By Diana Peterfreund
My Rating: 4 Peaches
Forget everything you ever knew about unicorns... Real unicorns are venomous, man-eating monsters with huge fangs and razor-sharp horns. Fortunately, they've been extinct for a hundred and fifty years. Or not. Astrid had always scoffed at her eccentric mother's stories about killer unicorns. But when one of the monsters attacks her boyfriend—thereby ruining any chance of him taking her to the prom—Astrid finds herself headed to Rome to train as a unicorn hunter at the ancient cloisters the hunters have used for centuries. However, at the cloisters all is not what it seems. Outside, the unicorns wait to attack. And within, Astrid faces other, unexpected threats: from the crumbling, bone-covered walls that vibrate with a terrible power to the hidden agendas of her fellow hunters to—perhaps most dangerously of all—her growing attraction to a handsome art student ... an attraction that could jeopardize everything. (goodreads description)
I picked up this book after reading a short story Peterfreund in the Zombie vs Unicorn's anthology. (I loved that book btw, in fact I think unicorns might have the upper hand)
I love the plot and mythology- unicorns are vicious, carnivorous beasts hunted by girls descended from long lines of ancient hunters. Peterfreund builds up an amazing world of unicorns and hunters inside our modern world. The history and glimpses into ancient hunter life is fascinating and creative!
I also enjoyed the character's and their relationships. From Astrid, our MC, and her cousin Phil, to the other girls that show up for training. They are all different, which is often cause for conflict. I hope we get to learn more about the girls in the sequel.
Some great action sequences happen during the training and of course, different unicorn battles!
Finally, I love the setting and one day I will experience Italy myself, even if I have to kayak there!
I wasn't feeling the romance most of the time and Astrid starts out pretty whiny always looking for a way out. She definitely starts to buck up towards the end though. Part of the basis of this story is that only virgins can be hunters, so sex definitely plays into the story making it not for middle grade readers.
~Sex and rape