by Diana Peterfreund


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061490040
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 08/31/2010
Series: Killer Unicorns Series , #1
Pages: 402
Sales rank: 634,217
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 14 Years

About the Author

Diana Peterfreund is the author of many books for adults and children, including the critically acclaimed For Darkness Shows the Stars and Across a Star-Swept Sea. She lives with her family outside Washington, DC, in a house full of bookshelves, and is always on the lookout for lost cities or stray rocket ships.

What People are Saying About This

Scott Westerfeld

“As swift and sure-footed as a killer unicorn, RAMPANT weaves a vibrant new mythology from venerable threads.”

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Rampant 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 90 reviews.
acsimps More than 1 year ago
I actually received this book my mistake when ordering on line but I decided to give it a shot. The premise is a little strange but the story is interesting. I wish that it would have included more information at the end. A chapter explaining what happens after the big "battle" would have been good. The character names made it seem a little silly as well. If you love supernatural/fantasy books but need a change of pace from the current vampire/werewolf frenzy then this might be what you are looking for. If nothing else it provides good conversation. "yeah, I am reading a book about unicorn hunters who protect people from venomous unicorns with razor sharp teeth that try to eat people!" lol
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Think unicorns are sweet, magical horse-like creatures? Think again!

Diana Peterfreund introduces us to the darker side of unicorns in her novel RAMPANT. Peterfreund's unicorns are man-eating monsters. They can kill with poison in their horns, rip someone apart with their sharp teeth, and some have breath that can kill (literally).

Astrid Llewelyn has listened to her mother's crazy stories about extinct man-eating unicorns for years. Astrid never believed the stories - until the night her date ended up on the sharp end of a unicorn horn.

Now her mother's stories are all too real, and Astrid is sent to Rome for training as a unicorn hunter. She meets a group of other virgin descendants of Alexander the Great, and together they train to hunt and kill unicorns.

But Astrid doesn't want to be a hunter.

I enjoyed reading RAMPANT. There was some sexual tension and scenes of passion, as well as discussion about sex, but not enough to bother me. I'd recommend this for older readers 14+ because of the content.

I enjoyed the characters and learning about their lives. Astrid is strong, and yet vulnerable enough to make her real. The characters and their lives will run Rampant in my memory for a long time, but in a good way.
OfCourseHesMine More than 1 year ago
I have just started this book and I must say, it is very unique in it's story-line. Lately, it seems all the newest books are vampires. I say "MOVE OVER VAMPS!" We've got us some evil unicorns ready to rock the world. I hate putting this book down at school and can't wait to finish it. So far, I love it. It is sure to take your mind off the real world.
JustChristine More than 1 year ago
I picked up a copy of Diana Peterfreund's "Rampant" the day it was released, and from the moment I began reading it I was completely absorbed in the story. I found it hard to put down, even when I knew I should be working instead of reading (shh, don't tell my boss)! Diana really seems to have done her homework on this one - she paints amazing, vivid pictures of locations, characters, and even mythical beasts. That her main character grapples with the thought of virginity's worth (an issue that many young women are faced with) is an especially interesting touch, one which I don't remember reading about in any young adult fiction that was available to me as a kid. In fact, though this book is sold as YA fiction, I feel like it's accessible to adults as well, and have recently pitched it to my book club as our September read!
