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Ascendant Hardcover – 28 Sep 2010

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 392 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Teen; 1 edition (28 Sept. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061490024
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061490026
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 3.2 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,853,548 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

Tired of Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Try Astrid the Unicorn Hunter. -- Locus

Praise for Rampant: "With an atmospheric setting, personable ensemble cast and some reasoned discussions about virginity, this gripping page-turner evokes the same grrl-power spirit as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, packed with action, mystery and a complex and intriguing mythology." -- Publishers Weekly

Praise for Rampant: "Tired of Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Try Astrid the Unicorn Hunter."--Locus

In this thrilling sequel to Peterfreund's Rampant...the strong yet vulnerable heroine, compelling conflicts, and exquisite settings should find a voracious audience in those familiar with the first installment.--Publishers Weekly

Praise for Rampant: "This gripping page-turner evokes the same grrl-power spirit as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, packed with action, mystery and a complex and intriguing mythology."--Publishers Weekly

"Peterfreund is sure to gain a stronger following with Ascendant, and fans will eagerly await further titles in the series."--School Library Journal

"Astrid is painted with a strong brush."--ALA Booklist

"For those teens interested in different perspectives on unicorn lore and who like action-packed fantasy, this will be a sure bet. "--Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)

"Ascendant is fast paced, fresh and engrossing--plus it has killer unicorns, what could be better? I love this book!"--Carrie Ryan, New York Times bestselling author of The Forest of Hands and Teeth and The Dead-Tossed WavesCarrie Ryan, New York Times bestselling author of The Forest of Hands and Teeth & The Dead-Tossed Waves

"In this thrilling sequel to Peterfreund's Rampant...the strong yet vulnerable heroine, compelling conflicts, and exquisite settings should find a voracious audience."--Publishers Weekly

"I was riveted by Ascendant. It's not only about killer unicorns; it's also about finding the courage to make tough decisions--and to be true to yourself. I think Astrid rocks!"--Malinda Lo, author of ASH

In this thrilling sequel to Peterfreund s Rampant...the strong yet vulnerable heroine, compelling conflicts, and exquisite settings should find a voracious audience. --Publishers Weekly"

For those teens interested in different perspectives on unicorn lore and who like action-packed fantasy, this will be a sure bet. --Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)"

Ascendant is fast paced, fresh and engrossing plus it has killer unicorns, what could be better? I love this book! --Carrie Ryan, New York Times bestselling author of The Forest of Hands and Teeth and The Dead-Tossed WavesCarrie Ryan, New York Times bestselling author of The Forest of Hands and Teeth & The Dead-Tossed Waves"

I was riveted by Ascendant. It s not only about killer unicorns; it s also about finding the courage to make tough decisions and to be true to yourself. I think Astrid rocks! --Malinda Lo, author of ASH"

Astrid is painted with a strong brush. --ALA Booklist"

Praise for Rampant: Tired of Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Try Astrid the Unicorn Hunter. --Locus"

Praise for Rampant: This gripping page-turner evokes the same grrl-power spirit as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, packed with action, mystery and a complex and intriguing mythology. --Publishers Weekly"

About the Author

Diana Peterfreund is the author of many books for adults and children, including the critically acclaimed For Darkness Shows the Stars and Across a Star-Swept Sea. She lives with her family outside Washington, DC, in a house full of bookshelves, and is always on the lookout for lost cities or stray rocket ships.

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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover
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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars 42 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! 29 April 2015
By Shawna Svoboda - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am a huge unicorn fan. (Even have a tattoo.) I have read everything I could get my hands on referring to unicorn lore.
I got the first book out of a bargain bin because it had a unicorn it. Turned out to be well written and so interesting to see them in a different light. I liked the book so much, had to purchase the second one. Was not disappointed. Except for the ending. Really would like to see another book. And the bits of history and lore at the end of the first book....So cool. Thanks for something new. I have always loved unicorns. I thought looking at them as killers would change that. All it did was make me like them more. They may only be lore or made up, but these books made me respect them in a way other stories couldn't do. Thank you. Renewed my interest in doing more research.
5.0 out of 5 stars I Want MORE! 11 Mar. 2013
By OpheliasOwn - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Diana Peterfreund's first unicorn novel was amazing. Her sequel, Ascendant, was just as good, but took some surprising twists. It took the life of Astrid, a unicorn hunter, in a new direction. Since unicorns are no longer sweet, sparkly myths with this series, we see Astrid struggle with her role as a hunter of these terrifying and majestic creatures and an admirer of the animals they really are.

