Thursday, June 28, 2012

Rampant by Diana Peterfreund

Rampant sounded like a silly title to me -- what's running rampant throughout the story?

But the idea is killer -- vicious unicorns!? Young girls trained as hunters (a la Buffy Summers)?  Italy?  Medieval 'history'?  I'm in!

All in all, it was a terrifying and thrilling read.  I stayed up until midnight (an hour and a half past my bedtime since I get up early) to finish it.  The book is written at a great pace (hard to do with exposition and battle scenes), the characters are real, and the issues both heart breaking and fantastical.  A well-thought out, provoking read that has you considering what you would do with creatures you thought were extinct but turned out to be mass murderers.

I only had a few problems with this book -- namely a) the romantic sections and b) character development.

a) the romantic sections -- I just don't like graphic romantic scenes (or descriptions).  And I think a more powerful way of writing has a lot to do with suggestion in lieu of actual showing what's happening.  I get this is an older teen book and that part of the story is romance, but honestly I don't want to know the details.  (Does anyone?).  I feel like there were some elements that *needed* to be there for the story (and that's fine) but a lot of it could have been cleaned up.

I *did* appreciate one thing she did with this aspect but I'm not going to post spoilers.  Let's just say she made some statements regarding an aspect of sex that I agree with and thank her for saying because it's important for young adults to see the difference.

b) character development was a little rough.  I knew where she was headed and it wasn't confusing, but it was a bit choppy.  The main character quickly turned from faint-hearted to beasty warrior with just a few sentences in between to explain the why behind it.  I feel like the development could have happened sooner, or slower.  Also, the mother went from being kooky to hateful and I didn't really understand that.  And then she went on to...broken.  I don't know.  I don't really understand the mom's character development.

That aside, the rest of the characters were really well formed.

I love when someone takes a standard story and shakes it up.  The idea of killer unicorns is phenomenal, and the way the unicorns are handled in this book is fantastic.  I feel like her ideas on the history and development of her world of unicorns is the truth.  That's how real it felt.

4/5 stars from me -- and it looks like this is just the beginning of the series.  :D

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