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Ascendant [Hardcover]

Diana Peterfreund
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: 11.05 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 392 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Teen; 1 edition (28 Sep 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061490024
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061490026
  • Product Dimensions: 20.9 x 14.8 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,415,940 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Hardcover. Pub Date: 2010 09 Pages: 392 Publisher: Harper The hunt for killer unicorns continues in this riveting sequel to-drinking Rampant.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too 6 Jan 2011
By TeensReadToo TOP 500 REVIEWER
In RAMPANT, Diana Peterfreund introduced us to the darker side of unicorns and Astrid, the unicorn hunter. In ASCENDANT, Astrid's adventures continue. Now a fully trained unicorn hunter, Astrid is given the opportunity to leave the Cloisters and go to France to help in discovering the Remedy.

Unfortunately, leaving Rome doesn't solve Astrid's problems.

She is put in charge of a herd of Einhorns and discovers there's more to the unicorns than she thought. This revelation makes her question many things in her life; her love for Giovanni, her loyalty to the Cloisters, and her duty as a hunter.

There weren't as many instances of sexual tension and passion as in the first book, and I liked ASCENDANT more because of this. The introduction of new characters and the further development of previously introduced characters added to the story and made for an enjoyable read.

I look forward to more from Peterfreund in the future.

Reviewed by: Joan Stradling
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good but with a few problems 1 Jun 2011
By ariadne
presents a series starring unicorns as you've never seen them before. I tried giving them to my friend who's obsessed with unicorns...but she refused to read them as they conflict with her world view of unicorns as pure and beautiful. Or in other words, lame horses with spikes on their heads. Anyway, this series features killer unicorns, and the girls who are pledged to destroy them. These books are interesting both because of the original stance taken on the role of unicorns, or the clear amounts of research the authors done into exploring different folk lore surrounding unicorns. Another positive is the amount of in-fighting within the organisation which felt realistic in a situation where no one is fully aware of their role yet. The downside is the loose link with the Catholic Church as well as a French pharmaceutical company. Neither of these organisations seemed to be either necessary or a logical affiliation for a unicorn company to be part of. In addition, it still seems unclear why unicorn hunting goes down through families when you have to be a virgin and many of the girls would die in battle. I also find the hierarchical system a bit off. Another downside is that the character development in these books is less strong than it should be-after 800 pages I should know these characters well, or at least care about them. Instead I mainly relate to the main character and many of the side characters remain two-dimensional, or like props. However, this series is enjoyable, has a very interesting plot line and represents an original interpretation of unicorns and their role in society.
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Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  31 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An AMAZING sequel! 11 Oct 2010
By Katie Dahlberg - Published on Amazon.com
Ascendant blew me away. I didn't think it could be any better than the first, but wow. Everything was heightened and way more intense- the sexual tension, the action, the emotion. I finished this book with a heavy breath.

As much as I absolutely loved Rampant, we didn't get much of a change of scenery outside of the Cloisters. In Ascendant, Astrid steps away from Rome and finds new challenges with the unicorns in a completely new environment. We're introduced to new characters and we learn more about another species of unicorn that makes Astrid question everything about who and what she is. The ass-kicking action is still very much present, but I appreciated more of the conflicted characters this time around.

One thing that puts me on the fence, that might make me question just how incredible this second book in the series really is, is the possibility of there not being a third book. From what I've heard, there are no plans for another book yet. Yet. (And this could also just be a rumor!) Which means that I could be freaking out over nothing. But leaving the series to end like this? That's even more brutal than some of the gory scenes that Diana writes so magnificently. It was a perfect and intense ending, but it is no way satisfying as a conclusion to the series. Nothing resolved, no questions answered, issues left lingering between the pages. Diana, if you're reading this, for the sake of our sanity, please write more!

But seriously, Ascendant is a mind-blowing sequel and I applaud Diana for hooking me so deeply. I devoured the entire book in only a few short hours because I literally could not put it down. If you're a fan of the first, do not waste any time reading this when it comes out. I absolutely loved it!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most epic books ever... 29 Sep 2010
By Sarah Woodard - Published on Amazon.com
I adore Unicorns, and Peterfreund's kick ass hybrid of killer unicorns are even more epic. After reading Rampant, I was so pumped for Ascendant. Astrid came back just as awesome. She was just as brave and strong as the first book, but now she has a fraction of doubt about what she is doing. She doesn't have time to see her mother or go to school, which made me sad. She is one of the few YA characters that though past the next month and had a plan for what she wanted to do in life. That is until, she get the offer of a lifetime... a job working at Gordian Pharmaceuticals. I loved that it allowed her to make her own decisions in this book and not just what the Cloisters wanted. Also that, you got to see some issues that the world was dealing with, because of the return of the unicorns.
The opinion that I had about Gordian, changed at the beginning, because Isabeau seemed to be a such a sweet and caring person that wanted to no longer be tied to what happened in the previous book, but she turned out to be not the person that she seemed. I hated the abuse on the einhorns and it kept on making me cry like a baby. The plot left me with so many questions about Peterfreund's magical world and the last few chapters were so hard to read. I really hope that there will be a third book. Peterfreund's writing was stunning and ingenious. I could picture every move on the battle scene. I loved Ascendant, more then Rampant. It was unpredictable and ingenious. I think that you should start this series soon, I am sure that you will not regret it.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ascendant [...] 29 Nov 2010
By Caitlin - Published on Amazon.com
I LOVED Rampant, so very, very much. It had kick ass girls, awesome killer unicorns, and didn't stray away from hard subjects. The main characters would talk both about the right time to have sex and the morality of killing an endangered species. Even if said species was eating a couple of humans.

