The Eager Readers, March 10, 2010 (view all comments by The Eager Readers)
I've wanted to read Rampant since I first heard it recommended by the phrase: killer unicorns! Throw out your images of gentle unicorns that merrily prance & sparkle among rainbows and butterflies, and prepare yourself for the bloodthirsty, venomous beasts of Diana Peterfreund's Rampant.
What I Liked:
- Astrid is an intelligent, science-minded heroine.
- She and her fellow warriors (all virgin descendants of Alexander the Great) are flawed & don't have flat, bland personalities.
- The group of potential hunters sometimes reminded me of Buffy-esque slayers-in-training.
- The mystery surrounding the unicorns and their history is interesting, seems plausible, and leaves a lot to be explored.
- [The following is an example of ReaderFAIL on my part, but I've decided to mention it anyway because it does describe something I liked about the book & perhaps I'm not the only one who occasionally judges a book by its cover & tagline.] This book is set in modern times. Right now you are probably thinking: "Thank you, Captain Obvious! The mention of prom in the book's description made that rather clear." But as I said before, this book had me hooked at "killer unicorns" so I actually did not read the jacket summary before purchasing it. What I did see - the cover featuring a young woman with a sword & Tamora Pierce's glowing recommendation on the back of the book - seemed to support my vague assumption that a book about sword-wielding unicorn hunters would be set in a quasi-medieval setting. So Rampant's present day setting was a surprise to me, and it turned out to be a pleasant one.
What I Wished:
- I would like to have seen more of the loose ends tied up and more information about the Remedy revealed.
- I also wanted more details about the unicorns & their history.
Who needs vampires, werewolves, and fallen angels when there are deadly unicorns lurking in the woods? I would recommend this book to teens and adults who want to read a fresh take on unicorns and to readers who like coming-of-age adventure stories. Fans of Tamora Pierce, Rick Riordan, and Joss Whedon should pick this one up! I look forward to reading Ascendant, the second book in Diana Peterfreund's Killer Unicorns series.
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Brooke Reviews, August 22, 2009 (view all comments by Brooke Reviews)
Astrid is 16 and has been told since she was younger to fear unicorns. That they are evil beasts. Her mother has shared tales of her ancestors fighting them, and ultimately leaving them to extinction. Astrid always thought her mom was nuts, until one night her boyfriend, and prom date hopeful, is stabbed by a Zhi (a tiny unicorn about the size of a goat) and would have died without her mother's elixir that saves his life. Astrid doesn't want to believe that these creatures are real, and she tries to make up excuses as to what that really was that mauled her date. She doesn't realize the gravity of the situation until she is sent to a convent in Rome, where her and other young girls will train to fight and slay the monsters that are attracted to them BECAUSE they are slayers.
I hear ya. I was thinking the same exact thing when I read the blurb for this one. Evil UNICORNS? Are you kidding me? But Diana Peterfreund has almost changed how I see them. From beautiful, magical, and majestic creatures, to horrible beast that will kill anything that gets in their way. Oh yeah, and only a female warrior, virgin, and direct descendant of Alexander The Great can kill them. These unicorns are extremely fast, vicious, and deadly predators. Peterfreund did some major research or she put a whole new spin on them and made them her own. Either way I commend her for taking this risk. I can't imagine it will be easy for people to pick this book up after seeing what it's about.
Astrid was an interesting character, she shows tremendous growth through the story. Although, in parts I wanted to strangle her for being so hardheaded! I liked the type and amount of detail, I enjoyed the dialogue, and the characters were pretty good. There were quite a few girls to keep track of in the convent, and I'm not sure if when they were all introduced if I caught who each one was, who they were related to, and what their specialties were, but I caught on soon enough. I enjoyed going through Astrid's struggles and different stages like disbelief in the beasts, realization after seeing and killing one, the sadness that she might not be good enough, being desperate to get out of the convent, and her feelings of strength and responsibility she gains from being a slayer.
The setting in Rome gives the story a great visual backdrop. As well as a place for Astrid to find a little romance. Astrid's chance at a boyfriend is hindered by the fact that wherever she goes...the unicorns hunt her out. The romance is believable and is sprinkled throughout the story, so it's not over done or too in your face.
Overall I went into this book very skeptical and came out the other end an ALMOST believer. I'm interested in a sequel when the time comes, but I'm not sure Rampant will work for as many people as other YA fantasy titles.
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Harper Teen -
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"This compelling new adventure, Peterfreund's (Secret Society Girl) YA debut, introduces an international cast of strong young women, virginal descendants of Alexander the Great, who hunt an unusual breed of monster: unicorns. Sixteen-year-old narrator Astrid Llewelyn never believed her mother's stories about unicorns — portrayed as bloodthirsty, venomous and near impossible to kill — until one impales the boy she's seeing. Sent to Rome (unwillingly) to train with other huntresses in response to the 'Reemergence' of the supposedly extinct creatures, Astrid makes new friends and enemies, hones her powers and finds time for a little romance, while coming to grips with her new life ('Forgive me if enforced lifelong celibacy and possible death by dismemberment and poisoning don't exactly get me excited,' she gripes). But she soon suspects (as will readers) that the war against the unicorns isn't so cut-and-dried. With an atmospheric setting, personable ensemble cast and some reasoned discussions about virginity, this gripping page-turner evokes the same grrl-power spirit as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, packed with action, mystery and a complex and intriguing mythology. Ages 12 — up" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
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