September 13, 2010

Review of "Rampant"

by Diana Peterfreund


Pub. Date:
August 29, 2009
Pages: 416

Synopsis: 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.

Or not.

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.

If you haven't read this book or even heard about it, you probably think that it sounds completely weird. I felt the same way when I first heard about the book, but after skimming reviews, I decided to give a chance. I am so glad I did because the book was pretty awesome. Yes it is about killer unicorns and the girls who hunt them, but Peterfreund is able to make it work. The characters' skepticism make it easier to believe that there are bloodthirsty unicorns. Astrid has trouble accepting the truth even after seeing a unicorn maim her boyfriend.

Another thing that makes this story easier to accept is the myths that the characters share. Astrid was raised with horror stories about unicorns, making her freaked out by how the rest of society viewed unicorns as cute and friendly creatures. All the characters have heard different myths about unicorns and where they came from, it kind of reminds me of all the different myths about vampires.

I love Astrid's sense of humor; from the beginning of the book I was hooked on her narrative. This book gets pretty violent, but at the same time there is a lot of humor. Part of this has to do with Astrid cracking jokes about how ridiculous the situations she keeps finding herself in. Astrid's narrative is also very conversational; she seems to be telling the story as if talking to a close friend.

Even though this book is paranormal and has romance, it also is able to discuss virginity in a way that is organic. I'm not sure if Peterfreund had always planned on making a statement about how casual sex has become among teenagers, but she was able to work it into her story without it feeling heavy handed. I like that this and the struggles Astrid has with her mother give more substance to the story.

I am so glad I finished "Rampant" when I did because the second book, "Ascendant", is coming out the 28th. Whether you are looking for a good paranormal book or just a fun read, I would definitely recommend this book. I know it sounds weird, but it is worth the risk!


  1. I completely agree. Rampant is one of my top five favorite novels of all time! I enjoyed it for the reasons you mentioned and more. I loved the scenery and feeling like I was in Rome and I thought Phil and Corey were great characters. Thanks for the review!

  2. Phil and Corey are fantastic characters! I totally agree with you there. I wonder if you could do a Rome tour based on "Rampant"?