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A Reader of Fictions: The Last Unicorn - America

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Last Unicorn - America

Rampant
Killer Unicorns, Book 1

Author:
Diana Peterfreund
Genre
: fantasy, young adult
Pages:
402

Brief Summary
:
Astrid Llewelyn can trace her lineage back to Alexander the Great, who rode Buchephalus, the largest unicorn ever. She doesn't actually care too much about that; really, she wishes she could hear a lot less about it from her mother, who she suspects may be crazy, what with her insistence on the existence of unicorns. Astrid, her mother informs her, ought to be a unicorn hunter, as only virgin females descended from good old Alexander can be. This mostly just annoys her until the day that her attempting-to-get-to-third-base boyfriend gets attacked by a unicorn in front of her, after which her mother ships her off to unicorn hunter boot camp. She does not know what to make of her burgeoning powers, her heritage, the unicorns or her destiny.


Review:

I must confess, first of all, to having been one of the children that Astrid could never understand; I loved unicorns and owned several My Little Ponies with magic horns. Honestly, I still like the idea of them, although in my world, they certainly are not man-eating monsters. Despite my childish love of pretty, shiny, friendly unicorns, I am not opposed to the idea of these blood-thirsty, fanged, venomous creatures either. Peterfreund does something new with unicorn lore, but she sells it.

The book did not really take off for the first couple hundred pages in my mind, mostly because Astrid spent them trying to escape her destiny. She whined and wished for things to be different. While entirely understandable and necessary even, this does not make for the most exciting reading. Once she starts coming into herself more and accepting her unicorn hunter-ness, the book starts moving at a very quick pace.

The action scenes are well done and do not go on long enough to be boring. The book is definitely violent; be prepared for bloodshed and bad things to happen. Peterfreund tackles really important issues, such as what exactly constitutes virginity and rape. She does so very well, presenting ideas without beating the audience over the head with her opinions. These parts really make the reader think. I even think that (sections, at least) of this book could be used in a study on virginity for a sexual ethics course (yes, they do exist, as I took one).

Shameful though it may be thought to admit it, I worried a bit about a book where the main character has to remain virginal or lose what makes her the main character. I suspected there would be a lack of romance and male characters, since romance in paranormal books often equals sex these days. Let me just say that there is romance in this book, although there are no overdramatic declarations of love on first eye contact.

I highly recommend this book for fantasy lovers. It has action, romance and well-drawn, multi-faceted characters that grow and change through the series. This might be a good book for Hunger Games fans searching for something else exciting and fantastical, although not quite as heartbreaking.

"And it seems like all is dying and would leave the world to mourn
In the distance hear the laughter of the last unicorn

I'm alive, I'm alive "

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