Sunday, January 2, 2011
One of the most original urban fantasy novels I've read. Diana Peterfreund swaps vampires for killer unicorns in this epic tale starring Astrid Llewellyn, a sixteen year old who always thought that her mother's stories about her unicorn hunting ancestors were just a sign of eccentricity.
Soon after she witnesses a unicorn attacking her boyfriend, she's shipped off to Italy to train as a unicorn hunter. It's not all fun and games, and there's one important caveat; Astrid's unicorn slaying powers are tied to her virginity. Cue a complicated relationship with cute art student Giovanni, not that Astrid needs any more problems!
The world building in this was phenomenal. Diana Peterfreund didn't just think up the idea of unicorns being man-eaters rather than happy sparkly creatures; she created a whole new set of mythology and even different unicorn species, from the tiny, cute, but nonetheless deadly Zhi to the enormous Karkadann.
It's not just the concept that makes this a great read; it's filled with witty prose and great characters, from Astrid's nutjob mother Lilith to unicorn-hating Cory, who regularly throws their fast-healing pet Zhi, Bonegrinder, out the window. Then there's Astrid herself, who transforms from a disbelieving girl to a fully-fledged huntress, with the archery skills to show for it.
Rampant is followed by Ascendant, which I just read and also adored; review coming soon!