Ascendant
  • Alternative view 1 of Ascendant
  • Alternative view 2 of Ascendant

Ascendant

3.7 25
by Diana Peterfreund
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Astrid Llewelyn is now a fully trained unicorn hunter, but she can't solve all her problems with just a bow and arrow. Herboyfriend, Giovanni, has decided to leave Rome, the Cloisters isin dire financial straits, her best friend's powers are mysteriouslydisintegrating, and Astrid can't help but feel that school, home, andher hopes of becoming a scientist are

…  See more details below

Overview

Astrid Llewelyn is now a fully trained unicorn hunter, but she can't solve all her problems with just a bow and arrow. Herboyfriend, Giovanni, has decided to leave Rome, the Cloisters isin dire financial straits, her best friend's powers are mysteriouslydisintegrating, and Astrid can't help but feel that school, home, andher hopes of becoming a scientist are impossible dreams.So when she's given the opportunity to leave the Cloisters andput her skills to use as part of a scientific quest to discover theRemedy, Astrid leaps at the chance. Finally, she can have exactlywhat she wants—or can she? At Gordian headquarters in the Frenchcountryside, Astrid begins to question everything she thought shebelieved: her love for Giovanni, her loyalty to the Cloisters, and—most of all—her duty as a hunter. Should Astrid be saving the worldfrom killer unicorns, or saving the unicorns from the world?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this thrilling sequel to Peterfreund's Rampant, Astrid Llewelyn has come to terms with her magical abilities to hunt poisonous flesh-eating unicorns, but not with the cloistered, nun-like lifestyle it demands of her, nor of the changes to her body ("I looked like a bodybuilder. It wasn't feminine. It wasn't beautiful"). Fate in the form of Isabeau Jaeger, the wife of an old enemy, offers Astrid a new job that appears tailor-made for reconciling her present life with her earlier dreams of a medical career: guarding a herd of captive unicorns, paired with university science classes, all for greater good of researching the Remedy, the legendary unicorn-sourced cure-all. But luxurious surroundings, fancy new clothes, and a renewed friendship with an ex-boyfriend-turned-research-colleague fail to still Astrid's growing unease about the ethics of unicorn treatment and her role in determining the future of the unicorn species, as well as her own destiny. The strong yet vulnerable heroine, compelling conflicts, and exquisite settings should find a voracious audience in those familiar with the first installment, though the complexities of Peterfreund's world will be more challenging for readers beginning mid-series. Ages 14–up. (Sept.)
VOYA - Sherry Rampey
We have heard fairytales about how wonderful unicorns can be. They have mystical powers that can heal and some can fly, but what if what we have heard was just that—a fairytale? In Astrid Llewelyn's world, unicorns are fierce and powerful, and would like nothing better than to have a human for a snack. Astrid is a full-blown unicorn hunter, who, after learning about her family tree, defeating a traitorous enemy, and nearly getting killed, has yet to learn the full extent of her powers. In Peterfreund's most recent novel about Astrid, the reader is introduced to the mind of the unicorn and how it became the beast it is. Peterfreund plows forward with the plot until the middle of the book, where it begins to meander. The setting is surreal, but the characteristics and details that Peterfreund uses to define her setting set the mood and tone of the book. For those teens interested in different perspectives on unicorn lore and who like action-packed fantasy, this will be a sure bet. Readers may want to read the first book, Rampant (HarperTeen, 2009/VOYA June 2009), in this series, as a bit of the plot in Ascendant concerns what happened in the past. Reviewer: Sherry Rampey
Children's Literature - Elizabeth Young
In a literary world preoccupied by vampires, the occult, and alternative realities, this work fits right in. Peterfreund's novel also includes magic, alternative lifestyles, lesbianism, unicorns, danger, crime and other pressure points in this sequel to Rampant. Astrid, a unicorn hunter comes to terms with herself and her life as one of several teenage girls in a cloister in Italy. It is a cloister of unicorn hunters, but one that has seen better days. The girls are losing their "magic" and no one knows why. Unicorns are once again attacking humans after centuries of being apparently nonexistent. The question becomes not how to stop the unicorns, but how to control the hunters and any "magic" they may possess. "Girl Power" takes on a whole new meaning in this tale. The girls must be virgins for the hunting to happen, and it is up to them to carry out the tradition of a semi-secluded lifestyle. Astrid longs to attend college and become a physician. She dreams of her life with Giovanni, now across the Atlantic in New York City. She yearns for a better life, but realizes the practicality and security of where she is. She finds herself in an experimental institution where she must come to terms with her heritage and her hopes before it is too late. Or is it already too late? Lots of action and intrigue, but also lots of questions and needless killings of humans and "unicorns." This book is not for everyone, nor is it likely to become a classic, as the subject matter seems to bring about more confusion than one needs for an already complex generation. Reviewer: Elizabeth Young
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Second novels sometimes pale in comparison to the series opener. Ascendant is not one of them. More sophisticated in both content and structure than the straightforward Rampant (HarperTeen, 2009), this title echoes the growing development of narrator Astrid as she questions the ethical complexities of her new life as a unicorn hunter. The threat of man-eating unicorns is increasing worldwide, and only the virgin descendants of Alexander the Great can stand against them. Many girls are choosing to give up their eligibility rather than accept the challenge, making new hunters difficult to find and train. Astrid, who hates hunting even while loving the powers that her calling gives her, takes a job with a pharmaceutical company, guarding the unicorns they use for testing. Once, she hoped to become a doctor, and her search for the recipe for the Remedy, a unicorn-based cure-all, appeals to her as an echo of the life she once wanted. But faced with the realities of animal testing and dubious behavior on the part of her employers, Astrid must decide where her loyalties lie, and the impact of that choice takes her in a direction she never imagined possible. Peterfreund is sure to gain a stronger following with Ascendant, and fans will eagerly await further titles in the series.—Alana Joli Abbott, James Blackstone Memorial Library, Branford, CT
Kirkus Reviews