Lindsey_Miller More than 1 year ago
I read this book while I was at a weekend reunion with some of my college friends, and the first line of the synopsis became a running joke among us: "Forget everything you ever knew about." fill in blank. However, even in this text, that's not entirely true anyway. There are several different types of unicorns, but they're mostly still horse-like with a horn on the end of their heads. They still largely embody the image that comes to mind for the unicorn, just not the mythology surrounding it. The premise of the book was also a bit of a running joke, but these particular friends are lit nerds, so something like Rampant or even Harry Potter is likely to be scoffed at. Give me dry, literary realism or give me death! I can say, though, to the readers who love nothing more that to lose themselves in high-octane fantasy thriller that this book will leave you disappointed. Astrid, the narrator and main character, is wretchedly, painfully, make me want to punch myself in the face whiney throughout the entire book. Oh, I feel so bad for you Astrid-you poor, poor soul. You mean to tell me that you have super unicorn hunting powers that enable you to be part of an ancient secret society with all sorts of killer perks, and all you want to do is be a normal girl who loses her virginity at prom? Sorry, but I don't buy it. Stephanie Meyer's writing may not be stellar, but she really sells the vampire mythology in a way that makes you want to be part of it. I'm sorry Diana, I think you have a great concept for what could be a very engaging new sort of fantasy world that people want to be part of, but you didn't do the best job convincing us we should care. Perhaps it would have been better told from the perspective of one of the unicorn hunters who did want to be there, and loved nothing more than the thrill of driving that knife through the throat of the blood-thirsty, one-horned beast. I want to know more about the fantasy, the history, and the magical powers that the girls have. More or less, they're not great at hunting unicorns, they sit on a chair which gives them special powers, and then they're great at hunting unicorns, soon culminating in a 'final battle' that blurs by in just a few pages. Alas, maybe we'll see a better sequel. -Lindsey Miller, www.lindseyslibrary.com
titania86 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Astrid Llewelyn grew up being afraid of unicorns because of her crazy mother¿s rantings of venomous, fanged, and violent unicorns that existed in real life. As a teenager, Astrid dismisses her mother¿s stories as just a weird obsession and tries to lead a normal life. Her normal life comes crashing down when a small unicorn gores her boyfriend, Brandt. Unicorns are re-emerging everywhere and attacking innocent bystanders. Astrid¿s whole life is taken away and she has to live up to her heritage as a unicorn hunter. Her mother sends her to Italy to train and hone her skills to have a better chance against the new wave of unicorns. Astrid has no choice but to go, since she¿s a minor, but she doesn¿t know if she wants to do this with her life or even if the unicorns should be forced into extinction. Can she even afford to think about these things when she and a handful of inexperienced girls are being constantly attacked by deadly unicorns?When I first heard about a book about killer unicorns, I literally laughed out loud. It just seemed really silly and cheesy to me. Based on the summary on the flap, it looked like my initial description wasn¿t too off the mark because it seemed that Astrid was an empty-headed valley girl who cared more about going to the prom than about her boyfriend who was just seriously injured by a wild animal. Needless to say, I wasn¿t expecting much when I started Rampant. I was completely wrong and these things are really the only things I didn¿t like about the book, none of which is about the actual story. Rampant turned out to be one of the best young adult novels I¿ve read all year. Diana Peterfreund is an excellent writer, choosing a strange, but undeniably unique premise and immersing the reader in her world. Astrid is a compelling character who transitions from normal teenager to strong, confident warrior throughout the course of the novel. Although her unicorn killing abilities border on mythical, her problems beyond unicorns are ones that many teenagers face. She is forced to pursue a path as a unicorn slayer only because her mother wants her to and, as a teenager, she really has no say in the matter. At first, Astrid frantically looks for ways to get out of it, just as any person would, but eventually comes accept that there are a limited number of people that can combat against these dangerous unicorns. To abandon the other hunters would be dangerous not only to them, but to humanity at large. Issues about sex and relationships are in the forefront, due to Astrid¿s role as a unicorn hunter being dependant on her virginity, but the narrative avoids being preachy in any way. I was impressed that Peterfreund was able to intertwine real teen issues with her fantastic story.Rampant was a really quick read because I couldn¿t put it down. The Italian setting sets this book apart with its beautiful descriptions of museums and iconic landmarks. It also gave the book a link to Roman history, which was thoroughly researched and sometimes embellished upon implementing art, legends, and historical events. The ancient background contrasts with the modern setting and forces the unicorn slayers to try to find a balance between their destinies determined by fate and their modern right of free will. Rampant is a surprisingly good novel that I would recommend to fans of fantasy and books with strong female characters. Its unflinching look at harsh realities and violence mixed with fantasy sets it apart from other YA fantasy novels. I can¿t wait to read the sequel, Ascendant.
Karen_D on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Rampant was a book that I was looking forward to reading but fell a little bit flat. I was very excited about reading a book that put unicorns in a different light and about girl warriors that fight them. Books that put an original spin on something usually makes it better in my mind and Peterfreund did a good job on that but... There was just something missing from the book and not just the usual- there are no adults around so lets do what we want to do! There was a lack of caring in the book. The only people who seemed to have a real connection is Astrid and her cousin Phillipa but even that is not explored to the fullest extent. I also did not like the love interest Giovanni, he just did not strike the right cord with me. This most likely has to do with his best friend being such a jerk but still... There is also a rape that takes place and I feel that it was not treated with the care that it should have been. It was more of a- now she cannot be a warrior, shame on her for dating a boy! I felt a bit sick when there seemed a lack of caring from the "responsible" adults or friends. Especially Astrid's mother. I shudder to think that there are mothers out there who may even resemble her. She made me want to take a shower to take of the icky feeling I got from this book.However, it was not all bad. I did like was the world in which it was set and the different types/levels of unicorns the girls had to fight. The history of Alexander the Great and the bloodlines which spanned the globe was well researched and the action helped keep the book from being a complete dud. I mean come on, Astrid was fighting killer unicorns! I liked that they actually had an instructor to teach them. Although their innate skills were good, they still had to hone them to be great.
