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Showing 1-10 of 150 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 225 reviews
on March 2, 2016
Mastiff is the last book in the Beka Cooper Trilogy (Book 1 is Terrier and Book 2 is Bloodhound). Beka is a Provost Dog, the police force of Tortall. She has been sent on a chase along with her partner, Tunstall, the Provost's Mage, Farmer, and the Lady Knight Sabine in order to find the crown prince of Tortall. Through the book, the readers, along with Beka, learn about earning honor and how easy it is for people to break their honor.

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!
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on July 5, 2014
Of all of the Beka Cooper books, this is the one that got under my skin. I love to re-read books, and my brain kindly lets me forget large parts of prior reads so I can re-discover the plot. This book wasn't like that. The central element of the plot, and the ending, were scorched into my memory (and not in a bad way). I wanted to go back and re-read this book multiple times. It is, as many reviews state, a compelling police procedural, and a great way to end the series - which is, as advertised, about a hero of the realm.

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.
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on October 20, 2015
Another excellent story from Pierce, suitable to all ages but especially enjoyable for female teens Becka continues to provide a role model and encourage young people to set goals and maintain their personal honor, even in difficult situations. The plot is challenging and has a few surprises you won't see coming. As always, Pierce's writing is skilled, uses suitable vocabulary and has an understanding that girls and women are people, not statues on pedestals. Love is covered in all its many faces, lust and living together are different from a meeting of equals.The story opens at the funeral of Becka's fiance-and her guilt at surviving and not loving him enough.A challenging assignment arrives before she sorts out her emotions and she continues to work out being an adult as the dangerous adventure unfolds. The story is careful not to indulge in prurient descriptions but is detailed in describing Becka's feelings.
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on June 30, 2015
Warning: I know other reviewers have posted this, but there is a major betrayal by one of the characters in this book. This kept me from reading the book for a while, but it truly is a well written conclusion to this fantastic series, and leaves a little Easter egg at the end as a set up for "Song of the Lioness", Tamora's first series about Tortall, which takes place after this chronologically. Though there is some saddening content, the ending left me satisfied. And the mystery, like the other two books in the series, is good enough to keep you guessing, but leaves plenty for you to figure out on your own. I loved meeting the royal family, and seeing how similar and different these early Conte royals are to Jonathan from "Song of the Lioness". The character of Farmer Cape is a welcome addition to the cast, and a very well written. And, of course, the four legged cast members hold their own.
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on October 18, 2012
Spoiler Alert:

A main character goes from being a hero who is a very smart and good person to being a murderer of an 8 year old, an attempted murderer of a 4 year old, an attempter murderer of a person who was their friend and that they had worked with and trained for years, and to also being incredibly stupid for not realizing that if he had succeeded at killing the 4 year old and Beka that the bad guys would just murder him like they had so many others that they had recruited to help them with their nefarious plot in the last 40 pages of Mastiff. This ending spoiled the whole series for me.

Book gets 1 Stars instead of the 5 Stars I would have given it without this crappy and stupid ending. I would have re-read this series over and over again though the years like I have the Protector of Small series, the Lioness series, and the Wild Magic series if the ending had been good, but now I won't re-read this set of 3 books at all.

Thanks, Tamora!
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on February 4, 2013
I fell in love with Tamora Pierce's Beka Cooper books for the strong female lead's commitment to justice and her humble rise from childhood poverty. These books are young adult fantasy crime novels at their finest. In the final book of the series, Mastiff, Beka and a small band of trusted friends are sent on a hunt for a kidnapped royal. As the team grows tighter through their dangerous path, knowledge of a traitor becomes apparent. Beka must question her relationships to all of her friends but one, her trusty scent hound Achoo. When the traitor is reveled, readers are left to question why.
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. I found Pierce's twist taunting me to skip ahead and solve the mystery so I wouldn't go crazy, but I resisted and boy am I glad I did. It made the revelation of the traitor all the more emotional and thought provoking. It made me ask what I would do for the sake of money, love, and power in a time of confusion. The depth in which Pierce examines a person's relationship ties is beautifully written. While Beka's ties to the crown and justice are not shaken, she suffers from love gone sour, new love under question, and growing distrust of old friends. I appreciated the way Pierce did not try to turn this into a love story.
This novel covers the effects of poverty, slavery, political upset, the morality of justice, and the pressures of working through hard times. While there are no modern curse words, there are old English forms that can be upsetting for those who do not like strong language of any kind. This novel also shows the negatives of slavery in a time when parents sold their own children to survive, child slaves were abused, and individuals didn't question their place as a slave.
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on July 24, 2014
Mastiff is book three of the Legend of Beka Cooper by Tamora Pierce.

