"I Must Read, Read, and Read. It is my Vocation." - Thomas Merton
This is where I chronicle my reading life. I also blog about writing at Lacey's Late-night Editing.
I had to adjust my expectations a bit, as I thought this book took place in a more "typical" medieval-like fantasy setting. So it's more "urban fantasy" than straight-up fantasy (despite the unicorns and the medeival sword on the cover), which is not my favorite fantasy genre -- but this book held my attention well in spite of that.
First of all, I should probably just say that the unique conceit of "killer unicorns," that the transformation of unicorns from something sweet and fragile and magical to the creatures of nightmare is unique enough that it alone probably warrants four stars. Luckily, Peterfreund does not squander the potential of this idea, and has applied ample research and world-building to her alternative view of unicorns. I liked the idea of different species of unicorns that were based on different descriptions of legend, especially the nearly invisible Kirin and the mighty Karkadann.
With that said, I wanted this book to be just a tad bit scarier. Maybe I would have gotten my wish if I had read it late at night rather than early in the morning as is my habit. I would like to see it made in to a movie, as I think then it would be just the right amount of scary for me (I am generally a wuss when it comes to horror, but I like supernatural horror.)
The love story developed a little too quickly for me, based on just a handful of "dates" and interactions, but at least it didn't feel gratuitous, as Astrid's virginity is central to her ability to continue accessing her "unicorn hunter" prowess. And at least I didn't have to endure another YA love triangle!! (Probably saved for the sequel ...) Sometimes the story moved along a bit slower than I would have liked, while at other times the plot felt a little jumbled. Still, my interest really picked up about 3/4 in and was sustained until the end. Although it is a fairly "easy" read, Peterfreund is a competent enough writer that the writing is not distracting, allowing the story to take center stage. And even in the slower bits, there were enough "unicorn sightings" and revelations about them to keep me moving forward. It kind of felt like the story ended just as it was getting started, but luckily it didn't end on a total cliffhanger, which I think is totally cheating. This means I look forward to reading the sequel, rather than being resentful because I feel as if I've been "tricked" into it.