theepicrat on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I used to think about majestic, beautiful, loyal, benevolent when I envisioned unicorns; now I definitely have pictures of berserker unicorns that may be foaming at the mouth, overcome with bloodlust.Diana Peterfruend has created a fascinating new perspective on unicorns as she incorporated established unicorn mythology into the modern world. If you are a die-hard unicorn buff, then I am sure Rampant would be a dream-come-true, although killer unicorns may not have been quite what you imagined! The age-old assumption that unicorns prefer virgins held true, but try explaining that to the teenaged girls nowadays. Not only did Astrid and her older cousin Philippa challenge this rule, but those who wanted the girls to fail in their training also used this rule to their despicable advantage.There is so much happening in Rampant that I hardly know where to begin. The characters all had distinctive personalities, and my opinions of them kept changing as the story continued onward. I hated them, loved them, grew suspicious, hated them again, missed them, loved them again. Of course, Astrid gets most of the spotlight and kicks awesome unicorn butt when she finally takes charge of her destiny. On the other hand, her mother has the potential of being a really cool resource for the unicorn hunters, but gets a little too heady with power to the point where she nearly gets them all killed. It was interesting to observe everyone's reactions as they faced the unicorns and note how much they change with each unicorn encounter.Rampant was like a rollercoaster. Admittedly, the story kinda dragged at first as Astrid tried to reason unicorns out of existence. However, the tension started its upward climb as the unicorn hunters and company tackled the next dangerous, sure-to-kill-you situation, I probably forgot to breath during the last chunk of the book. When the story finally reached its peak, the suspense pretty much killed me and I died more than happy when the story spiraled out of delicious control.If you have been itching for an action-packed fantasy set in the modern world and don't mind reading about killer unicorns, then I suggest you keep an eye out for Rampant - it will be sure to surpass your wildest imaginations!
PattyLouise on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Rampant By Diana PeterfreundDiana Peterfreund has managed to scare me to death. I no longer think of unicorns as stuffed sparkly fluffy toys with satiny soft horns. Cuddly and cute¿sherbert colors¿those were the unicorns I was familiar with. The unicorns of Rampant are different kinds and breeds with one important key thing in common. They are killers. They have fangs sharper and scarier than any dragon or dinosaur. The horns are poisonous and deadly. They can be huge and they can be as small as a miniature horse. They kill everyone and everything in their sight¿they are definitely not vegetarians or even flexitarians.The story revolves around Astrid and her mother Lilith. Astrid¿s mom is obsessed with unicorns and has been for most of Astrid¿s life. She researches them and tells Astrid that she is a great unicorn hunter by gift of her birth. But¿when Astrid¿s boyfriend, Brandt, is stabbed by a unicorn in the backyard of one of Astrid¿s babysitting families¿Astrid is sent to Rome to live in a convent and actually learn how to become a real unicorn hunter¿that means bows, arrows, little sharp knives and more.This story is an amazing adventure. It is one of those quest adventure tales. Astrid will discover many things about herself as she grows into the role of the best unicorn hunter ever. It is hard to summarize this story because it sort of sounds vastly unbelievable and slightly fantastic. It is my first foray into this kind of YA Fantasy and it was a true adventure for me. There is just so much action in this book all within a great story. There are actually lessons to be learned as this book is read. We learn much about the lives of the young girls who come to the convent to learn how to be unicorn hunters. They must be and remain virginal or they can not be hunters. It was really fascinating to discover the personality of each hunter and what they would attempt to do to save people and destroy unicorns¿There is a second book in this series and in spite of my dreams ( nightmares )¿I can¿t wait to read it.
thelibrarina on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Vicious killer unicorns and the women who hunt them? Okay, I'm in.Astrid thinks her mother is crazy for believing in unicorns--and in bloodthirsty, violent unicorns, to boot. Then her boyfriend is attacked by one and nearly killed. The next thing she knows, Astrid is packed off to a Roman cloister, where she is to train as a unicorn hunter. Her fellow hunters, all young women, have different ideas as to how things should be run, and the researcher trying to find the Remedy--a cure-all made from unicorn blood--may not be quite what he seems. When unicorn attacks become more frequent, the girls are forced to fight, whether they're ready or not.I was worried that, because unicorn-hunters have to be virgins, the story was going to end up being moralizing and didactic, but it didn't. The idea that unicorns don't care whether you consented to sex is problematic, but the book acknowledges that.The second book, Ascendant, was released in late 2010. I'll definitely be reading it soon.
