Series: Killer Unicorns #1
Author: Diana Peterfreund
Pages: 402 (Hardcover)
Release Date: August 25, 2009
Purchase: Amazon•TBD (affiliate link)
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.
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.
Even though I am a huge fan of fluffy, sparkly unicorns who poop rainbows and butterflies, I loved Rampant, where the unicorns are vicious and venomous! Yep, killer unicorns! Astrid has grown up being told tales of their family’s history in fighting these terrible beasts, but she never believed it. At least until one night, a goat sized unicorn impales her boyfriend in the woods and the only person she can think to help is her mother. Apparently, unicorns aren’t extinct and now it’s time for Astrid to claim her birthright as a unicorn hunter whether she likes it or not.
Rampant was not what I was expecting at all, but in a good way! It was much more exciting and violent! Not that violence is a good thing, but there were several battle scenes between the hunters and the unicorns to keep the pace going. And the author does not shy away from injuries! Although I did have to wonder how no regular humans happened to stumble upon these fights when they’re being held out in the open? Teenage girls with bows and blades aren’t exactly a common sight.
Rampant also surprised me with its frank discussions about sex, even from the very beginning. Unicorn hunters are all women, and in order to be hunters they have to remain virgins. Yes, that sounds incredibly sexist, but Astrid thinks so too! She questions this strange requirement and considers having sex just to escape her destiny. This also brought up questions about why virginity is such a big deal, especially for girls, and the double standards surrounding it. There’s also a part that focuses on rape and what constitutes it, even though there’s really no grey area, even if some people try to act like there is. Which is sad. But an important point to bring up.
So, Rampant is definitely not all sunshine and rainbows. Astrid and the other girls have a mission to save humanity from killer beasts. Although at some points it seemed like the unicorns aren’t all bad, and there’s some pretty crappy humans thrown in the mix, messing with their lives. The ending definitely left me craving more, as it’s clear that the girls may have won this battle, but there’s certainly more strangeness out there.