[discussion] Mastiff by Tamora Pierce

Haven’t read it? Check out my review here!

My favourite part of books is discussing them with other fans. Because I want my reviews to remain spoiler-free as they’re more likely to be read by those who haven’t read the book yet, I’m also planning to post “book discussions,” for most of the books I review.  Obviously, these book discussions will contain spoilers and much flailing. Maybe some intellectual-like discussion…but mostly flailing.First off can I just again say: I FREAKING LOVE TAMORA PIERCE.

1. In the beginning was I the only one confused. I had no idea who Holborn was and as I have a tendency to forget characters I was sure I was forgetting him. It was really different for there to be a love story that we had missed. It reminds me that we are seeing slices of Beka’s life, and not all of it. There are chunks we don’t see, and this was the piece you would normally see in YA, but not in Pierce’s novels. Pierce doesn’t see women as only love interests and fuck I love her so much.

2. Tunstall’s betrayal DESTROYED ME. It was so brilliant and freaking heart wrenching because I LOVED HIM and he changed but it was so RIGHT. kjldadkfasl I just can’t. It’s SO GOOD!

3. As for the love interest, I could have cared less about Farmer to be honest. Like he was cool and everything, but I was so much interested in Beka’s personal journey: how she was dealing with Holborn’s death, the conflict of being a strong women in a society that is slowly becoming the one we will see in the Lioness quartet, etc. Did I mention HOW MUCH I LOVE TAMORA PIERCE?

4. Though, I must admit I was disappointed by the lack of Rosto. I know he wasn’t at all necessary to the plot, but I couldn’t help but hold out hope that SOMEHOW Beka and Rosto would end up together. HOWEVER, I’m also glad they didn’t end up together because it was such a stronger and more realistic and more interesting and more complex story that way.


What did you think? Did the elements that strayed from the regular YA combination throw you off? What’s your favourite of Pierce’s series? And do you know any similar authors because I need more authors like Tamora Pierce in my life.


About megtao

Student. Writer. Nerdfighter. Fights for love, justice, and awesome.
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5 Responses to [discussion] Mastiff by Tamora Pierce

  1. Chris says:

    I didn’t remember Holborn either. It was really interesting how everyone was telling her how sad she was, but she wasn’t at all so then she felt bad for not being sad.

    I was so disappointed by Tunstall. He was always her hero. I got a little twisted at the end. He took the offer of the people at the castle just to take their money and told the group he had taken their money, so why did he have to do anything else? Didn’t he already have the money? The very worst part was the slave boy who was brave enough to leave. He didn’t have to die! He was the best character in the whole book.

    Farmer’s name is awful. I guess he had to stay distant to keep up the illusion that he couldn’t be trusted, but I really liked how he did magic. There hasn’t been much use of magic in these Beka books so I couldn’t remember all of the rules, but I liked how he saw magic strings and grids. It’s similar to some of the magic in the Talking to Dragons books by Patricia Wrede. I wanted more Farmer and more of his magic. It is great that Beka stays on task and worries about her job instead of her love life. It’s realistic and also sets a good example. The typical YA mooning gets really old.

    I haven’t read all of the Tamora Pierce books, so the prelude in Terrier and the afterward in this book went over my head. The point is that Beka is related to George who marries the Lioness? It took me several tries to get into Terrier because I was listening to the audio and the intro was so obscure. I thought the whole book would be that non-story.

    The Beka books are my favorite Pierce, though I also like the Protector of the Small. I don’t like when the gods come into the story too much. I’ve done most of the books in audio, and The Magic Circle and Immortals are full-cast with Tamora Pierce narrating. I just can’t listen to them. The actors go a little overboard with their emoting.

    I’ve enjoyed the Patricia Wrede books, but you’re right. Tamora Pierce hits a nerve that most authors don’t reach. She sticks to the characters and doesn’t let the plot take over. My other favorite authors of this type are Scott Westerfeld and Garth Nix.

  2. megtao says:

    I loved the what people expect vs. how Beka truly feels things because it makes you think about how being in that relationship must have been like for her. And I’m sure that’s a topic many people can relate to, either because they are in an emotionally abusive relationship like Beka was or any other relationship where the person you see is different than the one that the world sees.

    The slave boy dying just showed how far Tunstall had fallen. It was so sad because Tunstall was such a strong character, and his motivations are so real! And in a way an imitation of the Holborn/Beka relationship which was just so, so brilliant!

    Yes, yes, yes to all of this.

    Ohh spoilers XD You should have read the Lioness first! Go read it right now XD XD I wasn’t a huge fan of Protector when I was younger, but I think I need to reread them because a lot of people have told me that’s their favourite quartet.

    Yes, I love Scott Westerfeld and Garth Nix for the same reason. You don’t always get what you want, but you get the truth.

  3. Gah, this book. GAH. TUNSTALL. MY HEART. Everytime it was hinted at throughout the book I dismissed it. Because TUNSTALL. HE WAS WONDERFUL. He took care of Beka when she was a Puppy, and if I remember right, he’s one of the opening letters/diary entries that we see in Terrier. My heart. My heart. It broke for so many people. But as much as my heart broke for Beka it broke in equal amounts for Lady Sabine. They were so perfect together, but he just wanted too much.

    Holborn, by the way? You are not alone. I read the previous two books around a month before this one and I couldn’t remember him either. If he’s mentioned at all, it must be vague as hell.

    Ahhhh, the building to the Lioness society. LOVED IT. Loved every part of it, especially including Beka’s defiance. How many times I wanted to mutter “Go, girl,” while reading doesn’t bear counting. I also loved how knowing how things become in the Lioness Quartet and even the Immortals (no slaves/Stormwings/Mother Goddess) really show how well Pierce builds a world. It all comes together so perfectly and really shines.

    And the romance. I’ll be honest, I’m usually a die hard for the first love interest I see. I had a really hard time getting over Alanna/Jonathon in the Lioness Quartet. Doesn’t bother me as much these days. I’ve grown up enough to see that first loves aren’t usually last loves. But there’s a couple reasons that Rosto/Beka never made me want to cry thinking about them not getting together. First off, much as I liked Rosto, we see him the most in Terrier, and not so much in the other two, so I didn’t grow TOO overly attached. Second… he’s the Rogue and we know how committed Beka is to being a Dog. It never would have worked, so I didn’t let my hopes get up on that front too much. Her romances in all of the books worked for me because they felt realistic and true to her character.

    And now I’m going to fangirl a little more: GAH THIS BOOK.

    • megtao says:


      Tortall is a real place to me. The world building is just so wonderful.

      I’m still sad about Jonathan for real ;A; but I also love George, so I’m okay with it. But it was the George/Allanah relationship that had me hoping for Rosto/Beka working out SOMEHOW. I mean, Rosto could give up his place as Rogue and they could be together, right? And Beka’s friend and Rosto’s second hand make it work. I love people that shouldn’t be together and end up together, as much of a cliche it is. But I also love Pierce for not using that cliche. I think Rosto will always be in love with Beka (omg the scene where he’s at her apartment in the beginning of this book ;A;) but because of who Beka is, it wouldn’t have worked.


  4. Haha, not gonna lie, I did think that maybe that would wind up happening a couple of times so that she would be mirroring the future with the past.

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