Ascendant (Killer Unicorns #2) by Diana Peterfreund
Now a fully trained unicorn hunter, Astrid Llewelyn is learning that she can’t solve all her problems with a bow and arrow. Her boyfriend has left Rome, the Cloisters is in dire financial straits, her best friend’s powers are mysteriously disintegrating, and her hope of becoming a scientist seems to be nothing but an impossible dream.
So when she’s given the opportunity to leave the Cloisters and use her skills as part of a scientific quest to discover the Remedy, Astrid leaps at the chance. Finally, she can have exactly what she wants—or can she? At Gordian headquarters deep in France, Astrid begins to question everything she had 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 unicorns from the world?
After reading and loving Rampant, I was beyond excited to have a chance to read this one early. Luckily, it was just as exciting and original as it's prequel.
Astrid was back and better than ever. She was the same kick butt main character I remembered from the first book. From the beginning, Astrid always stood up for what she believed in. As a unicorn hunter, she was brave and strong, and even ruthless at times. In Ascendant she is finally starting to wonder if unicorn hunting is really what she's meant to be doing. She never sees her mother or friends back home, and she has no time for an education. When she runs into her ex-boyfriend in Paris, she is offered a whole new chance at life. Working at Gordian Pharmaceuticals.
The new twist involving Gordian was interesting and made me rethink a lot of my opinions of them from Rampant. Isabeau was a sweet and caring woman who actually wanted the best for Astrid, even if her actions were questionable. Isabeau was determined to discover the Remedy no matter what, and I really didn't agree with her cruel testing on unicorns and her other dubious activities that are revealed in the end. A lot of the characters change in this novel, and you learn a lot more about Astrid's family history.
Ascendant went in a completely different direction than I was expecting, but I was glued to the pages every minute I could spare. I loved watching Astrid's relationship with the Gordian einhorns grow stronger and at times I even cried at how horribly they were treated. The last few chapters will have you on the edge of your seat, gripping the pages, it was so intense and revealing.
Astrid faces a lot of new challenges and her relationship with Giovanni is tested. This is hard to review because so much happens that I don't want to spoil, but all I can say is this is one exciting and gripping novel and Astrid is forced to change a lot by the end. I am dying for a third Killer Unicorns book- this series never ceases to draw me in and keep me glued to the pages. If you haven't already, definitely read Rampant before Ascendant, you'll be completely lost otherwise!
Overall: 4.5 out of 5 stars
September 28, 2010/HarperTeen/382 Pages/Young Adult/Book Two