I do also love a good short story!

    I need to know if I'm Team Unicorn or Zombie. I think I'd be Team Unicorn though!

  3. Emily a.k.a WilowRaven : ) says

    I have this book sitting on my shelf…it's been waiting for so long – bout time I picked it up!
    Great review!!! Can't wait to read this SS 🙂

  4. I love Garth Nix! Nice to know he's still writing short stories then one knows a second collection will be coming sometime in the future.

  5. I really need to read more Garth Nix. I currently have two series by him on the go… Maybe I should read some short stories by him instead!

  6. I think it's time I need to read Zombies V. Unicorns! I've only read Mister Monday by Garth Nix, but he is a fabulous writer from what I've seen thusfar. Can't wait to see what the next scary story will be!

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