Rampant & Ascendant by Diana Peterfreund (final thoughts)
From the author’s website:
Forget everything you ever knew about unicorns…
The sparkly, innocent creatures of lore are a myth. Real unicorns are venomous, man-eating monsters with huge fangs and razor-sharp horns. And they can only be killed by virgin descendants of Alexander the Great.
Fortunately, unicorns have been extinct for a hundred and fifty years.
I have been a member of Team Unicorn ever since I first read The Last Unicorn in high school. Actually, scratch that. I’ve been a member since watching the movie (over and over and over) when I was a kid. However, my unicorn reading in the meantime has been scarce. It’s not because I was being picky, but I just hadn’t come across many other unicorn stories. So, when I heard that Rampant was not only about unicorns, but awesome-sounding killer unicorns, I knew I’d have to read it pronto.
Rampant didn’t disappoint. So, Astrid grew up hearing all about extinct fierce, killer unicorns from her mom, but brushed off the stories as delusions. But then one night she comes face to face with a real live unicorn that to bows to her… and proceeds to gore her boyfriend. Suddenly she has to come to grips with the fact that her mom’s stories are true as she’s shipped off to Rome for unicorn hunter bootcamp.
My favourite part of the book was the mythology Peterfreund presented. I loved learning about the different unicorns and their histories with the hunters. I love how the hunters slowly began to learn their what their strengths and weakness were, and how to strengthen their powers. While I didn’t find Astrid to be immediately likeable, I though that the unraveling of the mythology made up for that.
Rampant was a fun read that I very much recommend.
My rating: 8/10
Fromt the author’s website:
Astrid Llewelyn is now a fully-trained unicorn hunter, but she’s learning she can’t solve all her problems with just a bow and arrow. Her boyfriend Giovanni has decided to leave Rome, the Cloisters is in dire financial straits, her best friend’s powers seem to be mysteriously disintegrating, and Astrid fears that school, home, and her hopes of becoming a scientist are nothing but impossible dreams.
When I finished Rampant I wanted to read the next book rightnow rightaway. Unfortunately I did not love Ascendant as much as I did Rampant, for two reasons. Firstly, the mythology and unicorns that I loved in book one were sorely missing from the first half of Ascendant. There was a lot of “who am I” and “what does being a unicorn hunter mean?” wonderings, which was okay but didn’t pull me into the story as much as the mythology stuff did.
Secondly, Astrids mom made me SO MAD. In the first book she was portrayed as being a little off kilter with some strange ideas, but someone Astrid could always trust. In Ascendant, however, she seemed completely uncaring and selfish.
Although the first half of the book didn’t start off well for me, I really really liked the second half. Lots of unicorns and action, although the mom stuff was still there at times. If another book comes out in the series, which seems likely by the way this one ended, I will definitely read it. A couple things were brought up near the end and I can’t wait to see how they might play out in future books.
If you’ve read Rampant, definitely read this one too. Just be warned that there’s a little less unicorn and a little more crazy mother.
My rating: 7.5/10