Monday, February 13, 2012

Mastiff (Beka Cooper, #3) by Tamora Pierce

  • Title: Mastiff: The Legend of Beka Cooper #3
  • Classification: Young Adult (Ages 12 and up)
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Hardcover: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers; 1St Edition edition (October 25, 2011)
  • ISBN-10: 0375814701
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375814709
  • Author's Website:
  • Notes: This one contains some pretty gruesome murders and cruelty to children.

Beka, a Provost guard, is once again doing work for lord Gershom. On the eve of burying her fiance, Holborn, she's contacted in the dead of night with orders to "Dress and pack what you could need for a woods Hunt and a stay of three days. Bring Achoo. Pounce may come if he cares to. I'm leaving a horse tied in the shed in back. Take it to Peregrine Dock as soon as you can. Tell no one where you're bound or who the summons came from." With no idea what their assignment is, she and Tunstall eventually come upon a gruesome sight. Someone has attacked the Summer Palace and a good portion of the area surrounding it. Not a living soul, human or animal, around the area can be found and the Prince, a lad of 4, is one of those missing. The extent of devastation associated with the attack makes it clear that some powerful magic was involved and no one is to be trusted. 

In 'Terrier', the story started out with a mother telling the story of their ancestor Rebekah Cooper to her errant son. Sadly, this is the final book in the Beka Cooper saga. The book comes full circle to the beginning of the trilogy where the mother is once again discussing Beka with  her now grown son. As I suspected, it looks like the ending is just the beginning of another one of Pierce's other books, 'Alanna: The First Adventure'. Alanna's story starts up three months after George Cooper becomes the King of Thieves, thereby, connecting this book to the Song of the Lioness quartet. George, it should be noted, is the boy who the mother is scolding at the beginning and end of the Beka Cooper series.

If you liked the previous books in the Beka Cooper trilogy, you'll like this one as well. Beka is loyal, smart, courageous, and tough as they come. She also has the ability to talk to the dead who attach themselves to the backs of pigeons (I always considered this a clever thing as they are messenger birds) when they have information that needs to be passed along. Her cat Pounce is a constellations cat. He is a bit of a liaison between Beka and the gods, but he cannot interfere with events, he can only witness them. Rebekah also has the ability to speak with dust spinners which trap various whispers of conversations within their turbulent winds. She'll need to rely on her skills and wits to get herself out of this one alive. The mages involved in the devastation aren't just playing with fire they're killing with it. People have literally been melted alive. 

Lord Gershom teams Beka and Tunstall up with a new character--Farmer, a mage who is quite powerful and talented, but hides it well. Beka and Farmer hit it off right a way while Tunstall appears to take an instant disliking to the mage. Farmer is a fun character with a devilish sense of humor who shares many of the same views about his work and people as Beka does. From almost the beginning the man starts flirting with Beka and the two eventually start getting close. He was a thoroughly delightful addition to the series and I liked him tremendously.

Other than Tunstall and Lady Sabine (who joins Tunstall and Beka later), the other characters we've come to love in this trilogy just make brief appearances at the beginning and ending of the book. Beka, Tunstall, Lady Sabine, Farmer, Achoo and Pounce start searching the kingdom for the lost prince. With Achoo, Beka's trusty scent hound, leading the way they start tracking the young Prince. If it weren't for Achoo, there would be doubt as to whether the royal prince was alive.

This one has a rather shocking surprise twist that Tamora tried to carefully prepare us for with hints throughout the last quarter or so of the book. Even so, it was quite shocking and upsetting. Thankfully, the book did have a nice message at the end about forgiveness. I felt it tied in nicely to the tragedy associated with devastating twist:

     "You've learned to hate. Now you must learn to forgive, or you'll have enemies at your back forever."
     He looked me straight in the eyes. "That will be hard."
     "The harder the goal, the more important it is." 

Why is the book entitled Mastiff? Well, at the end of the book that is what everyone starts to call/chant "Mastiff" in reference to Beka. The chant was started by Holborn's former partner.  So Beka started out as a puppy, graduated to terrier, became a bloodhound, finally a Mastiff. The Provost guards are referred to as dogs and known by different types of dog according to their rank. 

Overall, I gave this one 4 1/2 out of 5 roses. It was a touch more violent than the previous books, but still a very addictive read.

Notes to keep you in the know:
"Mastiffs have historically been used as guard dogs, not just for people, but especially for sheep. As a result, mastiffs tend to be quite protective and have deep voices for barking upon the approach of strangers." (Gotten from: )
Although the Mastiff's size makes him appear fierce, his temperament is one of good-natured docility. But let danger threaten his family and he will step up to protect them. (Gotten from: )

Order of series:

1 comment:

  1. I can't wait to start this series! If only I didn'y have a million other books on my plate right now I would :) Thanks for reviewing this book :) + New Follower

    - Kimberly @


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