Lizabeta on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Wow-What a book. When I thought about Unicorns it was never like this. I aways thought of them as magical, loving, kind, soft, cute and cuddly ... I never thought of them as blood thirsty killers. This book has everything & more .. Love, Romance, Betrayal, Blood and Gore ... I loved it. Can't wait to read Ascendant !!!
gubry on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Unicorns = shiny sparkly? Killer Unicorns = Rampant and win.I like unicorns, but if it was just unicorns and pegasus combined, that¿s what I liked the most. Would I want to meet Rampant¿s unicorn? It depends. But mostly a no because I won¿t be able to defeat them and they¿d eat me¿ I think.I really liked this book among the library books I got. So it¿s a tie between Rampant and If I Stay by Gayle Forman. This book had action, was unique, and had romance in it. The mythology was something I didn¿t understand, especially who Diana was. But when I read `stag¿, `hunter¿, `wolves¿ in the same sentence I knew who she was. Artemis! But that¿s not really a spoiler.This book has a lot of character development starting from Astrid. Astrid I found was annoying at times, mostly about wanting to leave the place and how she wanted to give it all up without hesitation, meaning `that¿ scene. But she grew out of it and became a likable heroine from start. So to sum it up she was annoying at times then lost that edge from her as she grew and became strong.I¿m not sure how to classify if it was unpredictable, one scene that happened to a certain character I really didn¿t want to happen to her. Still I didn¿t expect some things to be honest, so I was just reading it and wondering what was going to happen.I didn¿t know what to think about this novel but I read a review on it out of curiosity so when I heard unicorns I thought it something to look for. First when she comes to Rome I got very confused. I didn¿t like her mother because of her attitude and still when she went ballistic but I started to like her a little bit. I was sad for Phil because I didn¿t want it to be her because it was something I could find predictable but the reason why it happened was totally unexpected.I didn¿t know it had a sequel, Ascendant, but then I found it so yipee~ I can¿t wait to read it.
taleofnight on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Astrid was born into a long line of unicorn hunters. But she doesn't have to worry about that now. Unicorns are extinct. At least that's what everyone thought until Astrid meets a unicorn in the woods and attacks her boyfriend. Now her mother is sending her off to Rome to train to become a unicorn hunter. There she meets Neil and Cory, the ones who set up everything for other unicorn hunters to stay and train together.Astrid does not want to be a unicorn hunter. When she first shows up at the cloisters she is greeted by the house unicorn, Bonegrinder. She can't fathom killing this cute unicorn that absolutely adores all the unicorn hunters. So when her cousin, Phillipa, comes to join Astrid in the training and takes her out into Rome to get away from the place for a little bit, they meet two boys, Giovanni and Seth. Giovanni just might be the way to get Astrid out of this unicorn killing, because after all, you have to be a virgin to be a unicorn hunter.I loved this book! I waited a few days to write this review because I wanted to think about it for a little. This book has been on my mind ever since I finished it. I loved the mythology, the setting, the history, the unicorn hunters. It made me have a new fascination with unicorns. I'm really fighting the urge to pick the book back up and read it again.There were some points in the book that kind of made me cringe. Cory throws the Bonegrinder off a balcony one day and shoots it in the stomach another day. I just felt so bad for that poor little unicorn that does nothing but love and adore the unicorn hunters. But then again, I can understand considering they are killer unicorns and will kill anyone who isn't a unicorn hunter. But then I got over that once the bigger and more dangerous unicorns came into play.I really don't know what else to say. I want to go so into detail with this book, but I obviously can't do that without spoiling anything. It was action packed and very entertaining and I just loved the mythology. Did I already mention that? I even did some research about unicorns, to see what Peterfeund made up and what was 'real' so to say.So. Yes. I really loved this book and I can't wait to pick up the second novel, Ascendant.