In Mastiff, we follow Beka a few years after her last adventure. She’s still a Dog, still fighting crime. But now, she’s also fighting her heart. Her betrothed has just died, and she isn’t feeling the grief she thinks she should be feeling. About that time, she is called away in the middle of the night for a Hunt with her partner, Tunstall, and her scent hound, Achoo. Traveling to the Summer Palace, they realize the Prince has been kidnapped, and it’s up to them plus a Dog-Mage, Farmer, to get back the heir to the throne.

But the plot is deeper than they realize, and the Hunt longer than they hoped. Joined by Lady Sabine, the four must cross the realm in search of the Prince. And along the way, somehow become a team despite their diverse backgrounds and social classes.

Mastiff, more so than even the first two Beka books, really shows an adult Beka learning the hardest lessons in life. Who to trust, and how to open her wounded heart.
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on May 27, 2017
As usual, I enjoyed the 3 books in this series by Tamora Pierce. I think it's funny her stories are classified as children books. Sure they tend to start off with young protagonists, but they deal with some mature themes (done in a classy way). Great adventure story with just enough romance to spice it up.
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on January 18, 2012
Frist off, I should say that I have been reading Tamora Pierce's works since the age of eleven. Without a doubt the target audience of her books are pre-teen and teenage girls (perhaps a bit more toward the teen depending upon maturity levels), but I decided long ago that as long as she keeps writing 'em, I am going to keep reading 'em. She was one of the first authors I really loved to read, and so I suppose I shall always have a soft spot for her books. In any case, even as I age, I still appreciate her stories and characters and continue to enjoy her books.

Mastiff is the third and final book in the Beka Cooper series, which details the progress of Beka Cooper as she gains position in Tortall's police force. Unlike Tamora Pierce's other books, the Cooper stories are written journal style in first person. Since Beka Cooper is one of Tamora Pierce's few shyer, quieter characters, this is an excellent way to understand and connect with the character, although she may not speak as much as many of the other characters in the story. The Beka Cooper stories date back the furthest in the Tortall collections thus far; so it is interesting to see how things have changed between her time on Tortall's police force and later in the timeline when Alanna must struggle to gain acceptance as a lady knight.

Beka's earlier stories detail her learning and growing into her position as a law keeper of the realm, but Mastiff highlights how skilled and mature she has become. This is without a doubt the most exciting of the three novels, as the stakes have never been higher and it pushes Beka and all of her companions to the limit. I won't deny that there may have been more than once during the reading of this book that caused me to get a little teary-eyed, a few moments that had me bouncing in glee, and more than a few moments that left me screaming at the book and wanting to throw it against the wall. And, despite seeing a few things coming a mile off, that still didn't affect my reaction once they actually turned up in the plot. Which speaks volumes about how easy it is to get wrapped up in the story and empathize with Pierce's characters. I suppose it isn't a surprise then, that this books kept me up well past bed-time three nights running. And I have to say - totally worth it.

While Beka Cooper isn't my favorite of the Tortallian legends (my favorite stories are in The Immortals Quartet), I still thoroughly enjoyed reading her story and watching her journey. I love how her tale, despite being a century removed from most of the other events in the Tortallian legends, is still connected and important to those future events. As always, I greatly enjoyed the cast of characters, the exciting events, and the constant snark that is so prevalent in Tamora Pierce's work. All in all this book was quite satisfying, and I found it thoroughly enjoyable.
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on January 14, 2013
I say "sort of" because she writes the entire thing like 2 weeks after this all takes place. So. You pretty much already know that she's going to survive. Yes, that's ALL you know, but still. It really takes the excitement out of the story.

The content is great though (although the dates get a bit confusing, so really, don't try to keep up with the time passing as she's recounting what has happened, because you'll just end up really super confused). I especially loved (well not really, but I won't spoil it) the surprise ending - I COMPLETELY DID NOT SEE THAT COMING!!!!!! So if you're ready for a twist in the story, you'll be getting it.

Some of the story gets really boring. I had to force myself to read parts of it, because it just seemed to drag on. I was really surprised by this, because I was really impressed with the last two. Not to say it wasn't interesting, but it just wasn't as engaging as it could (should) have been.

And of course, this was the end of this series, so it comes to a conclusion at the end. I won't spoil it, but I was a little disappointed in the overall ending too. It was okay, but I don't know, maybe I just wanted something more dramatic.

So as I said, not as good (in my opinion) as the first and second books, but definitely a good read to finish off the story.

Oh and btw - don't get confused by the beginning. Or at least try not to. SHE WILL NEVER EXPLAIN IN REAL WORDS WHAT EXACTLY HAPPENED. You'll just have to go the whole story trying to figure it out, and hoping you understand.
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