Review: Ascendant

I received this book for free from ALA in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: AscendantAscendant by Diana Peterfreund
Series: Killer Unicorns #2
Published by HarperTeen on September 28, 2010
Genres: Adventure, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 392
Format: ARC
Source: ALA

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?

Once again, I enjoyed the book about vicious, man-eating unicorns, although perhaps slightly less than I liked the first one. This is not because this one is any less good, but because it is a lot less happy than the prior book. The first book had its share of injuries, violence and tough issues, but this one has very little happy occurrences to balance the badness. Nonetheless, all the pain felt necessary and true.

The issues that Astrid struggled with are back, but she cannot continue to waver. She deals with her relationship with Giovanni, which becomes even more questionable with the long distance element and the reappearance of Brandt. She also becomes increasingly unsure about whether unicorn hunting is a good thing and whether killing unicorns is truly justified by the human lives that will be saved. Family issues must be dealt with as well, from her absent father to her megalomaniac mother.

Ascendant is a good sequel and hopefully not the end of the series. I think there is room for more, although the ending of this book could conceivably end the series. Hopefully not for Astrid’s sake. Ascendant came out yesterday so check it out (after reading Rampant, of course)!

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