Saturday, October 24, 2009

Book Review: Rampant by Diana Peterfreund

Astrid has spent her whole life thinking her mom is crazy. I mean, come on... unicorns are real? And not only real, but venemous, fanged, man-eating monsters? Monsters that Astrid, and every other girl who's a descendent of Alexander the Great, was born to fight in order to protect the human race? Right.

Until the night she's baby-sitting, and her boyfriend Brandt (who it turns out is kind of a jerk, but anyway) comes over. The two sneak out to the woods for some quality make-out time - except their evening is interrupted by a small, white shaggy creature with one horn that attacks and gores Brandt before vanishing into the woods. Frantic, Astrid calls her mother, the one person who's equipped to deal with a unicorn attack. Calm under pressure, Astrid's mom uses the last of her Remedy (a top-secret potion for healing unicorn wounds - too bad the formula's been lost for centuries) and makes up a story about a rabid goat that appeases the paramedics.

After the attack, Astrid is forced to admit that her mom isn't crazy, just crazy-obsessed. And when her mom is contacted by a mysterious man named Cornelius telling her that the unicorn-fighting Order of the Lioness is being restored in Rome, Astrid barely has time to protest that she's not really interested in becoming a unicorn-fighting warrior before she finds herself packed off to Italy. Thankfully, Astrid's cousin Phil (short for Phillipa) joins her, followed by a trickle of other girls arriving at the Cloisters of Ctesias (Astrid's new home) to join the ranks of unicorn fighters.

Dealing with her newfound powers of unicorn fighting speed and strength (which, oddly enough, only manifest when unicorns are near), training with ancient weapons, dealing with a weird roommate, and fighting off the affections of the house unicorn, Bonegrinder (who loves the girls), and figuring out how to get home and get out of hunting unicorns aren't all the problems Astrid has to deal with, though. When she and Phillipa run into a couple of super-cute American art students studying in Rome, sparks fly- Giovanni is the first boy who's ever treated Astrid like he wants more than just one thing from her. Too bad part of being a unicorn hunter is that boys are seriously off-limits.

If you're a fan of Buffy, Katniss, Katsa, or any other seriously rockin' awesome girls, you'll love Astrid the Warrior. A girl who refuses to allow herself to become a slave to her own fate, she takes her destiny firmly in her own hands, shaping it instead of letting it shape her. This is a fun, feisty read stuffed full of action, adventure, a bit of romance, and, of course, bloody killer unicorns. Check out Rampant @ the library!

(who can't wait to start the new Maggie Stiefvater book, Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie, which promises to be just as faerie-tastic as Lament!)

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