The sparkly, innocent creatures of lore are a myth. Real unicorns are venomous, man-eating monsters with huge fangs and razor-sharp horns. And they can only be killed by virgin descendants of Alexander the Great.
Fortunately, unicorns have been extinct for a hundred and fifty years.
Astrid Llewelyn has always scoffed at her eccentric mother's stories about killer unicorns. But when one of the monsters attacks her boyfriend in the woods — thereby ruining any chance of him taking her to prom — Astrid learns that unicorns are real and dangerous, and she has a family legacy to uphold. Her mother packs her off 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 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... and a relationship that could jeopardize everything.
First Impressions: Rampant's very unique sounding. You don't tend to come across novels featuring killer unicorns all too often. I was pretty excited to read it.
But while Rampant kept me interested, it didn't captivate me like I'd hoped it would. Rampant starts off with a bang, namely Astrid's crappy boyfriend being almost killed by a unicorn. (And good riddance) Astrid finally realises that the stories her mother's been telling her since birth are true. She's promptly shipped off to Italy because her mom's a unicorn obsessed eccentric. Her mom's got this wild idea that Astrid can become special and live up to her family name by joining the newly starting up group of unicorn hunters.
If you think Rampant's going to be all magical and sparkly, you're dead wrong. These unicorns are ferocious killers and the hunters don't have powers besides heightened senses. Which are cool and all, but killing unicorns gets really dangerous, with lots of injuries for all the poor hunters.
The hunters. Must be female, must be a virgin, must be descended from Alexander the Great in a specific family line. So there really isn't many girls who qualify. I think there's something like 10 girls? Maybe? This was a big problem I found with the book: I had the hardest time ever attempting to keep track who was who. The main hunters, Astrid, her cousin Phil, and a couple others are very distinct. But some I was so lost with; They've all got unusual names, which I find makes it even harder to differentiate characters.
So yes, the characters are interesting, but some get lost in the background. Astrid's strong and brave and Phil is courageous and stands up for what she believes in. Go girl power! Astrid's mother is a crazy woman who's demanding and forceful, and honestly, not likeable. She also pulls a 180 towards the end that's awfully abrupt. The being-a-virgin part is dealt with well, with some discussions on waiting and not doing it just because tossed in.
The setting's a plus, as Italy's made out to be gorgeous. Writing's done nice and smooth, although awfully descriptive and flowery. It was a little difficult to get into at first, but it's easily accustomed to and then it flows. I had some problems with some of the scenes though. It seemed lots of things were implied, and I'd have to backtrack and reread the passage to understand what was going on. It wasn't straight forward enough, and my poor brain couldn't handle that.
Final Impressions: Overall, an interesting take on unicorns. While I wasn't in love with it, it's worth the while to read. Some epic battles, strong characters, quite a bit of romance thrown in, all on the backdrop of beautiful Italy.
Add to Shelf: Ah, you could. I'm not too sure I will, but if you think dangerous unicorns are up your alley, then I'd say go for it. Remember though, it's hardcover.
Note This! Phil calls Astrid by many different nicknames, including Astroturf and Asteroid. I found that adorable and endearing! The two cousins are really close like sisters, and they have a wonderful relationship.