Over break, I expanded my Tamora Pierce collection once again--with The Circle Opens quartet. Fortunately, I was able to find copies of the original h...moreOver break, I expanded my Tamora Pierce collection once again--with The Circle Opens quartet. Fortunately, I was able to find copies of the original hardbacks at bargain prices. These were the copies I first read as a child, and I'm attached to them. I didn't want to buy copies with the new covers. While I was at home a couple weekends ago, I got nostalgic and found myself rereading the quartet. These books target a middle-grade audience and are a quick and easy read for older readers like myself. Nevertheless, the magic is still there, and I am as much in love with them as when I was a child.
Magic Steps is about the girl who was left behind in Summersea while her friends go explore the world. While the other books show that her friends all miss each other, Sandry is the only one to be physically left behind where they met and grew up together as mages. Other than taking care of her great-uncle and managing affairs, there is little excitement in her life until she happens upon Pasco using dance magic. Despite her youth, Sandry must teach Pasco how to control his magic, as she was the mage to discover his talents.
Sandry has always been the patient one among her friends, and she has grown more mature over the years. In this book, she becomes more comfortable with who she is, if possible. There are few as suited to the role of teaching as Sandry despite her initial insecurities about taking on the same role as Lark did for her not so long ago. She is a clever, obstinate girl, and I enjoyed following her as she stands up to older men who think that investigating crime scenes is not a suitable task for a young noblewoman. Pasco, I didn't like as much. He's young and foolhardy; he only wants to dance. At the same time, I understand that he's a child and doesn't understand the dangers around him, so I wanted to give him a chance. Unfotunately, he takes on increasingly smaller roles as the novel progresses.
For the most part, this didn't take away from my enjoyment of the novel. Truth be told, I didn't think much about it until I began writing my review. The crime investigation is fascinating, especially when the criminals' viewpoint comes into play. I love when the authors delve into the criminals' minds. The protagonists are almost always biased against the criminals (and I would be if I were them), so we never really get to truly understand the criminals' motivation unless we get to look from their perspectives. These criminals are intriguing and relatable, though morally speaking I cannot say that I approve of their method of taking care of their rivals by killing them even if they have a bad feud going on.
This is a book that will stay on my bookshelf forever. Its reading level is perfectly suited for younger readers, but older readers will also enjoy reading this book and delving into the magic of Tamora Pierce.
Mastiff was definitely worth waiting a couple years for. It is by far the largest book I have read by Tamora Pierce, and I loved every moment of it: from when I first opened it around noon to when I read the last pages close to midnight. I couldn't put it down. I was so caught up in the magical world that Tamora Pierce created.
Beka is still the brilliant, honest young woman whose character I have loved from the first book. She is the one I would want watching my back on a Hunt. While Beka is out of her element with the nobility, she adapts to new situations and does what is necessary to complete the Hunt. I enjoyed learning what the rest of Tortall was like back in her time along with her.
Along with Beka, Mastiff brings back a lovable set old friends from a brief glimpse at her rogue friends to friends at Port Caynn and more action time with Pounce, Achoo, Tunstall, and Sabine. As for their new companion, I completely fell in love with Farmer. He is such a sweet darling. I love how he feigns silliness--is silly--and hides the immense power that he wields. I love how he is caring, loves his job as a Dog mage, and will both protect and let a girl protect him. Halfway through the book, I was hoping that something would develop between Beka.
I was very satisfied with the outcome of the novel. Even, as it turns out, with the twist. While I'm still struggling to come to terms with the motives behind it, I have to accept that there is only one person who could do such a thing. There have also been mixed reviews about the twist and about the large amount of violence in this book, but with such high stakes in this novel, I feel that it is only to be expected. I admire how Tamora Pierce isn't afraid to do what is needed to write a good novel. Mastiff is a definitely one of her best if not the best so far.
Beka faces greater danger than before. She meets new friends, fights powerful enemies, travels all over Tortall, and faces the greatest betrayal, all with the future of Tortall on the line. It's no wonder that Mastiff is the conclusion to the Beka Cooper trilogy. As Beka asks, what can be greater than what she manages to accomplish over the course of this journey (and it is not only about saving the royal family)!(less)