Astrid continues to live in the Cloisters and hunt with the other girls, but things aren't progressing well. They are having trouble finding new recruits, and the Cloisters becomes a focus of attention for both the world at large, once people finally realize unicorns are real and deadly, and the Catholic church, from whom the convent they live in comes from. Astrid's mother Lilith has been in her glory touring talk shows and raising awareness about unicorns (and embellishing her own and her family's role in the unicorn world). Meanwhile the girls fight the deadly fight every day. When one girl gets sick and loses her hunter powers, Astrid agrees to go to England with her for protection. Before she goes to England, though, she stops in France to pursue a lead on the boy who raped her cousin Phil (Philippa) and disqualified her from being a hunter.

Once in France, Astrid quickly finds out she wasn't following the boy who hurt Phil, but rather her ex-boyfriend, the one her mother saved with the last of the world's Remedy (anti-unicorn). Brandt is still the guy who spread rumors about her in her high school, but she can't help but be drawn to him. When he takes her to the pharmaceutical lab that has been studying the unicorns (and tried to kill the hunters), she finds it is being run in a new way since the guy who plotted against the hunters was gored to death by a unicorn. Now his estranged wife is running the lab, and she wants Astrid to stay and manage their unicorn herd. Astrid agrees, but she quickly realizes the job isn't what she thought. When a baby unicorn is born right in front of her, Astrid hides it from the scientists, but they find out about her secret. Unable to bear the thought of what they will do to the baby, Astrid abandons the lab to return to the Cloisters. It is there she discovers the Cloisters is falling apart and they are down hunters. With only four working hunters, things quickly become very dangerous for Astrid. But she can't stop thinking about the herd she left behind. With unicorns in her head, things can quickly go downhill for Astrid. Will she survive the most dangerous job in the world?

This was a very interesting sequel, but it took some turns I was surprised by. Although the first book had some dark and gritty details, I wouldn't qualify it an overwhelmingly "dark" book. But this story got very disturbing. The descriptions of the treatment of the unicorns at the lab was almost too much to bear at times. When the secret of the Remedy is revealed, it is a plot twist I totally did not see coming, and am kind of stunned by! I was actually taken aback by some of the twists in this story, but they kept me reading! Sometimes the story seemed a little lost between "chunks", but overall it was a very intriguing follow-up.

Like the first book, I would probably give this to an older student, in particular one interested in fantasy and mythology. The history behind the hunters is really interesting, but my concern is that all the elements are never revealed. There are always gaps to the history and the story that are never fully explained. They don't keep you from understanding the story, and maybe they will be revealed in another book, but I wish they weren't given so sparingly. I would have like to have the full picture. In all, though, great sequel! Who can resist fanged, poisonous, flesh-eating unicorns?!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Review of Ascendant by Diana Peterfreund 13 Oct. 2010
By ConsumedbyBooks - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Upon hearing the words killer unicorn, I would imagine that most people would react one of two ways: "Ooo, blood and guts!" or "What the heck?!?!" In the first book of the Killer Unicorn series, Rampant, Peterfreund proved that she could provide both of these elements. While I loved the overarching themes and conflicts in Ascendant, I had issues with a few of the smaller details. If you want to read Ascendant, then get ready, because here you will find plot twists galore.

If you read Ascedant, get ready for plot twists, because they are packed in like woah. However, if I'm being honest, I feel conflicted. For me, the majority of Ascendant was wonderful. Yet int the last hundred pages or so, the reader is hit with a lot of major plot points. I love how everything turned out and the messages that came across. However, it did feel a tiny bit rushed, and not all of the characters felt genuine to me by the end.

A lot of things that I loved about Rampant remained just as awesome in Ascendant, like Astrid. I loved that sexuality was still an important part of the story. Not only did I appreciate Peterfreund's honesty about how difficult trans-Atlantic relationship can be (because I was in once, and they aren't easy), but I loved seeing a bit more of Cory. I even thought one element of the story became better! In my review of Rampant, I mentioned that the writing felt a bit over the top at times. While it still had its clumsy moments in Ascendant, it felt a lot more polished to me.

I think the strongest aspect of Ascendant is the ending, by a long shot. Maybe I'm the only one who read it this way, but I felt that Ascendant is a work for people who love the natural world and all that it has to offer, told through a tale of mythical beasts. Despite my complaints, I really did think Ascendant was fantastic. I look forward to seeing whether or not there will be any more books in this series, and if so, where the story goes.
4.0 out of 5 stars Above the rest 7 Oct. 2010
By Paige - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Also appears on The Screaming Nitpicker.

