Jake Rideout's Reviews > Mastiff

Mastiff by Tamora Pierce
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Dec 23, 2011

did not like it
Read from December 17 to 21, 2011

** spoiler alert ** You know, the more I think about this book, the less I like it. I was bored for the first 400 pages, then it got good for about 100, then it got horrifically bad, then it ended, then there was a stupid epilogue.

I don't usually post negative reviews, especially of authors who had a major role in shaping me as a reader and writer. Tamora Pierce's Tortall books--the first two quartets, at least--singlehandedly turned me into a lifelong reader. Maybe that's why I was so disappointed in MASTIFF.

My biggest complaint, obviously, was the Tunstall betrayal. I didn't buy it. I still don't. The character at the end of this book is not the same character we've loved for 1200 pages. You can't just take a shining upstanding character and turn him into a traitor. You have to lay groundwork. You have to explain the betrayal before the reader realizes it's happening, otherwise it's just going to come off as a cheap, desperate plot device.

Secondly, this ENTIRE SERIES, including the beginning of MASTIFF, has been leading up to some sort of resolution between Rosto and Beka. We're cheated out of it. Rosto appears on maybe three pages, and instead we're given a relationship that is satisfying but WAY too fast and, again, not really authentic.

I could go on--about the mediocre pacing, the occasional anachronistic language, and the general lack of energy--but honestly, I think my time is better spent finding something better to read.
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03/24 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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message 1: by Redazrael (last edited Jan 15, 2012 03:57PM) (new)

Redazrael I am right with you on this. When the traitor was revealed, I actually put down the book and said, "This is bullshit."

And I was completely disgusted by the way Beka's suspicions regarding the traitor were handled. Out of just three people who could be a traitor, she knows that it's either Tunstall, a kind-hearted, upstanding man of the law who loves her like his daughter; Lady Sabine, a good and unswervingly loyal friend and a knight of the realm; or Farmer, this guy she barely knows. So who does she decide is least likely to be the traitor?

Farmer. Her effing love interest. Oh, but it's not because she loves him! Look, there's no love yet! It's not because he's her future love interest that she doesn't suspect him! She just can't see him as the Judas, you know.

Even though eliminating him as a suspect means that she's condemning one of her two dearest friends as a traitor.

Screw that shit.

message 2: by Jake (new) - rated it 1 star

Jake Rideout AGREED.

message 3: by Sarah (new) - added it

Sarah I loved Terrier, despite its faults, was highly disappointed in Bloodhound, and I have been very reluctant to even start this book. I was hoping for a Rosto/Beka relationship since close to page 1 of Rosto's existence. I started to read this book and had to google a character because I had no clue who he was, and ended up stumbling upon some spoilers that I think mean I won't read the book at all - the very things you have pointed out in your review. I love the characters of Tunstall and Sabine, and I do NOT like how things were handled - I don't even have to read that to know it. It feels like Bloodhound and Mastiff aren't even Tamora Pierce books or like the big break she took between Terrier and Bloodhound made her forget how she'd set up the first book. Thanks for your review, I think I'll return the book without reading it now. A first for a Tamora Pierce book for me, and it's a painful decision to make (but reading it sounds more painful).

message 4: by Jake (new) - rated it 1 star

Jake Rideout I know! What's the deal, Tamora Pierce? I wish I could go back and choose not to read this book, because I don't think I can ever trust her as an author again. Very, very sad.

message 5: by Sarah (new) - added it

Sarah I find myself scared for the fate of any future books she writes/has written that I haven't yet read. I have been looking forward to the Tris at Lightsbridge book ever since it was revealed that it was planned, and I find myself feeling less and less hopeful about it as the years go on. I really hate it when a series or trilogy feels very disjointed/not even related to each other... unless it succeeds masterfully, as I feel Garth Nix's Sabriel, Lirael, and Abhorsen "trilogy" did. The disjointedness is pretty brief, but I don't know if that makes the "trilogy" still a trilogy to me. The time leap between the first two books originally bothered me, especially with the main character change, but I have truly enjoyed those books. With the long break/disjointedness in the Beka Cooper trilogy, I just can't excuse it :(. Like you said, makes me not really trust Tamora Pierce as an author any more. I wonder if between her being older, possibly having health problems, might mean that she might not be able to keep up with her previous writing pace and sustain the quality she's known for. I don't know. I don't know what's going on, but I do remember hearing something about a car wreck in between the first two Beka books :(.

message 6: by Jake (new) - rated it 1 star

Jake Rideout Yeah, she had to have reconstructive surgery on her knee (or maybe both knees?) and asked to push the MASTIFF deadline back while she recovered. They pushed it back once or twice but they wouldn't let her delay it as long as she wanted. At least I think that's what happened...I can't quite remember. I was a bookseller at the time, so I remember that the release date kept changing.

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