Pierce, Tamora: (117) Mastiff

One time, after an incredibly nondescript restaurant meal, Chad looked at me and said, “Well, that . . . had calories.”

I finished Mastiff, the conclusion to Tamora Pierce’s Beka Cooper trilogy, and all I could think was, “Well, that . . . was a book.”

There’s nothing specifically wrong with it that I can put my finger on. But it didn’t provoke any particular feelings in me either, even when it should have.

Maybe it’s because it, like the second book, takes place in yet another location and thus the characters introduced in the first book were largely absent again, though I’d thought they would be important because of the frame story. Maybe it’s because I was badly disoriented when the book opened with the funeral of Beka’s betrothed and I had to go back to the last book and see if I’d forgotten something major. (I hadn’t; it happened between books.) Maybe I liked chase-the-kidnappers better in a different book by Pierce. Maybe it’s just too long. Really, I have no idea.

So, you know. It’s the last Beka Cooper book.


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  1. I liked it a bit more than you because I thought it had a theme — the loss of trust. Beka and her fiance, Beka and her friends, the king and the nobles, each involved the testing and breaking of trust that should have been absolute. And I liked her dealing with mourning about losing her love, not losing the guy, which was awkward when he died anyway.
    Oh, and also, slavery is bad. In case anyone was wondering.
    But yeah, it was about a pound of book in a five pound sack. I didn’t bother handing it on to my 13 year old.

  2. Beth, all you say is entirely accurate, and yet.

  3. I feel like there was quite a lot of walking and not enough character development. I also thought it was sad that it moved away from an urban environment to a rural one, as I really enjoyed Beka’s connection to the city in the previous two books.

  4. Anon, good point about the rural (and also if you put anything at all in the “name” field next time, it will help keep your comment from going into spam).

  5. Oh, one thing I appreciated was the specific note that Pounce was the same cat that shows up in the Alanna stories. I remember complaining about all the purple-eyed super special cats, so at least there’s only one immortal one. Um, is this a spoiler? I can’t see that it makes any difference.
    I should probably have just told my kid to read the last few pages, with the flash-forward to George.

  6. It never occurred to me that it might be a different cat!

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