Monday, 19 October 2009

Book review - Rampant by Diana Peterfreund

Astrid’s mother has always told stories of killer unicorns. These stories have gone from fun to embarrassing as Astrid grew up with her eccentric mother. But these stories turn out to be less myth than history. Astrid is a Llewelyn, one of the few families that produced unicorn hunters hundreds of years ago. The unicorns were supposedly hunted into extinction three hundred years ago, but an increasing number of sightings suggest a re-emergence. Astrid’s mother is thrilled, and packs her off to a cloister in Italy to train to continue the family tradition.

Rampant was enthralling and entertaining, a cleverly constructed fantasy. The writing and the characters deserve a special commendation. Astrid’s cousin Phil is bubbly and engaging, though perhaps a little naive. Her new friend Cory is determined and wilful, yet also too bloodthirsty. Each character has depth, not only multiple facets, but also reasons for these facets, events that have shaped the personalities. Astrid herself is interesting, though I would say too weak-willed. I can’t really understand how her mother could force her to go to Italy to kill unicorns if Astrid didn’t want to – surely most teenagers would be able to say no to that?

Of course, the aspect of virginity is interesting, especially when some interesting guys come on the scene. The use of mythology to illustrate the plight of the hunters is clever – some are eager to do war on the unicorns and some are very reluctant warriors. The unicorns themselves are of course more complicated than they first seem. All-in-all, an excellent adventure with romance, action, fantasy and a cast of memorable characters. I can’t wait for the next book.

My copy is a US edition, I don't think it's being printed here in the UK at the moment, but it's available from Amazon.


  1. Great review! Sounds like a great time reading it. I have it on my pile, can't wait to get to it!

  2. This sounds like a fascinating adventure story. Thanks for the great review!

  3. This sounds so good - can't wait to read it!

  4. Great review! I have this on my to be read shelf.