Author: Diana Peterfreund
Published: August 25th, 2009
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.
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.
General Overview: I have got to give definite props to Diana Peterfreund. This is probably one of the most original books I've ever read. I will admit that I was a bit reluctant to read this book, despite it's captivating summary, because, well, unicorns. I thought it was ridiculous. I could not have been more wrong!
Characters: Astrid was an admirable heroine. I loved her attitude and her sarcasm, and I loved her personality and the mature (well, mostly) way she handled herself and the things that happened to her. Her mom, however, seriously got on my nerves until, oh, about halfway through the book. I thought her mom was just a pain the butt, always pushing Astrid to do things she didn't want to do. Ooh, and I really liked Phil too. I loved how carefree she was and confident! And Giovanni! He was so sweet to Astrid, and I liked how accepting he was (although I was a bit disbelieving there. What kind of guy goes, oh, so unicorns are real? And they're terrifying? And you hunt them? That's hot. Whatcha doin' tomorrow night? Although to be fair, that's not actually how he was. That's just, you know, a slightly inaccurate way of phrasing his reaction.)
Plot: Rampant moved at a pace that I found to be not so slow that you lose interest, but not so fast that you get confused either. Although packed with unicorn-hunting-badassery, there were some scenes where people were more relaxed and not as high-strung as they usually are (you know who you are, Rampant characters). The scenes between Giovanni and Astrid ranged from sweet to intense, and I found myself cheering for this awesomely-named couple. I also found that this book makes a good case for waiting for the right time, but at the same time it wasn't preachy, which is something I hate. This book advocates celibacy, but it doesn't make you feel like you're having "The Talk" with your parents or a relative or someone.
Writing: Peterfreund's writing is clever and descriptive. By descriptive, I mean that I wouldn't recommend this book to some younger readers (13+, maybe?) because it does have a certain level of gore in it. Nothing permanently scarring, of course, but there's still some pretty nasty stuff in there. I very much enjoyed reading from Astrid's point of view, and the story just flowed. I couldn't read it fast enough!
Cover: I like this cover! The girl on it looks nothing like how I imagined Astrid, though, but I really like the sword with the unicorn reflection! Beautiful work.
Overall: 5 out of 5 stars