THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS AND ANGER…PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK
(Also, I posted this review on Goodreads first, but thought I’d post it here too)
I HAVE NEVER BEEN SO ANGRY IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. IF YOU FOLLOW ME ON INSTAGRAM, YOU PROBABLY SAW MY STORY WHERE I CHUCKED THIS BOOK AT A DOOR. HEAR ME OUT:
I am a huge Tamora Pierce fan. After reading Harry Potter, she was the one who introduced me to a whole new world of fantasy with strong female main characters. I had her books during those critical years (11-13) when you’re growing and changing and lots of crazy stuff is happening, and you don’t know where you fit in all of it. I looked up to her characters. I wanted to be like Kel, Alanna, Daine, and Aly when I grew up.
I didn’t get around to reading Beka Cooper’s books till now. This is my first time reading them and how I enjoyed the first two books!!! But this one was such a let down, especially near the end. I love Tamora Pierce and I don’t think I’ll ever not love her. But this book didn’t need to be written. Or if it did, at least not this way.
~ SPOILERS ~
Starting with the first thing I didn’t like – the pacing and the setting. IT FELT SO SLOW. I’m sorry, but it was literally the same thing. Achoo sniffs around…finds the scent…they run/ride all day…stop somewhere…meet the bad guys…get attacked…escape…REPEAT. Okay, maybe I’m being a bit harsh. I guess it wasn’t all that boring, and they did uncover a lot of stuff that was really cool, but I think I just missed the city setting. I got so used to it in Terrier and Bloodhound, that Mastiff felt kind of out of place. I mean it was cool seeing another part of Tortall and getting to interact and learn more about the nobles, but something felt different. There wasn’t that charm that was in Terrier and Bloodhound. There wasn’t that sense of excitement or something. I can’t put my finger on it. This book just felt long. And it dragged in areas. Ugh…I don’t know what else to say.
FARMER. Okay, so I like him. Actually, I LOVE him. He’s my cute little chipmunk (cause he likes nuts and I just had my wisdom teeth removed and looked like a chipmunk for a few days)! He’s funny, doesn’t take himself seriously, he’s humble, and just plain adorable! Only thing I didn’t like…”I love you”.
So Holden dies at the beginning, which was such a shock to me cause like “WHO’S HOLDEN???”. And then we find out that “Oh nvm, Beka didn’t really like him and was going to break off the engagement anyway” ??? Why add Holden if he isn’t even that essential to the plot. Like I get it’s because of his death that Beka is put on the Hunt, but I’m sure you could come up with a million other reasons. A death of someone you don’t even love anymore isn’t that important. It doesn’t change or develop Beka’s character in anyway. But I digress…
So Holden is dead…who cares…and Beka meets Farmer and she’s hesitant which is so like her. And she gets to know him during the Hunt and starts to like him and I start to like him and I’m squealing the entire time. And then the barn thing happens and he kisses her and I’m like “THAT IS SO ADORABLE”. But then the prison thing happens…Imagine you have a jug of water and an empty cup and you start to pour the water into the cup slowly. But like halfway, you’re like “*@!%, who gives a crap!” and you dump all the water out of the jug into the cup and it overflows and spills everywhere and there’s a huge mess…do you get where I’m going??? That’s what it felt like. Like the slow, burning relationship that was being created, turning into INSTALOVE. Like I get Beka and Farmer have feelings towards each other. But to go from that to “I FRICKIN LOVE YOU??!!!” Sorry, but NOPE.
(Also, on a side note. Why do we have a different love interest in each book? I mean if Farmer was introduced earlier, it would have been a much better transition.)
Anyway, so that instalove, I wasn’t happy about that. But their relationship is cute, and the ending was pretty perfect. I did feel as if Beka changed a bit in that scene when Farmer gives her the moonstone necklace and earrings – like it didn’t seem like her for a second – but I’m not going to think about it.
My last complaint and the BIGGEST complaint, is Tunstall.
I don’t know what to say. Did I expect it? NOPE. What was I expecting? Oh, Elyot disguised himself as Tunstall at certain parts – like when he adds the badge thing to Farmer’s saddle and at the end, etc. WAS I EXPECTING TRAITOR TO BE WRITTEN ALL OVER TUNSTALL’S FACE???? NOOOOOOOOOOO.
I don’t think I’ve ever been so mad in my entire life. HOW??? Look at Terrier and Bloodhound. HOW. HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE? Yes, I get it that people change. That the Lower City is a hard place and coves and mots can turn on one another in a blink of an eye. BUT TUNSTALL? Do you all remember how he’s one of the best Dogs? Do you remember how he helped and trained Beka? HE LOVES SABINE! And yeah, I know he didn’t think he was good enough for her, but it didn’t seem like it was so bad that he would go against Goodwin, Gershom, and the KING, just to marry Sabine!!?!! Like, I’m 100% sure that the guilt would have eaten him alive and he would have confessed to Sabine that he killed Beka and Gareth. AND WHAT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED THEN?
UGH. I’m so mad. I’m sorry. I don’t know what happened. I don’t get it. This ruined all the character building that Tunstall went through. It ruins him so much. And it hurts cause I love him as much as I love Goodwin and Sabine and Rosto and Kora and Aniki and Pounce and Achoo and Gershom and Dale.
And he just dies. On his own. With no one there to hold his hand. And he lies to himself before his soul leaves to the Peaceful Realms. NO. I just want to forget this happened. I just want to imagine that it wasn’t Tunstall, but Elyot or some other stupid mage disguised as him. That he didn’t betray Beka and Sabine and the realm…I. hate. this. so. much.
I want to give this book a 1 star. But I’m not going to because Beka, Farmer, Sabine, Achoo, and Pounce. Also Tunstall the majority of the book, except for last 30 pages or so. I still loved the plot, even though it was slow and the setting was so different. I loved the political intrigue, the rebellion, all of that. I loved how this focused so much on slaves, especially after seeing them mentioned so often in the other books and knowing how much Beka hated the slave traders. Seeing them free and slavery being abolished made me so proud! Also, that glimpse of George, pre-Song-of-the-Lioness has me so excited to reread the series. I’m just going to try and move on I guess.