Book Review: Ascendant – Diana Peterfreund

Title: Ascendant
Author: Diana Peterfreund
ISBN: 9780061490026
Pages: 400
Release Date: September 28, 2010
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: Teen/YA, Fantasy
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Summary:

In this sequel to Rampant, Astrid is still living with her fellow unicorn hunters in Rome, but she is beginning to question her mission.  Is it really necessary to kill the unicorns, or can she find a way for unicorns and humans to live in peace?

Review:

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the first book in Diana Peterfreund’s Killer Unicorns series, Rampant, so I was very excited to pick up its sequel, Ascendant.  Ascendant starts right where Rampant left off, and plunges the reader right back into the trademark action and thrills of the first book.

Ascendant is one book that definitely does not suffer from the trademark middle book syndrome (the Killer Unicorns series is supposed to be a trilogy).  Though it is necessary to read Rampant first in order to understand what is going on and the mythology behind the books, Ascendant is a book that really can stand on its own two feet.  At the center of the novel is Astrid’s personal journey and her coming into her own.  Though she loves her unicorn hunting powers, she dislikes her work less and less as every day goes by.  She wonders if there is some way to protect unicorns and regular humans from each other, rather than having to kill the unicorns.

Astrid’s moral and ethical questions are at the center of this novel.  After all, there are plenty of deadly animals that are allowed to live in peace – why should unicorns be any different?  They are an endangered species after all.  Can humans and unicorns coexist, and if they can, what does that say about what Astrid has been doing?  Astrid begins to see the unicorns as more than just bloodthirsty mongrels intent on killing humans, and she is forced to reevaluate everything she knows because of that.

Peterfreund takes a daring leap about halfway through the book with Astrid’s character, and I really appreciated it.  It’s nice when authors take chances with their beloved characters, rather than leaving them stagnant because that’s what the readers have come to know.  It ensures that this series stays fresh and new.

Ascendant is a complicated and introspective book that really surprised me with its depth.  This is really a great series and I’m so glad I’ve read them.  It’s going to be a long wait until the third book in the series, but I highly recommend readers take the time to catch up on the first two books, if you haven’t already!

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Comments

  1. Glad to know there is no sophomore slump here. I have these books on my wish list.

  2. Glad to know there is no sophomore slump here. I have these books on my wish list.

  3. This series is definitely going on my TBR list.

  4. This series is definitely going on my TBR list.

  5. I find this series to be very interesting, and it’s good to hear that the second book doesn’t falter like so many second books do. I have not ever considered a world in which unicorns could be bloodthirsty and vicious, and this alone intrigues me. Add to that a protagonist that changes and grows so visibly from book to book, and this one sounds like something that I need to read! Thanks for the awesome review!

  6. I find this series to be very interesting, and it’s good to hear that the second book doesn’t falter like so many second books do. I have not ever considered a world in which unicorns could be bloodthirsty and vicious, and this alone intrigues me. Add to that a protagonist that changes and grows so visibly from book to book, and this one sounds like something that I need to read! Thanks for the awesome review!

  7. I can’t wait to read this one! I loved Rampant.

  8. I can’t wait to read this one! I loved Rampant.

  9. I haven’t heard of this series! Thank you for introducing me 🙂

  10. I haven’t heard of this series! Thank you for introducing me 🙂

  11. I really must read this book. I liked the first book and just keep forgetting about this one!

  12. I really must read this book. I liked the first book and just keep forgetting about this one!

  13. I really did quit enjoy Rampant, I always love a strong female character and I’m just starting to read Ascendant but ny the time you probably read this I will be done it! To anyone who is reading this and hasn’t read the book I’ve got 2 single words 1 sylible each…READ IT!!

  14. Anonymous says:

    I really did quit enjoy Rampant, I always love a strong female character and I’m just starting to read Ascendant but ny the time you probably read this I will be done it! To anyone who is reading this and hasn’t read the book I’ve got 2 single words 1 sylible each…READ IT!!

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