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Mastiff: The Legend of Beka Cooper #3 Hardcover – October 25, 2011
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Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, October 1, 2011:
"Pierce has long been lauded for her kickass heroines, and in Beka she has created her most compelling, complicated character...[T]his novel provides both crackerjack storytelling and an endearingly complex protagonist."
Booklist, December 1, 2011:
"This concluding title in the Beka Cooper series is the best yet, a tasty blend of detective work, romance, magic, and treachery."
About the Author
TAMORA PIERCE has completed four series of books set in the fantasy realm of Tortall. Pierce's fast-paced, suspenseful writing and strong, believable heroines have won her much praise: Emperor Mage was a 1996 ALA Best Book for Young Adults.
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Top Customer Reviews
I enjoyed the story, especially for the familiar places and ancestors I remembered from previous novels. The main character is the Great Grandmother of a major, and loved, character in the Alanna series. The story was well paced and had new language unique to the time and world.
The biggest problem of this book, for me, was the author's need to tie the world up in a bow by the end of the novel. It also felt, at times, Ms. Pierce had a virtual check list to complete at the end of the book. I enjoyed the connections to earlier work, but new readers may not be so enamored.
All in all, it was nice to read a book set in this time period, from the common perspective. It seems everyone in books, wants to be a noble or marry a noble or be made a noble. Beka and Pierce show the reader it's cool to be common, and female.
As with all of Pierce's books, the realism of the world is fantastic. Set in fictional Tortall, which resembles the Mediterranean (mainly Spain) the towns, people, and attitudes could be plopped down in our world during the medieval times and nothing would stand out as strange (with the exception of magic of course). This is what I love about Pierce's books; while they are fantasy, they could easily be put in historical fiction, in my opinion, because the world-building is that realistic.
The book is full of adventure, but it isn't the pretty, polished life of nobility. This adventure is gritty, dirty, and, sometimes, disgusting. The reader sees the slaves' and servants' lives: how hard life is if you're not a noble. Beka is right in the middle of this precarious world of dealing with the suspicious commoners and the snotty nobility; both of whom present their challenges to figuring out who kidnapped the prince.
The ending of Mastiff was a complete surprise to me! Of course, if you're cynical you might figure out what's going on earlier, but I tend to see things glass half-full. I feel like it is the best ending, as it adds such a sense of heartbreak to the novel, juxtaposing the beginning very nicely. Then the epilogue adds even more to another series by Pierce, Song of the Lioness (You might want to read that series first, as they were the first written), which will always have a special place in my heart.
Another great story with a beloved heroine, Tamora Pierce once again knocks it out of the park! Strong characters, a detailed world, and an intriguing plot make Mastiff a must-read!
As many reviewers have mentioned, this is not the book Tamora Pierce fans of old wanted or expected. It would have been nice if she had focused on Corus and Beka's friends, as she did in the first book. It would have been great if certain characters stayed the way we thought they were (though, it should be noted, we only know this character through Beka's subjective impressions, and there ARE hints throughout the first two books that this could happen, though they are VERY tiny). I think what we are all missing is Tamora Pierce's normal third book - this was really the 4th in her usual quartet. It does feel like we are missing a piece of Beka's story, especially when you transition between the 2nd and 3rd books and suddenly we have missed a few years and gained a dead fiance. Personally, I would have loved for Farmer to be in more than one book.
However, the story itself is compelling and really good, and the writing is, as always, excellent. Tamora Pierce gets better with each book (with the exception of Melting Stones), and her writing gets darker. I've grown up with Alanna and Keladry and Beka, and I feel the writing has grown up with me. I highly recommend this book - it will stay with you for a long time.