thehidingspot on LibraryThing 8 months ago
When I was little, every night I'd go outside with my dad and little sister to wish on a star. Every night my sister wished for a horse. Every night I wished for... a unicorn. Back then, I couldn't think of anything I wanted or needed more than a unicorn. Granted, I'd never met Diana Peterfreund's unicorns. If I had though, I'm almost positive I would've just wished for a horse.Rampant was an amazing story, complete with bloodthirsty unicorns, a kickass heroine, and a touch of romance. I was completely enthralled with the plot of this novel: maiden warriors who hunt carnivorous unicorns. Honestly, who wouldn't be at least a little curious? I found the pace of the story a bit slow at times, but, overall, I was kept interested throughout the story. Even if action was lacking, the history and romantic plot line kept me coming back for more! I have never heard of unicorns being portrayed as anything other than gentle, magical creatures, but Peterfreund made it easy to believe that just maybe, we had the story all wrong. The background story was also well written and meshed perfectly with Astrid's story.I liked most of the characters in Rampant. I thought Astrid and the other hunters were well rounded and each had a distinct personality. I really liked Giovanni as a love interest - I was surprised to find that Astrid falls for an American guy, not an European guy - even if he did have a very Italian name! I thought that was a cute twist!I did, however, have a major problem with Astrid's mother. She was absolutely horrible. I don't mean horribly written necessarily, she was just a horrible mother. I found that really frustrating. I felt that not only did she try to live her dreams through Astrid, she also didn't really seem to have much common sense. Then, she changes completely later in the book, seemingly due to traumatic events, though they were not only caused by her, but also acknowleged and accepted. Gah! She annoyed me to no end!
ethel55 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
The unicorns of fairytales are replaced by five species of killer unicorns, elephant sized on down. Astrid Llewelyn's mother has spent her life filling Astride's head of tales of fulfilling her family destiny, being descended from one of the great unicorn huntresses. As the unicorns begin re-emerging, a place called the Cloisters in Rome re-opens and young girls, who will become the new hunters, come together. The story relies on myth and fantasty and Peterfreund's amazing imagination creating a new reality for the myths of unicorns. I was surprised at how much I liked the book, even with the very grisly hunt scenes sprinkled throughout the story.
Tinasbookreviews on LibraryThing 8 months ago
¿Astrid is a 16-year-old teen living the life of any normal sophomore girl. Even though her mother has spun tales of killer unicorns and the lunacy of Astrid being a great warrior, she is happy laughing at the tales and thinking nothing of it. Everything changes one night when Astrid¿s boyfriend Brandt is attacked by a zhi, a domesticated unicorn in the hunter¿s world. Astrid is dismayed to learn that all her mothers¿ stories were true. Like her ancestors, Astrid fits the criteria for a unicorn hunter, and her mother sends her off to Italy to train for battle. Astrid is reluctant to enter this mysticism-laced world, but half-way into the story instead of fighting who she is; she learns to embrace her destiny. Astrid is a believably strong character and very well developed.We as the reader see her struggles and see her rise above them. Violent and blood soaked battles cake the pages but I thought the story was best when the characters discuss the moral and social aspects of their lives. The girls train and learn of their ancestry which surrounds an ancient Goddess and Alexander the Great. Astrid soon learns that not everything is as it seems at the convent, betrayals begin to leak out and lies are uncovered. This was a fun read, but I did find it hard to dive into the fantasy aspect that Rampant delivers, but the writing was done well and Ms. Peterfreund can tell an intriguing story.
kperry on LibraryThing 8 months ago
What comes to mind when you think of unicorns? Flowing, curling, pastel manes? A single, glittery horn? A kind and magical creature? Well, you¿d be wrong. Unicorns are vicious, man-eating creatures. Their teeth are razor sharp, they are faster than a sports car, and their ability to track prey is eerie. To make matters worse, unicorns can only be killed by female warriors that are direct descendants of Alexander the Great - and oh yeah - the female warriors must be virgins. Astrid has grown up with her mother¿s stories of evil unicorns and how her ancestors were some of the fiercest unicorn hunters in history. When Astrid¿s friends enjoyed the fairy tale versions of these creatures, she was always a little creeped out by them. Astrid also had to come to terms with the fact that her mother might be crazy since all she talked about and researched was man-eating unicorns.Astrid loses control of her life after witnessing a unicorn attack. It, coupled with reports of mysterious ¿wild animal¿ attacks around the world, leads Astrid¿s mother to believe that this is proof of the beginning of a reemergence of the unicorns. Astrid is immediately shipped off to Rome to begin training to be a warrior - against her will.Astrid experiences a lot during her time in Rome. She learns about her family¿s history and their role in unicorn hunting. She experiences some of the local culture and meets a handsome young man. Most importantly, she comes face-to-face with unicorns and is forced to see if she has what it takes to be a warrior.RAMPANT is a unique story. Never before have I read or even heard of killer unicorns. Astrid is a strong, female character and extremely likable and her strong relationship with her cousin, Phil, adds a lot to the story. Rome¿s romantic atmosphere provides an interesting backdrop for bloody unicorn battles and adds to the mysterious feeling of the story. Romance is scattered throughout the story, but it doesn¿t dominate or take away from the action. The way to the story ends, it seems possible that Astrid¿s story could continue, but the ending is satisfying enough as it is that it definitely works as a stand-alone.
