Ascendant

Diana Peterfreund, Author
Diana Peterfreund, HarperTeen, $17.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-06-149002-6
Reviewed on: 11/22/2010
Release date: 09/01/2010
Paperback - 392 pages - 978-0-06-149005-7
Ebook - 416 pages - 978-0-06-201267-8
Library Binding - 416 pages - 978-0-06-149003-3
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In this thrilling sequel to Peterfreund's Rampant, Astrid Llewelyn has come to terms with her magical abilities to hunt poisonous flesh-eating unicorns, but not with the cloistered, nun-like lifestyle it demands of her, nor of the changes to her body ("I looked like a bodybuilder. It wasn't feminine. It wasn't beautiful"). Fate in the form of Isabeau Jaeger, the wife of an old enemy, offers Astrid a new job that appears tailor-made for reconciling her present life with her earlier dreams of a medical career: guarding a herd of captive unicorns, paired with university science classes, all for greater good of researching the Remedy, the legendary unicorn-sourced cure-all. But luxurious surroundings, fancy new clothes, and a renewed friendship with an ex-boyfriend-turned-research-colleague fail to still Astrid's growing unease about the ethics of unicorn treatment and her role in determining the future of the unicorn species, as well as her own destiny. The strong yet vulnerable heroine, compelling conflicts, and exquisite settings should find a voracious audience in those familiar with the first installment, though the complexities of Peterfreund's world will be more challenging for readers beginning mid-series. Ages 14–up. (Sept.)
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