Glitterfairy's Reviews > Mastiff

Mastiff by Tamora Pierce
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U_50x66
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Dec 03, 11

Read in December, 2011

** spoiler alert ** I'm rating a 3, but it's more a 3.8

This is the first Pierce book I've read that I've been a bit disappointed in. Like other reviewers, I expected more closure and more involvement from great characters like Rosto. It's the first of her books I'm not sure if I will want to re-read, although I'm sure I will, largely just to see Beka's happy ending :)

The flow, and plot of this book was notably not up to Pierce's normal high standard. It hit heavy really quickly, and just seemed to get stuck on 'the chase' without mini-events to break it up (Protector of the Small is a good example of how Pierce does it well. Possibly her best books, dare I say). The final twist was both unexpected and in my opinion, out of character for both the character and the writer. I know she was undergoing a lot of surgery whilst writing - maybe this was rushed? Or maybe just not written under her usual circumstances, perspective-wise. That's probably the best way to describe this book, actually - out of character for the writer. Not entirely so, but still noticably so.

My main gripe is the twist at the end, which is not very believable for the YA crowd. Yes people change, but not magically in the space of a few weeks/months. Tunstall has been painted as such a solid good guy for two novels running now, so it doesn't make sense for him to turn around unless the author has written themselves into a bind and needs to default to the "internal traitor" technique. Part of the issue is probably because Beka has been running around to new locations each book (something I'm on the fence about, as great setups like in Book 1 aren't able to be re-explored and further developed), which means Pierce needs to come up with new baddies each time. I would have liked to see her "seed" a baddie in Book 2, or have introduced a believable character in a Book 2.5 (wonder how differently things would have panned out if this was a quartet?), or written an entirely different Book 2 which allowed more time spent inside Tunstall's head. Which still comes back to the "But Tunstall's a good guy, and Pierce's good guys are ALWAYS good guys..." argument. Hmm. Maybe the bigger issue is that the books are a little disjointed without a significant understory to link the three. Slavery is a good one, but I don't think it was even touched on in Book 2.

Still a lot of her trademark (and beloved) elements like kick-butt heroine, but not up to usual standard and just not as 'great' as her books normally are. I really missed the great setup from Book 1 of the trilogy and though we stepped aside for Book 2, I always thought she'd go back... but she didn't :( I wanted to see more of Goodwin too.

Love Farmer, though :) Wish the series was longer or something just so we could spend more time with him. His flippant humor was the best. Other things I liked - did note the "plot seeding" for other books in her series, liked the time-jumps between novels so we get a bit more 'range' in Beka's activities, liked a return to George Cooper at the end (mirroring the start of Terrier), like Beka, period (a heroine who thinks!). It's so easy to dream of being a noble but Pierce has made it very easy to understand why Beka hates the nobility, and when you've written 4+ series based on characters from/around the nobility, that's a mean feat! The consistent and believable lingo used throughout this series was also appreciated. Oh, and I should mention I love Pounce too. LOVE! Another top-notch character.

So, lots of things to love, several key things to be disappointed in because they weren't used to their full advantage. Still a better-written book by far than a lot of what's out there *cough*Twilight*cough* though.
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