stephxsu on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Unicorns have been extinct for 150 years, but 16-year-old Astrid¿s lineage-obsessed mother doesn¿t seem to know that. She keeps on insisting that their family is descended from Alexander the Great, and that only his virgin female descendants have the ability to slay the man-eating unicorns. Astrid doesn¿t want to believe her mother, but a resurgence in the existence of unicorns forces her to a convent in Italy, where, along with other girls, she is to be trained in the art of unicorn hunting and killing.Reluctantly learning a whole new set of skills is just the beginning of Astrid¿s troubles, however. Her ¿classmates¿ vary in their attitudes towards their history, destiny, and each other, and someone seems to be planning something sinister to do with the unicorns. Like it or not, Astrid must embrace her natural hunting abilities and work towards a new future in which humans and unicorns both exist.Never have I read such an interesting story about unicorns as Diana Peterfreund¿s RAMPANT. This book is jam-packed with lore and fighting without taking away from Peterfreund¿s signature writing style.Diana¿s greatest ability is in making each and every character stand out without resorting to clichés. There are easily a dozen characters to keep track of, and yet no real effort is required to do so. Each character has a distinctive voice and his or her own motivations and vulnerabilities, and no one falls into character stereotypes. I admired this most about Diana¿s writing from her IVY LEAGUE series, and am happy that her characters continue to be just as complex and interesting in her YA novel.RAMPANT begins with a running start, which may be disorienting as Astrid discovers the reappearance of unicorns and gets sent off to Italy very quickly after the story begins. However, once within the cloister walls, details are fleshed out, characters introduced and shaped into whole beings, and the multifaceted story emerges. In RAMPANT, old clashes with new, both literally, as modern-day teenagers get dumped within the aging convent¿s walls, and figuratively: it¿s not just about killing unicorns, but rather the ethical implications of using ancient techniques in modern times.While I found myself unable to connect with the characters as well as I did with those in the IVY LEAGUE series, Diana Peterfreund has still written a tale that is a force to be reckoned with. The allure of unicorns (an as-yet-unmined idea) and expert characterization will make RAMPANT an easy winner in the YA fantasy genre.
helgagrace on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I'm sure that unicorns were as much fixture in many young lives of my generation as they were in mine. I was traumatized at the age of five by my first movie, The Last Unicorn, I read The Little White Horse avidly, I had a sister who was addicted to all things equine, my mother's needlework included the Lady and the Unicorn Tapestries, and of course there was Lisa Frank. In all of these scenarios, however, unicorns were the good guys. That is not the case in Diana Peterfreund's forthcoming young adult novel Rampant, in which unicorns are vicious, man-eating beasts who can only be slain by virginal girls descended from Alexander the Great. Once you get beyond the strangeness of that premise, Peterfreund has created a believable world populated by an engaging cast of characters.Astrid Llewellyn, our heroine, has been raised by her seemingly crackpot mother to acknowledge the existence of unicorns, but they don't become real to her until an encounter in the woods leaves her (soon to be ex) boyfriend gored and poisoned by the unicorn's potent venom. Soon, Astrid finds herself in Rome at the Cloisters, an ancient training facility for unicorn maidens. She is joined by her cousin, Philippa, and a diverse cast of teenage girls from different parts of the world (with entertainingly archaic names). Various complications ensue: no one is quite sure about the details of the lost art of unicorn hunting, the endeavor is being funded by a shady corporation, and Astrid and Phil begin dating two exchange students. The connection between virgins and unicorns gives Peterfreund the opportunity to explore the girls' conscious choices to remain abstinent, and to present Astrid with a major dilemma. The major theme of Rampant has to do with Astrid's desire to be a healer, rather than a unicorn hunter. History and genetics seem to be pushing her toward a life of violence and death, which she could easily escape by sleeping with her boyfriend. She is forced to make that choice after a particularly harrowing experience leaves her near death. Moments like this raise Rampant above its somewhat oddball premise of killer unicorns and into the realm of serious social commentary.Peterfreund has clearly done her unicorn research, and as a result the mythology of the narrative is appealingly strong. Although the book has a good mixture of light, humorous moments and dramatic reveals, it occasionally felt unfinished, as if there were yet more to be revealed, or scenes had been excised for length. Perhaps this was due to the fact that Rampant is the first in a series? After the glut of vampires and zombies of the past few years, unicorns are are a refreshing change of pace. Read Rampant if you like Buffy Season 8, Veronica Mars, or Tamora Pierce.
