FICTION

Mastiff

. 978-0-37581-470-9.
COPY ISBN
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
When a noble couple's son is kidnapped into slavery, Beka and her fellow Guards must retrieve him. Their journey reveals--and ultimately ends--the oppression of slaves in Tortall. In her third high-fantasy adventure, Pierce's tough leading lady once again proves her mettle.

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