Source of my copy: I bought it
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
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.
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.
Astrid, having grown up with a mother who believed that unicorns were real and that their ancestor was a unicorn hunter who single-handedly caused the unicorn's extinction, wished for normalcy. She was making out with a boy and was contemplating whether to sleep with him to take their relationship to the next level and thereby a possibility of having a normal prom date, when he was attacked--by a unicorn! After the incident, her mother shipped her to Italy to train to become a unicorn hunter (yes, killer unicorns were real and not extinct as previously thought!) much to Astrid's reluctance.
I really liked Rampant. Our main character and first-person narrator is Astrid and I liked her character a lot. I thought her strong, smart and resilient and I liked how her character changed from reluctant heroine to kick-ass unicorn hunter. I also liked the other secondary characters like Astrid's cousin Phil and the love interest, Giovanni, who was definitely swoon-worthy. But Astrid's mom, Lilith, I didn't like so much. I thought she was really annoying and unsympathetic in the beginning and she did not endear herself towards the end when she went all militant on the girls.
The unique story line drew me in as I haven't read any books with Ms. Peterfreund's take on unicorns before--that they are monsters that harm mankind. I liked that most of the book was set in Italy, which was something different. The author also did a good job describing the cloister where Astrid trained to be a unicorn hunter--I could picture the unicorn skeletons and weapons gracing the walls while I was reading the book. I thought that the first half was evenly paced as the author took the time to explain the unicorn history and lore, which I thought was very interesting and one of my favorite aspect of Rampant. However, the second half of the book wasn't as evenly paced as the first half. There were too many things happening at once. It felt rushed and a bit confusing.
All in all, though, the book was pretty good and I enjoyed it. I thought it a good start to the series. It has a likable female lead (it was great watching Astrid change to become a better, stronger person and hunter), great world-building and a nice romance Astrid and Giovanni. It ended on a good note with no crazy cliffhanger but there were enough unanswered questions to keep you interested in the series. I am definitely looking forward to the sequel. Fans of young adult fantasy should check Rampant out. 3.75 out of 5 stars