E.L.'s Reviews > Mastiff

Mastiff by Tamora Pierce
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Jan 14, 2012

did not like it
bookshelves: 2012-reads-and-rereads
Read on January 14, 2012

**Update 2014** I was thinking about this book the other day, and realized that I neglected to mention something very important in this review: I loved Beka, and I loved her friends, and I loved this world and the stories Pierce was weaving in it. My disappointment wouldn't have been anywhere near so profound if this story had come from a lesser story-teller. Also, I think the message(s) Pierce was trying to convey in this story are tremendously important, and I do understand why she tried to fit the story and characters around the message, and it's a pity that it fell short. She is usually a master at weaving important messages seamlessly into a story, but for whatever reason, it didn't work this time. And for one book out of her many to fall flat? She's still got a marvelous record, and I have no problems, now, with reading her other work.**

*2012* I was bitterly disappointed in Pierce's latest offering. Not just because of the surprise twist near the end, that mangled an already-established character beyond recognition, but because none of the characters lived up to their former selves, nor did the story match the other two in this series.

Beka's voice was dull and lifeless in this story that dragged on and went nowhere. From the quiet but determined young woman of the former two books, she came across in "Mastiff" as insensate and apathetic. Not only were we presented with her as the victim of an emotionally abusive relationship, without any explanation as to why she would let herself get caught in such a trap (nor why her friends would let her do so), we were handed her new relationship and told it was good, without any reason shown as to why. In real life, that would be called a rebound, and it would not, in fact, be healthy; nor would entering into a serious relationship with someone you have only known under stressful and abnormal circumstances be healthy. Both relationships were utterly out of character for sensible, practical Beka.

We got to see far too little of any of the characters we came to appreciate in "Terrier," or new friends made in "Bloodhound," and none of the introduced characters here (including the mage Farmer) lived up to Beka's former friends.

As for the story itself, where it didn't drag it clunked. It meandered around and preached without ever showing anything interesting happening (almost everything interesting took place off stage) or giving sufficient motivations for the plot. Points brought up in the first two books had no resolution here, and the events of this book were not given enough foreshadowing earlier in the series.

I have been a fan of Pierce ever since discovering her "Protector of the Small" series, and Beka was my favorite character after Kel. Not only has "Mastiff" turned me off Beka for good, it has turned me off Pierce. To see her betray her characters in such a fashion has left me with no interest in reading any new works from her ever again.
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08/27/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Glitterfairy I feel very similarly. I'm not turned off Pierce entirely, but I would hope her next offering regains her previous ground, otherwise I will be joining you. :(


Jenn I'm so glad I'm not alone in my disappointment. I felt almost blindsided by Beka's relationship with Farmer. I didn't see any nearly as much buildup for it as I saw for other relationships in previous books. As for Holborn, I cringed every time he was mentioned.


message 3: by E.L. (new) - rated it 1 star

E.L. Jenn wrote: "I'm so glad I'm not alone in my disappointment. I felt almost blindsided by Beka's relationship with Farmer. I didn't see any nearly as much buildup for it as I saw for other relationships in previ..."

The whole Holborn-Farmer matter was immensely frustrating. And after building up the romantic tension between Beka and Rosto for two books, that just fizzled as though it had never existed. Which might be more accurate to real life, but doesn't work so well in fiction. I didn't necessarily want Beka and Rosto together, but we really needed to see some resolution between them, at least.


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