So, needless to say, I was very excited for this book. And, while I was in no way disappointed with it, the book as a whole was a little melancholy. I guess the first book was too, but as it ended with a big triumph for the girls, it didn't feel that sad at the end. The best that can be said for the ending of Ascendant is that it ended with hope.

Also, not a cliffhanger. There are too many cliffhangers out there, and as I've mentioned before, I'm not that big a fan.

Ascendant deals more with the reality of the day-to-day lives for our band of merry, unicorn slaying, nuns. Constantly having their lives in danger, being unable to live their lives without scrutiny, not knowing all that much about what they are or where their powers come from. All while trying to figure out normal adolescent things like their sexual identity and what their true passions are.

Astrid starts the story off in much the same place that we left her. In a tree, waiting to kill unicorns. It isn't long before the guilt of killing the unicorns is upsetting enough for Astrid to leave the cloisters in Italy. Thus she ends up in the French country side working for the company that betrayed her, taking care of a pack of captive unicorns, and trying to find out more about the Remedy people are supposedly able to make from Unicorns.

First of all, I'm just going to say that what the secret ingredient in the Remedy turned out to be was awesome and fit perfectly with the theme....I can't say anymore about it.

One of my favourite things about Rampant was the times the girls would all sit around and discuss why they had decided to not have sex yet. I thought the frank discussions about sex and adolescence, and the whole set up of the current society's courting (or whatever) system was the glue that held the whole, virgins-hunting-killer-unicorns, plot together. It was always honest and showcased possibly the only place where all the girls were on the same foot. They were all virgins. For one reason or another.

I was afraid, since we'd already had these great discussions, that we wouldn't have any of this in Ascendant. But we do. In so many more and different ways that it kept the "glue" part without sounding at all repetitive. It was wonderfully done.

In this book we get a look at more traditionally western Unicorns. And though they are still man-eating beasts Astrid struggles with seeing them as pets, or even friends and yet being at the ready to slaughter them whenever it is warranted.

The one thing I didn't like was the lack of good male characters. The two males who seem respectable are barely in this book, and the one male we do get a lot of is sleezy and...well...I just don't like the guy. And the other males we get brief glimpses of aren't much better. As I mentioned in my review of Wildthorn, I always enjoy books that have an awesome cast of female characters, but I like strong male characters as well.

Ascendant was an action-packed, emotionally-draining tale of morality and family and discovering the truth of one's self....and man-eating unicorns. I loved it. But I'm also eager for the next one, with the hope that it delivers a happy ending...if everything ends badly, then by all means, Diana, take your time. I like the characters too much to see more bad things happen to them.

Team Unicorn All the Way!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very in keeping with Rampant 29 Nov 2010
By Christina (A Reader of Fictions) - Published on Amazon.com
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.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Killer unicorns have done it again 10 Nov 2010
By titania86 - Published on Amazon.com
Astrid Llewelyn is a reluctant unicorn hunter. There aren't very many due to the fact that only descendants of Alexander the Great that are virgins are eligible for the task. Recruitment has been slow since many potential hunters make themselves ineligible for the job to avoid the danger that is being advertised in the news, mostly by Astrid's attention seeking mother. Astrid lives in a nunnery in Italy with her fellow hunters. She would rather be in a lab, trying to find a way to replicate the Remedy, a powerful cure for poisons and sickness. An opportunity arrises for her to continue her education when Gordian Pharmaceuticals, now led by Isabeau Jaeger, offers her a position guarding a herd of einhorns as well as tutoring, new clothes, a room in a mansion, and a way out of putting her life in danger every day. She accepts the job, but it's not as easy as it seems. Her ex-boyfriend, Brandt, is around her all the time, distracting her from Giovanni, her boyfriend going to school in New York. She also finds that her work with the einhorns isn't so easy when experiments are done on them as she grows to know and like them. Should she walk away and not be involved with the torture of these animals? Is it any different from killing them like she's been doing?

I was afraid that Ascendant would be a lackluster sequel to Rampant because the first book was so dynamic and compelling that maybe it was too hard to follow up with something better. I was pleasantly surprised and proven to be wrong. Ascendant turned out to be almost as good as the first. It has much more moral complexity than the first book. On one hand, unicorns are violent, wild animals that attack and kill humans. Unicorn hunters are people's only protection. On the other hand, unicorns are an endangered species and, as with all animals, they are aggressive because they feel threatened. There is also the added issue of animal testing and at what point is it considered unnecessary torture.

The first book pretty much stayed in Italy and the cloister where Astrid lives. This book widens that view to other countries and gives a nice look at how killer unicorns are effecting the rest of the world. Instead of being mocked or ignored, the hunters are finally being taken seriously after people witness the devastation that can happen when the creatures go unchecked. I also like the change of scenery to France with Gordian Pharmaceuticals.

Astrid is an excellent, strong female protagonist. Even though she makes mistakes that sometimes end up hurting her friends, she is still a sympathetic and relatable character. Although she is physically strong, she is also intelligent and has ambitions beyond slaying unicorns. One of my favorite things about her is that even though she's a peaceful person, she feels that it's her obligation to stay a hunter and fight to save human lives. It's easy to choose the selfish route, but Astrid stays a hunter despite her doubts. After reading books like Hush, Hush, Fallen, and Nightshade, it's refreshing to read a book about a girl who isn't defined by her relationship with a man and doesn't let men overpower her.

The pacing of the first half is a bit slow, with a lot of Astrid's internal struggle to figure out who to trust and what is right and wrong. It was still enjoyable to read, but it went on a little bit too long for me. About three quarters through the book, a bombshell is dropped that really shocked me. After that I devoured the rest of the book quickly and I'm eager to read more. I've heard that a third book isn't planned at the moment, but I really really hope that another one gets written because I need to know what happens next. I highly recommend this series to anyone.
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