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ASCENDANT by Diana Peterfreund

ASCENDANT

By Diana Peterfreund

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-06-149002-6
Publisher: HarperTeen

Picking up where Rampant (2009) ended, this meandering and often slow sequel finds Astrid Llewelyn questioning her life as a virginal unicorn hunter in a camouflage habit (now required by the Church and the novel’s only bit of humor), wanting to return to freedom and her education and saying goodbye to her college-bound boyfriend. She may have found a compromise when Isabeau Jaeger, the wife of the mad scientist killed in the series opener and new head of Gordian Pharmaceuticals, invites her to live in Limoges, France, in exchange for her help with unicorns held captive to research and create more of the Remedy against their poison. Although it continues the themes of feminism and mythology (including the story of Diana and Actaeon) begun earlier, this sequel is less about unicorn battles and more about Astrid’s search for self as she ponders the ethics of animal testing, the conundrum of saving humans from deadly animals and the ramifications of driving them extinct as well as the meaning of her virginity and advances from her ex-boyfriend. Unanswered questions beg for a sequel. (Fantasy. YA)