Beka Cooper: Mastiff… The Review

I had to re-title this one, since I mistitled my announcement. I was so excited about the book when I heard about the date, etc. This is obvious if you saw my post about it before it even came on the market. Imagine my dismay, then, when I report that I didn’t like the ending at all. That’s an understatement: the ending was crushing. I won’t give it away, because that would be mean. That said, I will comment on it, anyway.

The beginning of the book is great. The prince has been captured and Beka works for their Majesties themselves. How exciting! A big adventure ensues with mystery and mages.  We travel along and fight bravely, even bringing back the mighty Sabine. I enjoyed all of that immensely. Then, in the end a painful resolution. It felt as if someone else picked up that last little bit of the book to finish it, but had never read any of the other books. It was out of plot and out of character.

There is a lot that I learned from that as a writer, and I’m going to talk about that instead of themes, since I can’t resolve the book in this post.

Writing lesson #1: Set up your plot and the characters in it. It’s best to know where you’re going, or at least go back and set it up enough for your resolution to be plausible.

Writing lesson #2: If you make a sudden, drastic change in theme, tone, or character, your readers may not accept it. At all. And be a traumatized.

Writing lesson #3: Sometimes it’s necessary to traumatize the reader, typically in the process of traumatizing your character. That’s fine, but, as we say in therapy “be there to put them back together enough…” to close the book in the end.

Writing lesson #4: If you want to wreak havoc on rules #2 and 3, do something to set us up for it, thematically at least. Anything.

Writing lesson #5: Don’t break these rules until you are well-established. Will I stop reading Tamora Pierce? No. I won’t. I will overcome my anger and keep reading her books. I may even go to signings. If I do, I will have to ask about this ending. That’s the thing about having a canon- people will trust you and feel certain you had a reason for breaking rules, even if they don’t like them.


Inklings Less Recommended (but definitely read the first two!)

Ages: Definitely for ‘tweens and up. Some of the images are graphic, and the end is again, traumatic.