Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Book Review: Rampant

Forget everything you ever knew about unicorns...

Real unicorns are venomous, man-eating monsters with huge fangs and razor-sharp horns. Fortunately, they've been extinct for a hundred and fifty years.

Or not.

Astrid had always scoffed at her eccentric mother's stories about killer unicorns. But when one of the monsters attacks her boyfriend—thereby ruining any chance of him taking her to the prom—Astrid finds herself headed 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 the 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 ... an attraction that could jeopardize everything.

Rampant by Diana Peterfreund has sat on my shelf since it came out. And, somehow, it didn't manage to be read until now. So I put it on my challenge list of "Books-I-need-to-read-this-year-because-they've-been-sitting-on-my-shelf-too-damn-long." I'm a bit horrified at myself that it sat for so long, especially since I loved it so much!

Astrid Llewellyn lives with her mother above the garage of her Uncle John's house. She grew up with her cousin, Phillipa, who is only a few years older. They're more like sisters than cousins. And after Astrid saves her boyfriend's life after a unicorn attack, her mother sends her to Rome to train with other unicorn hunters. They are all girls, all virgins, and all descendants of Alexander the Great.

I really liked Astrid. She was very realistic in her thoughts and actions. The incredulity of finding out unicorns are real, even though her mother has told her about these killer monsters all her life. The unfairness of being sent to Rome to live with strangers and train to put her life in danger so she can kill unicorns. The fear and sickness she feels at taking the life of another. If I were in her shoes, I would probably have the same reactions. Though, without the unicorn hunter blood, I'd be useless in battle.

I really enjoyed the characters and the story, but I also enjoyed the setting. I spent ten days in Italy - 3 days in Rome - several years ago. While I'm not familiar with everything that was mentioned, there were some places Astrid saw that I'd been to. It's always exciting to me to know the setting of the book (like with books set in DC or Baltimore). I loved every bit of reading this book, and I can't wait to read Ascendant, "Errant" and "The Care and Feeding of Your Baby Unicorn" from Zombies vs. Unicorns. And for the record, I'm firmly Team Unicorn.

In this world, not all unicorns are dangerous. To hunters, that is. All five types of unicorns are said to be ruthless killers. But the smallest type, the zhi, love the unicorn hunter. In fact, their love is what proves a girl worthy of being a hunter. My favorite character in this book is one such creature, a zhi named Bonegrinder. One of my favorite animals is a goat. And I have a friend who has a pet goat that acts very dog-like. Even plays fetch. So I imagined him a lot, since Bonegrinder reminded me of him. And I searched online to find a picture of what Bonegrinder looked like in my head. This is how I imagined her. You can visit the artist's page here. How could anyone not want a pet one of these adorable, beautiful creatures?

Go read Rampant. You won't be disappointed!


Sandy said...

Hmm this is on my to-read list on goodreads but it's been low on the priority list since I've added it even though I have heard good things. I'll raise it up on the list also...Annie Stegg's unicorn woot!


Kat said...

Yay for Team Unicorn! I loved Rampant, too-- hope you get to read Ascendant soon. I wish I had a zhi like Bonegrinder, haha. My aunt has a goat which she treats like a dog as well; they make for very interesting pets. Don't think my aunt's goat plays fetch, though!

ANYWAY, great review and I love the picture of the baby unicorn.
Kat @ A Myriad of Books

Midnyte Reader said...

It's hard for me to picture unicorns as killers. This actually sounds good though.

Carrie at In the Hammock Blog said...

This sounds so good! Thanks for the great review! Love the pics too.

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