Review: Ascendant

TITLE: Ascendant (Killer Unicorns #2)
AUTHOR: Diana Peterfreund
PUBLICATION: 2010 by HarperTeen
FORMAT: Hardcover


Her best friend’s fading abilities, the financial problems of keeping the Cloisters running, and the strain of a long distance relationship are making Astrid’s life as a unicorn hunter complicated enough. However, the chance to work toward finding out the secret of the Remedy calls to her, a girl that still longed to be a savior and not a killer.


I pre-ordered this book so you think I would have read it right away, but no it has languished on my shelves until now. Why do I keep doing this with books? Although I’m glad that I re-read the first book before diving right into this one.

A part of me wrestles with the desire to go on my GoodReads account and lower the rating I gave Rampant because Ascendant proves to be a successful sequel. I was actually pretty surprised that it turned out to be so good. (I don’t think I have entirely recovered from Sphinx’s Queen…) Things happened that I didn’t expect in this book. Let me say it again: Ascendant is better than Rampant! I’m still trying to get over the shock.

I liked Astrid more in this book and I think it’s because she wasn’t spending most of her time wishing to lose her virginity as a way to get out of her life as a unicorn hunter. She was questioning her role and wanted to find a way to be the kind of person she was meant to be, how she could be happy with her talents. And I probably shouldn’t like Brandt, but oddly enough I do. I was wanting Astrid to cheat on Giovanni with him so badly. See? I have problems.

Homosexuality among the hunters is an interesting concept. I was reminded of Gladiatrix where the fighters afraid of pregnancy that would make them ineligible in the arena often turned toward each other for comfort. At any rate I didn’t really see that coming in this type of book either. I hope that doesn’t make me dense? It probably does but I don’t care.

I noticed there was a lot of details paid to the appearance of some of the girls in this book. Every time Cory’s hair could be mentioned it seemed that the reader was reminded of the fact that she had brown curls. It makes me wonder if someone complained about needing to know the color of her hair in the first book. The sudden influx of all these details makes it seem like a first book instead of a second. But thankfully it didn’t continue throughout because honestly that would have been annoying.

Peterfreund’s website states that there is currently no contract for a third book in the Killer Unicorn series. I am conflicted on this point. Part of me wouldn’t mind seeing what happens to Astrid, but another part is worried that after the fear of a plummet in quality that a third book would fulfill such a dread. It doesn’t stand quite so well as a conclusion because you are still left with questions, but a wonderful second book in a trilogy. So I need to suck it up, right? It would be nice to see what comes next in the story, but it didn’t end in such a cliffhanger way that I’m going to be dying to know what happens in the next scene.

If you read the first one and liked it, you have to read this book. I can’t stress this recommendation enough! Come on, readers! It’s killer unicorns, what’s not to love about that?


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