21 January 2012

What I'm Reading: Mastiff by Tamora Pierce

This week, I'm reading Mastiff by Tamora Pierce.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

The Legend of Beka Cooper gives Tamora Pierce's fans exactly what they want—a smart and savvy heroine making a name for herself on the mean streets of Tortall's Lower City—while offering plenty of appeal for new readers as well.

Beka and her friends will face their greatest and most important challenge ever when the young heir to the kingdom vanishes. They will be sent out of Corus on a trail that appears and disappears, following a twisting road throughout Tortall. It will be her greatest Hunt—if she can survive the very powerful people who do not want her to succeed in her goal.

I started reading Tamora Pierce's books way back in middle school (almost 10 years ago, wow!).  I started with Alanna, and have read every Tamora Pierce book since then.  I figured that by college, I would move past her books and find new authors to read, but the stories are so captivating, and Mastiff is no different.

My favorite part of Tamora Pierce's books overall, but in particular Mastiff is the character development.  Even though the story is told in a first person voice (Beka, the main character, is keeping a journal, which is what we are reading), all of the main characters- humans and animals alike- have distinct personalities, interactions with other characters, and their own quirks.  I won't reveal too much of the plot, but like in most Tamora Pierce novels, the characters in Mastiff find themselves in a number of extremely stressful and dangerous situations.  As a result, the characters must react and make spontaneous decisions.  Each character reacts in their own way, and then must deal with the consequences of their decisions with the other characters.  Their interactions seem genuine and real.  I love that even though I am reading a fantasy novel, I can relate to the characters and believe what they are doing.

In addition to the characters we know and love from the previous books in the Beka Cooper series, Tamora Pierce introduces some new characters in Mastiff who are just as deep as the returning cast.  My favorite new character is Farmer, a mage who joins Beka and Tunstall early on in their Hunt.  He has so many levels to his personality, and I just want to keep reading to find out more about him.  In addition, I love his flirty side... ;-)

It's been years since the last book in the Beka Cooper series came out, I know, but if you loved Tamora Pierce in the past, I highly recommend picking up Mastiff and diving right back in to the series!

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