In the year since she was first attacked by a unicorn, much has changed with Astrid Llewelyn. She's become a trained unicorn hunter, gotten a great boyfriend, made friends with her fellow hunters, and saved the lives of countless people from killer unicorns. As unicorn sightings and attacks become more common, the changes in her life continue. Her cousin Phil is trying to get unicorns declared an endangered species while her mother is trying to glorify the hunters' existence by touring the television circuit; Giovanni is going back to America to go to college; the Cloisters is running out of money; Cory's powers are suddenly disappearing with no known cause; and Astrid is questioning all of the unicorn-killing she's been doing. When an offer comes along to stop killing unicorns and instead guard them for Gordian Pharmaceuticals, she jumps to accept it. While acting as the unicorn guard and dealing with life at Gordian, she comes to asks herself who needs the protection more: the unicorns or the humans.

I was a little worried about this book when I picked it up. I'd read a review of it at my favorite book review site and they didn't have very kind words for it, but because I thought Rampant, the first and previous book in the killer unicorn series, was great and the idea of murderous unicorns was awesome, I still wanted to give it a chance. I thought it was better than the reviewers said it was, but I still agree with many of the issues they had with Ascendant.

This book is incredibly introspective and much of the conflict is inner instead of outer- it was a nice break from the nonstop action or trying-to-be-action-and-failing action I see in most novels. A little inner conflict is great. Astrid is growing as a person and her relationships with almost every character are changing in some way while we discover more about the hunters' powers. One of the best parts of the book happened about three-fourths of the way through, when the powers that came with being a unicorn hunter became even more important (I will not talk about why because that would be a superspoiler, but trust me, it's good). Her most important growth occurs after this incident and watching her try to recover was hard, but I was so entranced that I couldn't stop reading.

At one point in this book, my eyes misted up, but I didn't cry. I will not spoil the event, but if development of those involved had been better, I have no doubt that it would have had me bawling. That's the difficult part of having so many hunters: it's hard to get development for everyone in, so when something happens to them, it's a little harder to feel for them because you didn't get to know them as well as you did others. I had to put the book down for a minute so that any tears that might have come wouldn't have gotten on the pages and ruined them.

If you tried to make me count how many times I rolled my eyes at Astrid and wanted to knock some sense into her, I would lose count quickly. But this is part of Astrid's charm because she's a human being. She has her ups and downs, she screws up and suffers the repercussions of her actions, and she's not perfect. She is just like any other person and even though she irritates me, I would rather have a heroine that makes mistakes and learns from them than someone who never learns or never makes mistakes at all. Characters like that are too perfect and Astrid is anything but perfect.

This book left many subplots unresolved like Cory's illness and the search for Seth, Phil's rapist from the previous book, among other things. At the moment, Diana isn't signed for a third killer unicorn book and (according to one rumor I heard, so I won't put much stock into it) she didn't realize this until she was nearly done with Ascendant. This could explain why there are so many unresolved problems, but even if she'd been signed for a third book, it was a little sloppy to leave so many open plot lines behind. It's fine for one major plot line to be unresolved when there's going to be a sequel, but leaving behind as many as this, sequel or no, was not a good idea.

There's one other bit that is very unclear, but due to the level of spoilerage there would be if I talked about it, I won't. I will tell you that it's at the end of the book and when you reach that point, I'm sure you'll recognize exactly what I'm talking about.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, but the number of unresolved plot lines, combined with the likelihood that a sequel won't be coming any time soon, takes it down at notch. Honestly, I'm being too soft on this. I should be giving this three stars, but I liked it so much that I was willing to give one back. If a sequel does come, I hope it's able to clear up all of my unanswered questions and make that last thing I mentioned much clearer because I don't get it!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Characters with integrity, intense suspense 25 Oct. 2011
By C.Warhammer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love how true to life this "fantasy" is- with characters dealing with heavy subjects I remember struggling with when I was that age (well, I never had to deal with killer unicorns but as a nurse, I've struggled with life and death, personal desires vs duty.) I remember struggles with my conscious on "how far to go" with boys when dating and the confusion of emotions when life throws you curve balls. The book dealt with intimate subjects with amazing honesty and characters I've fallen in love with. The author wrestled with such lofty subjects as honor, duty, courage, doubt, despair and hope without ever being "preachy". Life doesn't often tie up all loose ends but I love, respect and admire what Diana Peterfreund's imagination has done! I certainly think the author has more story to tell with them if she wants with no question of it beating a dead horse (or dead unicorn?) But Diana, can you tell a nail-biting story! And I don't even bite my nails. Thank you for sharing!
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