EKAnderson on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Forget everything you¿ve heard about unicorns. They are not fluffy or cute, they do not grant wishes. They are vicious, man-eating beasts who can only be killed by virgin descendants of Alexander the Great. Astrid grew up hearing these stories from her lunatic mother. But when she is attacked by a zhi, her nightmares come to life and her mother¿s obsession has all the proof it needs to turn Astrid¿s world upside down. She is sent off to Rome to meet up with other 21st Century would-be unicorn hunters. It may sound like a vacation, but danger is around every corner. Rampant is an absurd thrill-ride and a perfect escape from every other fantasy out there. Killer unicorns? Come on ¿ there have been enough vampires, zombies, and werewolves to keep us sated for years to come. But Peterfreund¿s YA debut is fresh, new, and ready to help you end your summer vacation with a bang. Or an ¿alicorn¿ to the chest, if you like.
DarkFaerieTales on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Quick & Dirty: An imaginative and captivating read that will have you terrified one minute and shocked the next.Opening Sentence: ¿`I will never really leave,¿ said the unicorn. Diamond sparkles floated from the tip of its glittering silver horn. `I will always live in your heart.¿¿The Review:What¿s this? Not my loveable Rainbow Brite? My Little Pony? Yeah, not so much and I loved it!Rampant is a well drawn story with solid unicorn lore, history and amazing world building. I absolutely loved Astrid. She is such a likeable and strong character, not to mention that she kicks major butt. Astrid is struggling with average teenage issues. She¿s dating the hottest and most popular guy in school who wants to take their relationship to the next level sexually, and dealing with the usual social pressures of school. A major event happens early on in the book and as a result, Astrid is off to Rome. There, she will learn more about the killer unicorns and the history of their hunters. Peterfreund does an excellent job detailing the existence of various types of unicorns. The unicorn lore is layered and complex, but it doesn¿t overshadow current events. It was very interesting taking this journey with Astrid. You see Astrid go from being the girl who is in denial and just wants a normal life, and abhors the idea of killing animals, to stepping up and taking charge, and owning her destiny. Her mom is a bit of a train wreck and a character that I couldn¿t get behind. She just felt so cold to me, rarely affectionate with her daughter, and had such unrealistic expectations of Astrid. At one point, I thought that she was pathetic for trying to live her life through her daughter. I have to admit that I really loved Bonegrinder. It was really hard reading some of those scenes because I just didn¿t want anything bad to happen to my beloved and blood-thirsty Bonegrinder. It will be interesting getting to know the other hunters better and hearing more of their back-story. The love story between Astrid and Giovanni is actually pretty devastating. Astrid grapples with her physical and emotional reactions to Giovanni, and looks to him as a way out of the death and destruction. Giovanni is older and more experienced, and views his relationship with Astrid as more than physical gratification. Their relationship will certainly be fraught with difficulty and full of sacrifice for both parties.Overall, I think Rampant is an excellent read. These rabid and deadly unicorns will absolutely terrify you. This book has it all, from making out, to fight scenes, flesh eating mythical creatures, deadly kills, heartbreak, and downright gore. The pacing of the book is good and the premise is certainly engaging. I actually bit all of my nails off while reading this book. Many thanks, Ms. Peterfreund. Yes, I did go to get a manicure afterward. I¿m really looking forward to reading the sequel.Notable Scene:Again, the darkness quivered, deepest indigo on black. But then, as I had that night in the forest, I saw it more clearly. I¿felt it. Just beyond the arch it stood, waiting for me, waiting for the boys, waiting to pounce. Far bigger than Bonegrinder. Far bigger than any zhi. Dappled skin, a heavy, dark mane, and a long, evil horn.¿Are you all right?¿ Giovanni asked, taking my arm and pulling me back toward him. ¿I¿ve never seen anyone move so fast,¿ he went on. ¿You looked like you disappeared for a second.¿FTC Advisory: I purchased a copy of this book. In addition, I don¿t receive affiliate fees for anything purchased via links from my site.
