Brandishing Books at Innocent Bystanders, plus a Review of Rampant

Yesterday was a great day for my little book loving self. I finally got a copy of Rampant from the library, and I went to the bookstore to buy myself a copy of The Demon’s Lexicon.

Speaking of The Demon’s Lexicon, I think I frightened an innocent shopper at Powell’s in the process of procuring it. She was browsing YA novels, and I was clutching my copy of TDL to my chest (I refrained from calling it my precioussss out loud, barely). We made eye contact as I stood next to her seeing if there was anything new I wanted to have a look at. So I couldn’t help myself–I leaned toward her, brandishing the book and stage-whispering “Have you read this yet?” When she shook her head and smiled that “If I’m nice hopefully the crazy lady won’t pin me down and read the scary book aloud” smile, I whispered “You should read it!”, and probably smiled a maniacal smile. We crossed paths again later near the adult fantasy/sci fi shelves, and she sort of half-smiled and shuffled away quickly.

I told writing buddy Laura about the incident, and her response was “Oh well, her loss. Wildly erratic women brandishing books usually know what they are talking about.”

Writing buddy Laura is smart and pretty.

And SO! I got Rampant from the library on my way home. (Love you library! Hugs and kisses!).

I immediately ran into my house, threw my purse down, and found a comfy place to sit. I read it.

In one sitting.

Skipping dinner.

Barely speaking to the hubster.

Threatening the Mad Scientist when he came to my door to try to talk to me about school or something . . . “What? Don’t talk to me! Killer Unicorns! Must . . . read . . . ” *insert panting sounds*

Seriously could not put the book down.

So then, here is the synopsis:

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 don’t want to tell you too much about this book, because I don’t want to spoil the awesomeness. But, let me tell you, it has everything; hot make out scenes, awesome girls in awesome friendships with one another, a crazed irrational mother, a crumbling cloister, betrayal, ancient swords and bows and arrows, bloody battles full of near-death experiences, miraculous healing abilities, and oh yes, deadly unicorns with poisonous horns.

I was talking about Rampant with the hubster this morning, explaining the premise, and he was giving me that look. The one that says, “You are so cute when you get all excited and squealy about books, but you read the weirdest stuff , and you know I only tolerate all this bad-ass-girls and vampires and killer unicorns and faerie stuff because I love you.” It’s a very kind look, but also somewhat amused. Then I tried to explain about how such a plot in the hands of an inept writer would be beyond ridiculous, and would make me scoff. But Diana Peterfruend is far from inept, and she handles the whole thing so well that all the time I’m just like, “Yeah, clearly, giant unicorn the size of an elephant, why not?”

I think part of what makes the book work is the way the characters wrestle with their own disbelief, along with the way the various elements of unicorn lore are handled in the context of the plot. Most of us are familiar with the whole unicorns and virgins thing, and I love the way the girls in the book struggle with the idea of enforced virginity, and wonder what, exactly, constitutes virginity in the mind of the scary venemous beast aiming the sharp pointy thing on its forehead in their direction. Also, thank you Diana P. for realizing that just because a girl can’t go all the way doesn’t mean all the eroticism has to be above the neck. I LOVE it that even though Astrid and her cousin are virginal, they aren’t prudish, they have realistic desires.

Also, it has been mentioned on more than one blog, but Peterfruend’s girls are awesome, and their relationships are varied and vibrant and real, and I love that. They might not all like each other all the time, they  might not all be nice, but they are all three dimensional and multi-faceted and I’m amazed she could portray that in the midst of all the slaughter and whatnot.

I’m so looking forward to the second killer unicorns book, whenever it might come out! She left plenty of questions unanswered, and I’m speculating about them all, and I can’t wait for writing buddy  Laura to read it so we can speculate together.

And to the unfortunate woman in Powell’s . . . sorry. I get carried away sometimes.

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3 thoughts on “Brandishing Books at Innocent Bystanders, plus a Review of Rampant

  1. I could not agree with you more. I’ve read Rampant twice, and have told all of my girlfriends about how awesome it is. My husband has the same pitying look for me when I rave about books, and tells me how weird I am.

    I am always looking for books with kick-butt teenage female protagonists, and Rampant fits the bill perfectly. One of my new favorite books!!

    Kel

  2. I second everything that you said! I love, love, love, love, LOVE Rampant! It is fantastic, and amazing, and awesome! (And, by the by, TDL is fantastic, amazing, awesome as well – SRB is quite possibly one of the coolest people EVER!)

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