Monday, December 14, 2009

Book Review: Rampant by Diana Peterfreund

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. Or not. Astrid Llewelyn has always scoffed at her eccentric mother's stories about killer unicorns. But when one of the monsters attacks her boyfriend in the woods — thereby ruining any chance of him taking her to prom — Astrid learns that unicorns are real and dangerous, and she has a family legacy to uphold. Her mother packs her off to Rome to train as a unicorn hunter at the ancient cloisters the hunters have used for centuries. However, at the cloisters, all is not what it seems. Outside, the unicorns wait to attack. And within, Astrid faces other, unexpected threats: from crumbling, bone-covered walls that vibrate with a terrible power to the hidden agendas of her fellow hunters to — perhaps most dangerously of all — her growing attraction to a handsome art student... and a relationship that could jeopardize everything.

When I first heard about this book, I had no idea that is was set in the present day, but it
was definitely the type of book I needed as a pick-me-up from the mid-semester drag. The story was unique (killer unicorns, enough said), and I'm now eagerly anticipating the sequel.

Plot: After Astrid is forced by her mother to move to the cloisters, in Italy, to train as a unicorn hunter, she's confronted with danger, romance, and questions about her heritage. Her new roommate, Cory, is hell bent on destroying all unicorns, and despite all of the lore, no one really seems to know what to expect. Of course, this all changes over the course of the book. We learn more about who the hunters were, why Cory has a particular hatred toward the creatures, and just how dangerous hunting can be. Astrid also has run-ins with a unicorn, Bucephalus, who has some historical ties to Alexander the Great (so, you can imagine how much I loved that aspect).

One thing that I love about Peterfreund is that her work is never predictable. The story never dragged, and I was on the edge of my seat.

Characters:Astrid's growth over the course of the book felt very real, and at various points in the story I sympathized with her. Overall, she was an intriguing character that I look forward to reading more about.

One of the many great things about Peterfruend's writing is how strong her female characters are. In this book, as well as her other series, the women break free from gender stereotypes. Astrid, Phil, and Amy (from her other series) portray strength, knowledge, and power. I could rave about this particular aspect of her writing all day, and it's a characteristic that I really appreciate in YA lit.

Rampant
By Diana Peterfreund
Published by HarperTeen
416 Pages
Rating: A-

5 comments:

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

I tried this a while back and couldn't get in to it. Great review though!

Faye said...

sounds awesome! i've been seeing some really good reviews on this book, it definitely sounds original.

celi.a said...

I wasn't quite a big a fan as you were of this book, but I did appreciate a few of the moments of brilliant, hilarious writing. I just felt that the pacing wasn't sustained. It started with a bang and ended with a bang, but the middle ALMOST lost me. As I said, I read it, and mostly enjoyed it...but there were a couple times mid-book when I almost put it down. In all, pretty decent.
Killer unicorns!

Deanna/ibeeeg said...

I have been curious about this book for a bit of time now. I think I will go ahead and read it.

Krystianna (Downright Dystopian) said...

Awesome review! I really want to check out this series. I've heard great things about Diana Peterfreund's novels.:)

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