By Diana Peterfreund
Sadly I did not love this book as much as I had hoped. Partly this is me, partly it is the book.
I had read the novella, Errant, so I thought I kinda knew what the story was going to be about. But Errant is set… I forget when, some time in the past. Rampant is not; it’s about a girl in modern America learning about unicorns. Which is fine, it was just a bit of a surprise. I had t read the blurb, deliberately; I didn’t want any spoilers since I figured it was going to be the sort of book I’d like anyway.
Killer unicorns? How can that not be awesome? That’s what it’s about, by the way. Unicorns are real and they hunt animals and people. Only certain people can hunt them in return. This is the learning-about-your-abilities book. If that’s your thing, feel free to ignore my whinging! Just go read it; it’s certainly enjoyable enough that I wouldn’t dissuade potential readers automatically.
Anyway, what I really had not expected was how much the book would be focussed in sex. Not having it, how people feel about you if you do or don’t, etc (do American teens really feel pressured to have sex before they leave high school??). It does make sense, given that Peterfreund has kept the virginity aspect for her unicorn hunters, but… it felt like it got in the way of what I was expecting, which was learning about unicorn hunting and dealing with that aspect of your nature. Which, yes, virginity is part of that. But there was a lot of going on dates and agonising which I guess just isn’t what I was interested in reading.
So I’m willing to agree that in that aspect, definitely a problem of my expectations. And I did like the discussion around rape, attitudes towards and reactions to, although the victim seemed to deal with it faster than I would expect. (Not that I want intense victiming either, necessarily.)
On the book’s side, I felt that the plot went a bit too fast sometimes; fast enough that things got a bit improbable (yes yes, around the killer unicorns bits) and too convenient. In the characters I especially found Astrid’s mother a bit much; a bit ridiculous.
For all its faults I will definitely read the sequel, Ascendant, at some point.