Review: Ascendant by Diana Peterfreund

Title: Ascendant (Killer Unicorns #2)

Author: Diana Peterfreund

Release Date/Publisher: September 28th 2010 by HarperTeen

Read: July 31st, 2012

Pages: 392-Hardcover


  1. Rampant
  2. Ascendant


Astrid Llewelyn is now a fully trained unicorn hunter, but she can’t solve all her problems with just a bow and arrow. Her boyfriend, Giovanni, has decided to leave Rome, the Cloisters is in dire financial straits, her best friend’s powers seem to be mysteriously disintegrating, and Astrid can’t help but feel that school, home, and her hopes of becoming a scientist are nothing but impossible dreams.

So when she’s given the opportunity to leave the Cloisters and put her skills to use as part of a scientific quest to discover the Remedy, Astrid leaps at the chance. Finally, she can have exactly what she want–or can she? At Gordian headquarters, deep in the French countryside, Astrid begins to question everything she thought she 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 the unicorns from the world?

What I thought:

Continuing where the first book left off, the girls are still fighting unicorns and risking their lives, although they are stronger than when they started. But things start to change, and the Cloisters don’t have a financial backing anymore. The company they trusted in before (Gordian) betrayed them and they don’t know where they can turn now especially when the unicorns seem to be becoming more known and sighted around the world.

There seems to be something happening to Cory too. She still has her healing powers, but her senses of the unicorns as well as her fighting abilities are diminishing and no one can find out why. The doctor’s can’t figure it out, and the fact that they still don’t know everything about the unicorns and the hunters of the past isn’t helping.

Astrid’s struggles in this book are more challenging than before. Her boyfriend Giovanni is across the ocean, so she can’t see him and has to be content with just phone calls, all while a certain man in her vicinity keep trying to be with her. She still doesn’t like the killing of unicorns, so when given the opportunity to work with Gordian labs to watch over some that are in captivity instead she goes for it. All she has to do is keep them calm and safe. To a point.

The new boss is different than the man from the first book, and she seems to genuinely care for Astrid and her well-being. Even her own mother would prefer to see her battling and claiming some fame rather than try to be a parent. The unicorns in the enclosure start to capture her heart, and she notices how she connects with them more like this, then when she was hunting them.

The development of this story, the tragedies that happen to the hunters and Astrid’s struggles all make this book not only powerful, but hard to put down. I think I loved it even more than the first. There were a few small things that weren’t answered, but in the grand scheme of the book, it was small compared to the rest of what was happening.

Highly recommended for fantasy fans who would like to read about killer unicorns and the lives of their hunters.