Wednesday, February 11, 2015
What just happened??
Mastiff by Tamora Pierce provides a less than satisfactory ending to The Hunt Records.
So, before I turn this into a rant, let me give the people who care a quick recap. Beka Cooper is one of the finest Dogs in the Provost's Guard. It's been three years since the end of Bloodhound, and she has only become more renowned with her partners, Tunstall, and Achoo, her scent hound. This book features the three being joined by a Mage to find something that's been taken from the rulers of the realm.
MAJOR SPOILERS FROM THIS POINT FORWARD.
I seriously can't talk about this book without spoiling it, because I am so furious.
First of all, the book opens with Beka's boyfriend/fiancee being buried. He has never shown up in the previous books and it's very very jarring. Then we find out that she didn't love him in the first place? And he was sort of abusive? And we're supposed to believe that Beka would have stayed with him and let it get to the point where she would have allowed that? No. Not ever in a million years. Beka might be shy, but she has never been one to stand for abuse. That's a clearly consistent character trait. And I also refuse to believe that none of her friends would have noticed that. They're very protective over Beka and they would have.
Before we go any farther, I have to admit that I ship Beka and Rosto like no other. In my mind, there was no doubt that they would eventually get together. That's what I expected from this book.
Instead, the mage is introduced. Farmer Cape. Yes, his name is Farmer. No, that's not his real name. That is literally a name he chose for himself. But don't worry he changes it to Farmer Cooper at the end. LIKE WHAT?!?! THE CAPE PART WASN'T THE PROBLEM?!?!
Anyway, Farmer Cape is just your average humble country-bumpkin mage, no power here, no sirree. That's the act he chooses anyway. And why so many people believe that is beyond me, but that's a different matter. Anyway, Farmer and Beka fall in love. And by the end of the book they're getting married. But how they manage to procreate if she has to say "Farmer" in bed is beyond me. Like the thought of that just makes me keep giggling hysterically.
But those aren't the worst part of the book. The worst part is that halfway through we find out there's a traitor in their midst! Is it Farmer Cape, who Beka is so so so in love with (don't question it, she just is)? Is it Sabine, the ladyknight who has always been dedicated and honorable? Is it Tunsall, who has been a Dog for years and years and has always done what's right?
If you guessed Tunstall, who was never characterized as being a turncoat, you were right! And it's because he doesn't feel worthy of Sabine. WHAT A CROCK OF BULL. Sabine has already declared that she loves him. She's been by his side for like over 4 years. She doesn't want to get married, so that's why they haven't done so. But Tunstall has apparently decided to neglect all of his characterization and is ready to kill a four year old. Yeah, I don't believe that in the least.
Finally, the writing just deteriorated in the last five or six chapters. As soon as Beka and Farmer had declared their love for each other, Beka called Farmer "my man" like every time she referenced him. Vomit. And then she called the kidnapped and recovered four year old "the little old man" consistently. Which was embarrassing and also cringe-worthy.
It's hard because I want to love this book. I adored the first one, I really enjoyed the second one, but this one just as awful. I was going to give it a solid three stars, but after writing this review, I honestly can't go higher than two. What happened, Pierce??
That time together was still worth some grief. And the guild is still heavy, even if your love has turned to hate or dislike.
You're alive--enjoy that. You're alive and you have friends and family who love you.
You didn't even like him, not at first, not by the end. You just loved him for a short while.
Each of us has a power, a kind of magic. We spend it somehow as we live, in great and lesser ways.
What a person does is worthy of respect. Not the social gain that can be had, because there isn't any. Not the power over great lords and governments, because there isn't any.
Everything looks peaceful when it's not on top of you.