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Bloodhound: The Legend of Beka Cooper #2 Paperback – May 25, 2010
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Beka Cooper, the heroine of Terrier, is no longer a Puppy.
She's a Dog now—a full-fledged member of the Provost's Guard, dedicated to keeping peace in Tortall. But there's unrest throughout land. Counterfeit coins are turning up in shops all over the capital city of Corus, and the nation's economy is on the brink of collapse.
The Dogs discover that the counterfeit money seems to originate in Port Caynn. So Beka heads upriver to investigate, traveling with her mentor, Goodwin; Achoo, a hound whose nose is as sharp as her claws; and the pigeon Slapper, who carries the voices of the dead.
In Port Caynn, Beka delves deep into the gambling world, where she meets a charming banking clerk named Dale Rowan. Beka thinks she may be falling for Rowan, but she won't let anything—or anyone—jeopardize her mission. From the Silversmith's Guild to the Provost's House to the city sewers, it won't be enough for Beka to be her usual Terrier self. She'll have to learn from Achoo how to sniff out the criminals—to be a Bloodhound. . . .
- Format: Paperback
- Publication Date: 5/25/2010
- Pages: 576
- Reading Level: Age 12 and Up
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The second book, Bloodhound, is equally absorbing. I won't summarize the plot, as that is covered elsewhere, but I will mention a few things that I love about this particular series (note that these are geared towards current fans of Pierce's Tortall universe):
1.) Since the heroine of Bloodhound lives so many years before the time of Alanna the Lioness, there are key differences between the two timelines. In Beka's time Tortall has slavery and in Alanna's time Tortall does not. Beka's time has Lady Knights and Alanna's time does not. These differences make me anticipate reading how these changes come about.
2.) Beka works in the worst part of the capital city Corus. The world you see through her eyes makes the court world of Alanna and Keladry seem innocent and pampered. And yet, the book is not dark and gritty as you would expect. Seeing things through Beka's perspective gives color, humanity, and compassion to what could have otherwise been a very depressing atmosphere. I found that Beka's book gave the world of Tortall, overall, a greater richness and depth.
3.) From the very first few pages of Terrier, the first book in the series, I expected Beka to eventually end up with the Rouge (romantically). It seemed just perfect, considering Beka is the ancestress of the Rouge that Alanna eventually marries. It made me chuckle. However, Beka refuses to just fall in line with the inevitable plot mechanisms and continues to go her own way throughout Bloodhound, developing other romantic interests and growing as a character. If she ever does end up with the Rouge (which I still root for) it will be a relationship developed over time and requiring a lot of work from both parties - which is much more satisfying, I must admit.
I highly recommend this book to anyone age 10 to 100. It is an absorbing story that blends adventure, detective work, and fantasy. If you are like me, and don't usually like 1st person narratives, give this series a try - it might change your mind.
A note about adult content: Since the book deals with the criminal underworld (albeit a fantasy one) there is some adult content (example: murder), and Beka is involved in adult relationships. In my opinion this is no darker than found in the HP or Twighlight series, but if you are considering this for someone under 6th grade you may want to flip though it and determine your comfort level.
While each of these books (as well as the final one, Mastiff ) can be read as standalone novels, they are much richer if read in chronological order, especially with the help of the appendix of characters and a glossary.