Reading Level: Young Adult
Paperback: 402 Pages
Publisher: HarperTeen 8/25/09
I was extremely hesitant about reading this book. I remember all the hype from last year and just shrugged it off. I got an e-copy of it at BEA 2009, but never read it. The whole idea of killer unicorns seemed... ridiculous. Well I was ridiculous, because this book was amazingly good!
At BEA 2010, the line for the sequel reached epic proportions! But I still fought it. There's even an anthology coming out Zombies v. Unicorns. I can tell you right now, that I won't be reading that because I'm not an anthology girl. I did not get a copy of the sequel, ASCENDANT, and I am kicking myself right now because I want to know what happens to Astrid and Giovanni and Neil and Phillipa, etal.
The world building in the story is so tightly woven that I felt I was in Italy and the unicorns were truly scary. Astrid's original ambivalence about fighting them is what kept me going. I think of unicorns and they're fairy tales and lovely. But not in Astrid's world. Her mother is the driving force that Astrid should continue her inheritance and fight them once and for all. But what her mother doesn't understand is the danger that comes with fighting them. It's not an easy task and lives can and will be lost.
But what pulls Astrid to the here and now is Giovanni. There relationship is sweet and Astrid knows that she cannot go all the way with him, because she will lose her powers (only virgins can fight unicorns). All girls must pass the test of Bonegrinder, the Zhi (a small unicorn that is a pet). For some reasons, Zhi's will attack if the girl is not pure. I loved this aspect of the world building because Bonegrinder loves Phillipa so much, but when she comes home one night after meeting a boy, Bonegrinder wants to kill her. She has lost her purity.
I stayed up late and woke up early reading this book. I completely enjoyed this story and want more!