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Mastiff (Beka Cooper)
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The Hunt is on! Three years have passed since Beka Cooper almost died in the sewers of Port Caynn. Now her life takes an unexpected turn when her fiance is killed on a slave raid. Then Lord Gershom himself appears at her door and in the span of hours Beka is plunged into a case that threatens the future of the Tortallan royal family and therefore the Tortallan government itself. This Hunt will take Beka to places she's never been and challenge her tracking skills beyond the city walls, as well as her ability to judge exactly who she can trust with her life and her country's future.
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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.

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