January 13, 2011

Ascendant (Diana Peterfreund) Review

SPOILER ALERT: If you have not read Rampant, there may be spoilers ahead.

Ascendant (Killer Unicorns, #2)
Publisher: HarperTeen (September 28, 2010)
Hardcover: 392 pages
Series: Killer Unicorns #2
Genre: YA Fantasy
Book from BEA Author Signing
From Goodreads. 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, by Diana Peterfreund, delves deeper into the lives of Unicorn Hunters and Astrid's hope to discover the secret to the Remedy. The second book in this series wrapped me up completely from the beginning, but in a different way than Rampant. The first book was captivating to me because of the unicorn folklore and bloody action scenes that left me breathless. This book was equally good, but in a very different way.

Astrid is left alone in Rome when Giovanni goes back to school in New York. She has the other hunters and Phil to keep her company, but she finds herself being smothered by their new patron and their strict rules. She is offered a position as a unicorn 'jailer' at Gordian headquarters. This job does not include a lot of hunting so Astrid is left to her thoughts. But the longer she says at Gordian, the more questions she has, and getting the answers proves more dangerous than she could have ever imagined.

I liked the new setting that Peterfreund explored in this book. I enjoyed getting to know the grounds of Gordian and was curious about the secrets it held. Also, the reemergence of a 'lost' character from Book One added an extra element of tension. And the unicorns! The rare einhorn species was a main focus at Gordian. I liked the precision and calculation that Astrid performed to gain the trust of these unknown creatures.

There was a lot less action in this book, but so many revelations. I love being inside Astrid's mind. She uses her brains and brawn for what she thinks are good causes. She is constantly torn between her heart and what she was meant to do. There are so many events that made this book amazing, I won't ruin them, but they did strengthen my love for these books and characters. I am hoping there is a number three in the near future.

Check out Diana Peterfreund's Website, Blog, and Twitter
My Review of Killer Unicorns #1: Rampant

*FTC Disclosure: I received this signed ARC copy from BEA. I do not receive payment of any kind in exchange for a review. I do not receive monetary compensation from any book links in my review.

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