Ashleigh Paige

I'm a full-time college sophomore pursuing my B.A. in English with hopes of one day working as an editor. Cats, musicals, documentaries about cults/disasters/tragedies, and curse words are just a few of my favorite things. Also, check out our blog or I WILL FIND YOU.

Ascendant - Diana Peterfreund Also appears on The Screaming Nitpicker.In the year since she was first attacked by a unicorn, much has changed with Astrid Llewelyn. She's become a trained unicorn hunter, gotten a great boyfriend, made friends with her fellow hunters, and saved the lives of countless people from killer unicorns. As unicorn sightings and attacks become more common, the changes in her life continue. Her cousin Phil is trying to get unicorns declared an endangered species while her mother is trying to glorify the hunters' existence by touring the television circuit; Giovanni is going back to America to go to college; the Cloisters is running out of money; Cory's powers are suddenly disappearing with no known cause; and Astrid is questioning all of the unicorn-killing she's been doing. When an offer comes along to stop killing unicorns and instead guard them for Gordian Pharmaceuticals, she jumps to accept it. While acting as the unicorn guard and dealing with life at Gordian, she comes to asks herself who needs the protection more: the unicorns or the humans.I was a little worried about this book when I picked it up. I'd read a review of it at my favorite book review site and they didn't have very kind words for it, but because I thought Rampant, the first and previous book in the killer unicorn series, was great and the idea of murderous unicorns was awesome, I still wanted to give it a chance. I thought it was better than the reviewers said it was, but I still agree with many of the issues they had with Ascendant.This book is incredibly introspective and much of the conflict is inner instead of outer- it was a nice break from the nonstop action or trying-to-be-action-and-failing action I see in most novels. A little inner conflict is great. Astrid is growing as a person and her relationships with almost every character are changing in some way while we discover more about the hunters' powers. One of the best parts of the book happened about three-fourths of the way through, when the powers that came with being a unicorn hunter became even more important (I will not talk about why because that would be a superspoiler, but trust me, it's good). Her most important growth occurs after this incident and watching her try to recover was hard, but I was so entranced that I couldn't stop reading.At one point in this book, my eyes misted up, but I didn't cry. I will not spoil the event, but if development of those involved had been better, I have no doubt that it would have had me bawling. That's the difficult part of having so many hunters: it's hard to get development for everyone in, so when something happens to them, it's a little harder to feel for them because you didn't get to know them as well as you did others. I had to put the book down for a minute so that any tears that might have come wouldn't have gotten on the pages and ruined them.If you tried to make me count how many times I rolled my eyes at Astrid and wanted to knock some sense into her, I would lose count quickly. But this is part of Astrid's charm because she's a human being. She has her ups and downs, she screws up and suffers the repercussions of her actions, and she's not perfect. She is just like any other person and even though she irritates me, I would rather have a heroine that makes mistakes and learns from them than someone who never learns or never makes mistakes at all. Characters like that are too perfect and Astrid is anything but perfect.This book left many subplots unresolved like Cory's illness and the search for Seth, Phil's rapist from the previous book, among other things. At the moment, Diana isn't signed for a third killer unicorn book and (according to one rumor I heard, so I won't put much stock into it) she didn't realize this until she was nearly done with Ascendant. This could explain why there are so many unresolved problems, but even if she'd been signed for a third book, it was a little sloppy to leave so many open plot lines behind. It's fine for one major plot line to be unresolved when there's going to be a sequel, but leaving behind as many as this, sequel or no, was not a good idea.There's one other bit that is very unclear, but due to the level of spoilerage there would be if I talked about it, I won't. I will tell you that it's at the end of the book and when you reach that point, I'm sure you'll recognize exactly what I'm talking about.I thoroughly enjoyed this book, but the number of unresolved plot lines, combined with the likelihood that a sequel won't be coming any time soon, takes it down at notch. Honestly, I'm being too soft on this. I should be giving this three stars, but I liked it so much that I was willing to give one back. If a sequel does come, I hope it's able to clear up all of my unanswered questions and make that last thing I mentioned much clearer because I don't get it!