Author: Diana Peterfreund
Series: 1st in Killer Unicorns
Published: August 2009 by Harper Teen
Source: purchased copy
Description: 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.
I Give This ...
I have to admit, I thought this book sounded interesting, but couldn't help but think of really bad horror movies. Killer unicorns just sounds so cheesy! But, actually the author does a great job of actually making them seem very terrifying. I liked how this takes place in the real world but ordinary people can't see unicorns. Although, I really wonder what people thought was killing all the animals (and occasionally people) in the area.
Astrid was fun. She really doubts the stories her mom tells her, even after she witnessed the attack on her boyfriend. And when she does start to believe, she fights what others tell her she was born to do. But then really who would believe they were born to be a virgin hunter of unicorns. If the story wasn't so serious with the job the hunters are suppose to do, it would be almost comical. I liked the other hunters as well. Most of them are background characters, but they all have very distinct personalities. I especially liked Astrid's cousin Phil. I don't think she ever took her position seriously and she was a bit careless (not that what happens to her is in any way her fault). But she was fiery and didn't let anybody tell her what to do.
I loved the myths worked in about the unicorns throughout history. The entire story seems entirely believable. I did think the sex stuff was a bit over the top. I got a little tired of hearing about the requirement of being a virgin to be a hunter (although the test of determining virginity raised my eyebrows lol). Plus I didn't like the scene with Astrid basically throwing herself at Giovanni. I know she was desperate to get out of her role as a hunter, it just seemed slightly out of character. So in that aspect, I think I would recommend this to older teens and those of us young at heart!