Beware the Killer Unicorns

Rampant by Diana Peterfreund

Rampantby Diana Peterfreund

Forget everything you ever knew about unicorns…

The sparkly, innocent creatures of lore are a myth. Real unicorns are venomous, man-eating monsters with huge fangs and razor-sharp horns. And they can only be killed by virgin descendants of Alexander the Great.

Fortunately, unicorns have been extinct for a hundred and fifty years.

Or not.

Astrid Llewelyn has always scoffed ather eccentric mother’s stories about killer unicorns. But when one of the monsters attacks her boyfriend in the woods – thereby ruining any chance of him taking her to prom – Astrid learns that unicorns are real and dangerous, and she has a family legacy to uphold. Her mother packs her off 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 is seems. Outside, the unicorns wait to attack. And within, Astrid faces other, unexpected threats: from 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… and a relationship that could jeopardize everything.

Unicorns: everyone knows about them. This mythical creature is often described as a horse with a single horn protruding from its forehead, often pure white in color. A unicorn is often portrayed as a beautiful, majestic creature that is gentle, yet fierce, and not born out of human fears (Marianna Mayer, The Unicorn and the Lake, quoted from Wikipedia). Their horns are known to neutralize poison, and in Harry Potter, anyone who drinks unicorn blood will gain eternal – albeit cursed – life. Even contemporary, non-speculative, literature uses unicorns as a symbol of goodness: in Francine Pascal’s Sweet Valley Twins series, the most popular girls in middle school were all a part of The Unicorn Club.

Unicorns: sweet, cuddly, and totally harmless mythological creatures, right?

Not in Astrid Llewelyn’s world. Diana Peterfreund tells us to forget everything we know about unicorns in the first book of her Killer Unicorns series, Rampant. Sixteen-year-old Astrid grew up believing that unicorns were venomous, man-eating beasts that only virgin descendants of Alexander the Great could hunt and kill, all thanks to her eccentric mother. Astrid tolerates all the unicorn talk just to entertain her mom’s whims, until her boyfriend is attacked by a rogue unicorn and is saved by her mom with a leftover unicorn antidote called The Remedy. Astrid’s life turns upside-down as Lilith, her mother, immediately sends her to Rome, to claim her birthright as a unicorn hunter. Resistance is futile for Astrid, and she arrives at the re-opened Cloisters of Ctesias with almost zero hunting knowledge and a desire to come back home. But as the training goes on, Astrid finds out that she not only has to learn how to kill a unicorn, but also to figure out the agenda of the other hunters and find out why the cloisters’ financial sponsor, Gordian, is acting suspicious, all while dealing with her growing attraction to an art student… and this last might be the most dangerous issue of all.

Because, you know, to hunt a unicorn, one must be a virgin. Click here to read the rest of the review.

Rating: [rating=4]

2010 Challenge Status:
* Book # 44 out of 100 for 2010

My copy: e-book, $9.99 from Amazon Kindle Store

Cover image: Indiebound
Blurb: Goodreads

→ Diana Peterfreund’s website