Review: Rampant by Diana Peterfreund

RampantRampant by Diana Peterfreund
Read: February 10 – February 16, 2013
Personal read, 402 pages.

Book Blurb: 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.

Or not.

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.

My Opinion: Can we talk about the cover for a second? This is a book about killer unicorns, right? So shouldn’t the cover be dominated by killer unicorns, instead of the generic young woman, the shiny sword, and if you look closely, a teeny tiny little unicorn that may or may not be killer? Young adult covers these days. If I had seen this book in a bookstore, I would not have been drawn to the cover at all. I saw it on Goodreads on a list, and I thought I would check it out.

Rampant was a typical young-adult novel. The idea of killer unicorns was really excellent in theory, but it lacked in execution. The world-building is lacking, the history of the unicorns and the cloisters and the hunters before Astrid’s group is lacking. There was a lot of “We can’t find records for that” or “We don’t know why” and it was just really weak. Without that plot element to infuse new life into the standard “destiny/romance” plot, it was really just like every other young-adult novel out there.

Astrid is angsty. She is shallow. Though I will say it is refreshing to see a teenager acting selfishly and not just accepting her fate and destiny with open arms. Phil was a little too uneven for my tastes. And I felt like the rest of the characters were not very well-developed at all.

Also, we have hunters from all over the world, and they all conveniently speak English. This was frustrating to me. Does anyone else remember Buffy, in the final season when they had the Chinese slayer potential? It made it seem more real because there was a language barrier, just like there would be in real life. I know it translates easier to television than it does to print, but I would have liked to see at least one of the hunters have a language problem.

For a book about killer unicorns, Rampant is light on the killer unicorns. It is also light on the training of the hunters. Most of it revolves around the romance aspect. Or the lack of romance, since dating is not allowed.

The plot moved slowly and raised a lot of questions I would like to see answered, but there was no indication of it near the end of the book. The third book in the trilogy hasn’t even been picked up for publication yet, which says something to me.

Bottom Line: An average young adult novel. Nothing new, nothing exciting. I might pick up the second book, but I am in no rush.


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