plettie2 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
When I met Diana Peterfreund and heard her speak of this book, I was intrigued. While the book has its feet firmly rooted in the fantasy genre, I think this book's realism is what will resonate with young women. Peterfreund has used the unicorn theme as a vehicle to talk about the pressures that teenage girls face, that often lead them away from reaching their full potential. Dealing with everything from low self-esteem to parent pressure to peer pressure and even rape, Peterfreund gives one of the most balanced and level-headed views of teenage love and sex--demonstrating clearly the wonder and joy of it as well as the dangers and pitfalls--ever recorded in the pages of young adult lit. This is an unusual balance to find in a) a young adult novel and b) a fantasy novel. I think it demonstrates the talent and potential of an author whose voice is one that young girls need to hear desperately. Rampant is the grrrl power antidote to books like Twilight that message to young girls that self-purpose and fulfillment only come in the arms of a man. This book has earned its place in the libraries of secondary schools and I highly recommend it to women of all ages (and to boys as well, who will learn much about how to treat a lady from its pages). I look forward to reading much more from this author. I hope she will avoid turning this book into a series, and instead present more stories with strong female characters.
callmecayce on LibraryThing 8 months ago
A fun, romantic and slightly disturbing young adult fantasy novel. Think about unicorns, think about everything you know about them -- and then forget it all. Peterfreund turns our unicorn myths on their head, creating a fascinating story about killer unicorns, young women as unicorn killers, and love. The novel is fast paced, engrossing and has many strong female characters. What girls who kick ass? Look no further. Lots of fun to read.
Alliebeth927 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Rampant is one of those books that starts off a tad slowly, but by the middle becomes impossible to put down. What I liked best was the feeling of modern characters within an ancient setting, and a heavy mythological background. At first the idea of brutal, killer unicorns seemed kind of corny and laughable; even the first encounter within the opening few pages wasn't very impressive. But once I got into the meat of the story they had me appropriately terrified. Astrid is a strong character, but through her constant doubts also comes across as an average teenage girl. Her mother, on the other hand, is completely unbearable and I hated nearly every passage she was in. One of my favorite aspects of this book was Phil, Astrids fellow hunter and cousin. She's the one who seems to hold so much together while facing her own issues. Rampant has a strong sexual undercurrent, with good reason, and does a good job of keeping it appropriate while dealing with the realities of peer pressure, rape, and general teen sexuality. I was impressed because in so many teen books it's either avoided or over sensationalized, but Peterfreund handled it just right. Overall, it was a good book that I will be recommending to a few friends. It was wrapped up nicely at the end, but I still see the opportunities for an interesting sequel.
krau0098 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I was excited to read this book by Peterfreund. I mean it's about evil, carnivorous unicorns, how can you not be excited? It was a very creative book and pretty engaging.Astrid is your typical teenage girl, except she has a mother than has raised her on stories about evil, man-eating unicorns. Things are going pretty good for Astrid, that is until her boyfriend gets gored by an evil unicorn while they are out in the woods making out. From there things get kind of weird. Astrid is shipped off to a convent in Rome by her overzealous mother, where supposedly, she is going to learn how to become a unicorn hunter. Apparently Astrid comes from a long line of female unicorn hunters.The best thing about this book was the creativity. The whole idea of evil rampaging unicorns is a lot of fun and Peterfreund does an excellent job of integrating the existence of unicorns into current history and society. Astrid is a great character that has a dry sense of humor and a pretty good sense of self. The book itself clips along at a good pace and is engaging. At the end of the book you want to find out more about these huntresses.There was a part mid-way through the book after their trainer left that things slowed down a bit too much. It never got boring, but it didn't match the rest of the pace of the book. Also this book takes place in modern time, which for some reason I was expecting more of a fantasy. It is more of a paranormal or maybe urban fantasy type of book. While Astrid and her cousin were both engaging characters, I didn't find the side characters as engaging as I would have liked. Maybe there were just too many side characters or maybe enough background wasn't provided. Lastly there wasn't as much hunting and fighting as I expected; there was a lot of time spent on the social aspects of being a huntress...mainly keeping your virginity.This was a good read. It will appeal mostly to a young female audience; but fans of unicorns and huntresses may also find it appealing. The main strength of the story is the creativeness of it and the ease with which the unicorns are brought into the modern day world. The characterization of the side characters could have been more well done and the action scenes more plentiful and better detailed; but all in all it is a decent story. I will be keeping an eye out to see what other books along the fantasy vein Peterfreund comes up with.