Rampant by Diana Peterfreund
(Killer Unicorns #1)
Genre: Teen Fantasy
Pages: 432 Trade Paperback
Date Published: August 2010
Publisher: Harper Teen, Balzer + Bray
Forget everything you ever knew about unicorns . . .
Astrid Llewelyn has always scoffed at her eccentric mother’s stories about killer unicorns. But when one attacks her boyfriend—ruining any chance of him taking her to prom—Astrid finds herself headed to Rome to train as a unicorn hunter at the ancient Cloisters the hunters have used for centuries. However, all is not what it seems at the Cloisters. Outside, unicorns wait to attack. And within, Astrid faces other, unexpected threats: from bone-covered walls that vibrate with terrible power to the hidden agendas of her fellow hunters to her growing attraction to a handsome art student . . . an attraction that could jeopardize everything.
I really like the idea of this book. It presents legends in a way they aren’t usually interpreted. Yes, it does seem to be marketed towards teen girls and I’m a 31 yr old man. So what? Killer unicorns! I had to try it. It starts with the 16 yr old girl sneaking out of her babysitting duties to make out with her boyfriend in the woods behind the house and a page or so later you get a surprise. “With the shrieking howl of a bloodthirsty beast, the unicorn charged straight at him.” It’s a pretty good way to open a story in my opinion. Don’t worry, that’s not a spoiler.
The writing had a nice tempo with a pretty cool plot. The main characters seemed well defined. I didn’t get bored with it. In fact, I stayed up late once or twice reading it.
There may have been a few lines in the book that some parents would disapprove of. My guess is that reading this book isn’t going to teach the typical teenage girl anything she doesn’t already know about boys. As a retired teenage boy, I’d say the descriptions of certain pressures a girl might face seemed reasonable. I’d give the book a PG-13 but that’s more because of the unicorn entrails than the few sentences about boys with octopus arms going everywhere.
Anyway, I’d recommend it for a quick, fun read to anyone 12yrs or older. For the girls, you get awesome girl power, the crazy mom, bonds of friendship, blah blah blah. For boys, KILLER UNICORNS! Enough said.
*Thanks to HarperCollins Children’s for providing a copy for review.*
Diana Peterfreund has lain in silence on a forest floor while a panther stalked its prey nearby. She’s swum with sharks in the Great Barrier Reef, lived next door to a very lonely alligator, let piranhas nibble on her toes, and watched as a hyena seriously considered eating her husband. She’s seen all kinds of predators, but nothing scares her more than unicorns. A graduate of Yale University, she now lives in Washington, DC, and has written eight books for adults and teens.