The Hunt is on!
Three years have passed since Beka Cooper almost died in the sewers of Port Caynn, and she is now a respected member of the Provost's Guard. But her life takes an unexpected turn when her fiance is killed on a slave raid. Beka is faced with a mixture of emotions as, unbeknownst to many, she was about to call the engagement off.
It is as Beka is facing these feelings that Lord Gershom appears at her door. Within hours, Beka; her partner, Tunstall; her scent hound, Achoo; and an unusual but powerful mage are working on an extremely secretive case that threatens the future of the Tortallan royal family, and therefore the entire Tortallan government. As Beka delves deeper into the motivations of the criminals she now Hunts, she learns of deep-seated political dissatisfaction, betrayal, and corruption. These are people with power, money, and influence. They are able to hire the most skilled of mages, well versed in the darkest forms of magic. And they are nearly impossible to identify.
This case - a Hunt that will take her to places she's never been - will challenge Beka's tracking skills beyond the city walls, as well as her ability to judge exactly whom she can trust with her life and her country's future.
The end is here.
No, it's not the apocalypse, but it feels pretty darn close right about now. I still can't believe this is the last book in the Beka Cooper trilogy. It felt like there was a huge hole in the center of my heart as soon as I turned the last page because I was so not ready to let go of anybody yet. I'm still not! In fact, I'm probably going to have to reread more Tamora Pierce books pretty soon to fill that gap because, writing this, I feel like I'm about to split in two.
Not cool, Tamora Pierce!
I'm just kidding, I love you. So here's to the first review on this blog of a book by my very author, Tamora Pierce! Yay!
But now on to what I'm actually supposed to be talking about: Mastiff. While I'm obviously not too fond of the fact that this is the last I'll being seeing of Beka, I am pretty happy with how things ended up. Of course I was devastated by the betrayal she faced by someone that should have been too close to hurt her, and I also wish that I could've seen a little more of Rosto, Kora, Aniki, and Goodwin before everything ended, but I'm very proud of Beka and glad that she finally got her happily ever after.
Even though I didn't get to see as many of Beka's old friends as I had hoped, I really enjoyed all of the new faces. First off, Gareth. I know that I didn't get to meet him until the very end, but I have to say, that kid's a boss. Seriously. The little guy's only four years old, but he handled being kidnapped better than many people ten times his age would have. He's so kind to everyone too, especially considering his lineage. He is one of the sweetest, bravest, most determined little boys I've ever had the pleasure of reading about, and I only wish that I could have had more time to spend with him.
I really liked the queen as well. It was very obvious how much she loved her son, and that none of wanting to get him back was a political battle; I know she would have turned over the entire kingdom if she thought it would mean getting to see him again. Their reunion was so sweet, and she always treated Beka like an equal, regardless of whether or not Beka thought she deserved it.
Then there's Farmer. There's no way I could have talked about this book without mentioning him. He's just that awesome. Like Beka, he'll play up the stupid Lower City Dog act to make people underestimate him before completely blowing their minds. Unlike Beka, however, Farmer does it with style. I'm not picking on Beka here, but she just tends to slip into a bit of an accent and act really shy around nobles, whereas Farmer goes full throttle with the whole country bumkin act. I swear, if he said, "Ma allus said...." one more time, I don't think I could have contained the laughter.
And then we have Pounce. Oh, Pounce, Pounce, Pounce, Pounce, Pounce, how I adore you. After Salem from Sabrina the Teenage Witch, I never thought I could love another talking cat so much again, but you completely blow him out of the water (sorry Salem). You are the best character in this book, and you know it. Thank you so much for your meddling, even if it did confine you to the stars for a hundred years. Your smugness will forever live in my heart, and I'm so glad that I at least didn't have to say goodbye to you, Pounce (or should I call you Faithful?).
Overall, the first half was a little slow at times, but still enjoyable, mainly because I loved spending time with all of the characters so much. I probably would have only given this book four stars if it continued on like that, but what came later more than made up for it. By far, the most exciting parts of the book came a little after halfway through. That was when things really started to pick up, and it felt like I had been thrown in the middle of a whirlwind of excitement and suspense. It really never calmed down from there until the very end, and even that may be stretching it. The ending was certainly something huge, but I can't say anything else without spoiling the book for you. I really felt like everything had finally come full circle, especially after going back to George Cooper in the epilogue. It seemed very fitting for him to close things up, especially since he and his mother started Beka's story off in the beginning of Terrier. Oh, back when she was just a Puppy.... it's making me sad just thinking about it. Goodbye Beka! I'll never forget you! Probably because I'll end up rereading your books every year!
Rating: 5 stars
And here are my two favorite, non-spoilery passages because I just couldn't choose between them:
"Lady Sabine's mouth twisted in a bitter smile. "They would rather their women go pure and gentle to the grave than sully themselves with an enemy's blood," she told me.
I gawped at her like a countryman at the fair.
My lady grimaced. "My family had me attend three of the Gentle Mother's services four years ago. Then I threatened to become a prostitute at the Temple of the Mother of Delight. After that, I was left of be ungentle."
"Goddess be thanked," Tunstall said, and spat."
"What do I care if he is a baron? I asked as a priest in Mithran orange and a mot in pale pink robes walked in to stand before the dais. Tortall is lousy with barons. Every time a king wants to thank someone for saving his arse somehow, he names him baron and gives him an acre of rocks.
Did I raise you to be this cynical? Pounce asked me as we all stood for the Mithran's prayer.
You told me it was "worldly," I replied, looking at the floor so as to seem devout. Pounce and I had entertained each other through prayers at Lord Gershom's for years, and had begun again when out Hunts took us to noble houses. You said I needed to be worldly."