Beka Cooper is one of Pierce's most compelling protagonists because she is a real girl in a way that Alanna, Aly and Dane. Her trilogy has the greatest visceral appeal to a modern pre-teen, I think. Perhaps because it is the most contemporary and the genre has changed so much since Pierce began publishing in the early 80s. Mastiff's strength is in its portrayal of Beka growing into an adult. Her career as a Dog is at the center of the action, of course, but her emotional maturity and sense of choice and control are featured in her friendships and romances as much as her work.
Yes. Absolutely. I discovered Pierce as an adult. Somehow, when I was 11-16, I was so busy with the Prydain Chronicles, LotR, the Katherine Kurtz and Katharine Kerr that I never even heard of Pierce. I wish that weren't true! Keladry of Mindelan, in particular, could have been such a hero and inspiration and friend to shy-little-girl-me. I have mainly listened to her books through Audible so I've read all of them except the Circle of Magic, because those are full-cast productions, which drive me up the wall.
Susan Denaker's performance was solid. Her voice has a lovely pitch, which is definitely a matter of taste, but it worked for me. She's very good at conveying emotional tones without moving from narration to acting, and without overselling or straining. Her use of accents was occasionally distracting, though.
This ties the series together nicely. No follow-up is needed.
This was the weakest book of the series, which is disappointing in a closer. The story was simply less rich and engrossing than the previous two installments.
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