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Mastiff (Beka Cooper #3)

[A quick note: I have fallen in love with this series. I knew this was the final book, and that I ought to take it slow. That didn’t happen. And how amazing are these new covers? I like the old covers, but these new covers are so classy. This book made my week better. It gave me something to look forward to each evening. It enriched my life. That’s the best we could ask for out of a read.]

(5/5⭐️) “Sweetheart, never listen to what my enemies say. They're very confused people. I know they are because I've spent years making them that way.”—(Farmer)Tamora Pierce

Beka Cooper is back for a final hurrah and the hunt of a lifetime. At a crucial time in her life, she is recruited for another high profile case—the biggest of the series. Three years have passed since the Port Cayann incident. Beka has become a dog with a big reputation. Beka needs this hunt to escape, to get her mind off what happened to her fiancé, who died in a slave rade. She’s buried under guilty feelings because she was about to break off the engagement before he died. Lord Gershom comes to Beka late in the night, right after the funeral, whisking her away from the capital. Beka, her partner Tunstall, Achoo the scent hound, and a provost mage named Farmer, head to the Summer Palace where they discover that the young prince has been kidnapped by a slave train. Half the palace has been butchered. Tracking the prince takes Beka’s team deep into the wilderness where they discover a treasonous plot to bring down the kingdom and put a new ruler on the throne. Betrayal is lurking behind every corner, even within Beka’s team. Beka doesn’t know who to trust, even as love begins to blossom between her and Farmer. When it becomes clear that she can only trust herself, she must make a heartbreaking decision or risk failing the kingdom entirely.

What an incredible finale to the final installment of the Beka Cooper series! I still can’t stop thinking about the story. Knowing it was the last, I intended to read this book slowly, to savor it. Instead, I attacked it with a hunger that devoured. I made it a point to go to be early each night to have more time to read, and stayed up far to late to finish it. Mastiff is one of those books you can’t stop thinking about while you’re away from it, and can’t put down once you pick it up.

Spoilers ahead.

This was more heavily a plot driven story, with a plot that kept me guessing, driving me through the book. There were enough twists and turns to shock me, to keep me guessing. However, there was one character’s decisions that helped drive the plot forward. Tunstall made a number of decisions unknown to me, that really set things in motion. Tunstall is the first character I’ve read with a negative character arc. A negative arc! Wow. I didn’t see that coming.

Pierce graces us with a some wonderfully constructed personalities. Trained by the best, Beka’s character is strong and confidence inspiring. She’s someone I can rely on, with a solid moral compass, and an unyielding will to fight. I love everything about her and her sharp mind. It was easy to see why Farmer was so taken with her. Farmer’s character was freaking awesome! We’re made to think he’s some cracknob in the beginning. But he’s incredibly intelligent, and a great match for Beka. The two of them together and their developing romance was really sweet. I was rooting for them by the end. I loved their happily ever after. However, I wish I could have seen more of them together. The romantic side of me is STILL pining after them, wishing there was another book with them. I want to read about their future together. Instead, I’ll just have to imagine the rest of their lives.

“He liked me to help him when he did things. He explained what I didn't know, warned me when to stand aside, never told me to get out of his way because he could do it faster, and thanked me for helping. There were moments when he needed me to rescue him, and he never blamed me for it, or got angry about it.”

The ending of this book was shocking and heartbreaking. I was pretty emotionally devastated by what happened. It didn’t help that I finished it after midnight and couldn’t sleep afterward because if. While there was plenty of foreshadowing, and I had a feeling of what would happen, I hoped I would be wrong. When I closed the book, I was angry with Tamora Pierce. I‘m still mad at her. I understand why she did what she did, and I understand why this particular character did what he did, but it still felt a little out of character for him. Especially after developing a strong relationship with him the past two books. When it happened, I just didn’t want to believe it. I kept waiting for the “just kidding” moment as I read in disbelief. WHYYYYYY. This is me crying. However, if it hadn’t happened, I don’t think the story would have been as shocking. It wouldn’t have been as emotional. It was necessary for the plot, but that doesn’t mean I must like it!

There was some good in the ending. Beka and Farmer, for one. But also, the end to the slave trade in the kingdom. That felt like a huge WIN. I loved that Beka, a single small person in a big world, was able to do something that made such a HUGE difference. Yes, there will be implications, and we must imagine what those will be since there are no more books. However, SHE DID IT!

And finally, I must mention the animals.

“A cat understands how to be pleasant in the morning. He doesn't talk.”

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Pounce, the constellation cat. Pounce has been a favorite of mine throughout the series. In this book, Pounce played a much bigger role. He even interfered in Beka’s affairs when he probably shouldn’t have. As a result, he must pay the price, but not until the book’s end. Pounce always has the best things to say.

Gods! What an incredible trilogy. This series is one I plan to re-read when I get a chance. I want to immerse myself in Beka’s world. I enjoy spending time there. As to Tamora Pierce’s other books, yes, I’ll be giving those a read too. I hope I enjoy them as much as I did Beka Cooper.

I highly recommend this crime solvers fantasy series. HIGHLY.


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