TAMORA PIERCE has completed four series of books set in the fantasy realm of Tortall. Pierce's fast-paced, suspenseful writing and strong, believable heroines have won her much praise: "Emperor Mage" was a 1996 ALA Best Book for Young Adults.
"From the Hardcover edition."
Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, October 1, 2011:
"Pierce has long been lauded for her kickass heroines, and in Beka she has created her most compelling, complicated character...[T]his novel provides both crackerjack storytelling and an endearingly complex protagonist."Booklist, December 1, 2011:
"This concluding title in the Beka Cooper series is the best yet, a tasty blend of detective work, romance, magic, and treachery." "From the Hardcover edition."
Gr 10 Up-This is the final chapter of the series. Although readers unfamiliar with the previous two books are at a disadvantage, a thorough cast of characters and glossary help to get them up to speed. Moreover, Pierce has created a world so fully realized that the language becomes second nature, much like English subtitles for foreign films. Beka Cooper is a fourth-year Dog, the Tortall word for cop, operating in a world in which mages are commonplace and palaces are protected by layers of powerful spells. In Mastiff, a cabal of mages, nobles, and slave traders kidnaps four-year-old Prince Gareth. Beka and her colleagues pursue him using magic; a scent-tracking dog named Achoo; and good, old-fashioned police work. Notwithstanding the many instances of sorcery and butchery necessary in a novel of this type, Mastiff is character-driven rather than action-packed. The language is rich and earthy, adding a feast of curse words to readers' lexicons. The theme of gender roles is central to this book and the others in the trilogy. Beka's skills as a cop and her midden-mouth are nicely contrasted with the noble women who worship the "Great Mother," who demands submissive acceptance of what, in other worlds, are considered "a woman's place." Ambition and duplicity-including a devastating betrayal of trust by one of the main characters-are constant themes. Yet it is also a love story, a buddy book, a picaresque novel, and, of course, a fantasy. A must-have for mature teen collections.-Nina Sachs, Walker Memorial Library, Westbrook, ME (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.