Series: Killer Unicorns #2
Author: Diana Peterfreund
Pages: 392 (Hardcover)
Release Date: September 28, 2010
Purchase: Amazon•TBD (affiliate link)
Astrid Llewelyn is now a fully trained unicorn hunter, but she can't solve all her problems with just a bow and arrow. Her boyfriend, Giovanni, has decided to leave Rome, the Cloisters is in dire financial straits, her best friend's powers seem to be mysteriously disintegrating, and Astrid can't help but feel that school, home, and her hopes of becoming a scientist are nothing but impossible dreams.
So when she's given the opportunity to leave the Cloisters and put her skills to use as part of a scientific quest to discover the Remedy, Astrid leaps at the chance. Finally, she can have exactly what she want--or can she? At Gordian headquarters, deep in the French countryside, Astrid begins to question everything she thought she believed: her love for Giovanni, her loyalty to the Cloisters, and most of all her duty as a hunter. Should Astrid be saving the world from killer unicorns, or saving the unicorns from the world?
Ascendant was a pretty great sequel, although I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as Rampant. It picks up about a month after the previous book, and actually spans quite a bit of time. Astrid is still juggling her feelings about being a unicorn hunter. She knows that they’re dangerous and that she’s one of very few people who can fight them. But on the other hand, is killing them just to be rid of them the right thing to do? When an opportunity arises for her to work with unicorns without killing them, Astrid has a lot more to consider about her place in this world.
Ascendant does take a darker turn. The unicorns are out and causing havoc. There’s only the handful of girls in the Cloisters who are able to fight against them, but they can’t be everywhere at once. Especially since at any given time one or more of them are gravely injured. There’s also the matter of Cory not being able to hunt anymore, and Astrid simply not wanting to. Astrid also gets to see the mistreatment of unicorns up close which makes her decision to be a hunter even more confusing. Not to mention something major happens to her toward the end which will affect her for her entire life, most likely.
I don’t want to spoil anything about Ascendant since a lot does happen. Astrid finally gets to see a lab in action, although it turns out not to be what she expected at all. And yes, we do learn the main ingredient of the Remedy. It seems so obvious now! I also liked how the romance was handled here. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, but it felt realistic. The ending has me a little torn though. While it could be a good, open ending place without being too open, I feel like there’s a lot more than can be explored in future books. I certainly wouldn’t be opposed to more!