Friday, February 7, 2014

Mastiff (Beka Cooper #3)

by Tamora Pierce
New York : Random House, 2011.

Even though I read Terrier in 2010 and Bloodhound in 2011, in took me until late 2013 to finally read the third book in the trilogy. I'm not sure why, except that for some reason in my head I'd finished the series. Now, I finally truly have!

In the final book of the Beka Cooper trilogy, Beka and her partner Tunstall are called away secretly by Lord Gershom to investigate the kidnapping of the Crown Prince of the realm. Her scent hound Achoo is needed, and they are helped by a mage named Farmer who seems out of his element but is one of the few who can be trusted in what seems more and more like a political play by who knows how many mages angered by the king's potential oversight in their craft.

I read the other two books over two years ago, but fortunately didn't suffer much for it. I could generally remember who characters were and what their relationships were to each other; except for the very beginning, the story itself was fairly self-contained, so it didn't matter that I didn't remember 100% of the events in the previous two books and what I really needed to know was introduced in a way that I could follow easily. Beka has developed quite a bit from the shy Puppy she was in Terrier, and it was fun to see her really grow into her own here as a full partner in a Hunt. I don't think the journal format works as well as a simple first-person narrator would have, as mentions of when Beka's finding time to write in her journal or comments that these were written much later than events just became clunky and distracting from the narrative. Even so, this series is a good strong fantasy that I would have no trouble recommending to a variety of readers.

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