Killer unicorns anyone?
Killer unicorns anyone?

Title: Rampant
Written by Diana Peterfreund
Hardcover: 416 Pages
Pub. Date: HarperCollins Publishers, August 2009
Reading Level: Young Adult

The last thing Astrid expects to see, as she walks in the woods with her boyfriend Brandt, is a unicorn.  Particularly a blood-thirsty, man-hating unicorn.  So when the unicorn charges and stabs Brandt in the leg, she is just as shocked as anyone else would be.  Her mother Lillian on the other hand, is delighted.

Astrid is the descendant of Alexander the Great and the latest in a long line of women unicorn hunters.  Lillian is obsessed with unicorns and has been for most of her own life.  So when she is contacted and offered a chance for Astrid to go to Italy to learn to be a unicorn hunter, she promptly sends Astrid along to live out her own life-long dream.  Astrid is prepared to be miserable, until her cousin Phillipa appears.  They study swordplay and archery.  They study the hot guys.

But then, the killer unicorns start arriving.

This was a co-read with Kailana from The Written Word. We tried a different format this time, more of a chat style, which was tons of fun.  I really enjoyed this book.  You’ll find out more in our conversation.   Read the first half of it at her blog here.  Go ahead.  I’ll wait for you.

Done? Okay….here’s part two!

Heather: Did you have any problems with the book?

Kelly: Is there a book two for sure? I want to hope that there is, but most of the major stuff was resolved in book one. Anyway, as to problems with the book. Well, the Seth storyline bothered me. Even though it is explained why he did it and it all seems to work out in the end, I didn’t like that it had to happen. A lot of my problems, though, were pacing. While I really liked the story and the characters, sometimes I felt like the story was dragging along. It did a lot of the setting up characters that is usually accomplished in the second book in a trilogy. I hope that means that if there is a book two there will be a lot of action. The characters in this book were all coming into their own, so this book was a lot about exploration of who they were. I just wish sometimes it had been rushed again.

We talked about killer unicorns in general, but what did you think about the two unicorns that could be considered secondary characters in this book?

Heather: Well, I’m not totally 100% sure there is a book two, but how could there not be?  She left so much unresolved!

At first, I found the involvement of the kirin unicorn confusing.  But once I realized he was helping Astrid become immune to his poison, my respect for him grew.  I still didn’t know what he was doing of course, I mean, Astrid’s whole purpose was to kill him and he’s helping her??  Once it was all made clear though, I understood and liked the plot turn.  I’m curious how she develops that relationship, provided there is a book two, since they are enemies who joined together for a brief period of time.

Now, Bonegrinder, I adored.  She reminded me of a cat I once had, who only liked me, and woe to anyone else who tried to touch her.  She was the closest thing to what we typically think of unicorns in the book, just don’t come near her if you aren’t a virgin!

What did you think of them?

Kelly: I really liked Bonegrinder. He was one of my favourite characters in the book! I was horrified in the very first scene with her when she appears on Cory’s bed. That was very unexpected because we still didn’t really know a lot yet. It was hard sometimes to remember he was the enemy because he added to the book so much. I found a lot of the scenes funny more than anything. Also, Bonegrinder’s addition made me feel that much worse about everything that happened to Phil. It was so sad! Though it worked out in the end, I really felt bad for her. The scenes when Phil just meets Bonegrinder are some of my favourite in the book, though.

As to the other unicorn, I thought about what you thought. Wasn’t sure about him at first, but as we got to understand his purpose better his addition made sense.

Heather: So, what did you think of the book from a critical standpoint?  Well written? Good plotting?  Any criticisms or loves?

Kelly: Well, like I said, I found that the book dragged a bit. There were a few scenes that I thought that the book could do without. In the beginning, also, I found that I had a bit of a time getting into the book. Once I did, though, I really enjoyed the story because it was fresh. In a world dominated by vampires, witches, werewolves, and most recently zombies, it was time for killer unicorns. I hope that it doesn’t become the new thing and get overdone, but for the moment Rampant will always be the killer unicorn book for me. I think she wrote a really good story for the most part. Is it the best writing ever? Nope, but she has a lot of potential and I cannot wait for something else from her. (Hopefully about killer unicorns!) What about you? What are your thoughts on the writing?

Heather: Did you notice I spelled favourite YOUR way up there?  You’re having an effect on me!  lol

I found that the beginning especially dragged a little bit.  I mean, we had this big-bang kinda of opening and then… blah.  But it picked back up pretty well.  I did think there might have been a few too many characters.  I think it was fine to have all those extra girls, but I wanted to know more about Cory, Astrid and Phil; those other girls didn’t really interest me at all.  All the same, those scenes with Astrid, Phil and Cory were fantastic.  I thought all those girls were really nicely drawn out. And I totally agree about having a new supernatural character. I’m getting tired of vampires (almost) and while zombies are way cool, they are going to get old fast.  No one is doing unicorns!  She’s cornered the market!!!

Kelly: Yay for having an effect on you. The British have an effect on Canadian spelling, so it is only fitting!

I agree. There were too many characters. Maybe if there is a sequel she will be able to concentrate on certain characters. I just hope that Phil is still a central character. I think she was my favourite!

I love our buddy reviews. This one was really fun! We need to start thinking about another book to talk about very soon!

Heather: This one was fantastic!  We definitely need another book…maybe Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld?

Oh, that sounds good!

Find out more in the first half over at The Written World.

Also by Diana Peterfreund:

Under the Rose: An Ivy League Novel | Secret Society Girl: An Ivy League Novel | Rites of Spring (Break) | Tap & Gown: An Ivy League Novel |

Also Reviewed By:

Presenting Lenore | The Book Lush | Read This Book! | Darque Reviews | Shooting Stars Mag| Frenetic Reader | and more…

Obligatory disclaimer.  I bought this book myself. Blah, blah, blah. I’m using Indie bound to make about $0.03 if I’m lucky. Ptttthpt.

7 thoughts on “Rampant

      1. Yes, Westerfeld! Leviathan! I'm going to read it during the readathon. (I hope!)

        And you do not suck at communicating! I haven't exactly been around much this week and you did have THREE co-reads going on. Totally understandable! 🙂

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