Picking up where Rampant (2009) ended, this meandering and often slow sequel finds Astrid Llewelyn questioning her life as a virginal unicorn hunter in a camouflage habit (now required by the Church and the novel's only bit of humor), wanting to return to freedom and her education and saying goodbye to her college-bound boyfriend. She may have found a compromise when Isabeau Jaeger, the wife of the mad scientist killed in the series opener and new head of Gordian Pharmaceuticals, invites her to live in Limoges, France, in exchange for her help with unicorns held captive to research and create more of the Remedy against their poison. Although it continues the themes of feminism and mythology (including the story of Diana and Actaeon) begun earlier, this sequel is less about unicorn battles and more about Astrid's search for self as she ponders the ethics of animal testing, the conundrum of saving humans from deadly animals and the ramifications of driving them extinct as well as the meaning of her virginity and advances from her ex-boyfriend. Unanswered questions beg for a sequel. (Fantasy. YA)

ALA Booklist
“Astrid is painted with a strong brush.”
Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)
“For those teens interested in different perspectives on unicorn lore and who like action-packed fantasy, this will be a sure bet. ”
Locus
Praise for Rampant: “Tired of Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Try Astrid the Unicorn Hunter.”
Carrie Ryan
“Ascendant is fast paced, fresh and engrossing—plus it has killer unicorns, what could be better? I love this book!”
Malinda Lo
“I was riveted by Ascendant. It’s not only about killer unicorns; it’s also about finding the courage to make tough decisions—and to be true to yourself. I think Astrid rocks!”

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061490026
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
09/28/2010
Pages:
392
Sales rank:
433,494
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.30(d)
Lexile:
HL770L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

What People are saying about this

Carrie Ryan
“Ascendant is fast paced, fresh and engrossing—plus it has killer unicorns, what could be better? I love this book!”
Malinda Lo
“I was riveted by Ascendant. It’s not only about killer unicorns; it’s also about finding the courage to make tough decisions—and to be true to yourself. I think Astrid rocks!”

Meet the Author

Diana Peterfreund is the author of nine books for adults and teens and over half a dozen critically acclaimed short stories. Though she loves the frocks and lush climate of New Pacifica, for now she lives in the far more prosaic Washington, DC, with her husband, her daughter, and her dog, Rio.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >