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Bloodhound (The Legend of Beka Cooper, Book 2) Hardcover – April 14, 2009
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From School Library Journal
Grade 7 Up—Fans of Pierce's medieval fantasy police-procedural series will love this book as much as Terrier (Random, 2006). Beka, 17, is serving her first year as a Dog (police officer) in the Provost's Guard. She and her mentor and old partner, Goodwin, are sent from Corus to Port Caynn to try to discover the source of the counterfeit silver coins that are flooding the region, causing soaring grain prices and riots in Corus. Beka is accompanied by Achoo, the scent hound she rescued from its abusive handler. While in Port Caynn, she and Goodwin tangle with Pearl, Queen of the Thieves, and her crew. Beka falls for Dale, a handsome and charming gambler and bank courier who may be in league with Pearl. The action drags a bit in the middle to focus on the romance but makes up for it in the end. Pierce vividly imagines this world in which police procedures are different, yet similar to those of today. Ponce, Beka's wise cat, who is also a God, is mostly absent but Beka's other unusual magical sources of information-pigeons inhabited by talking ghosts of the dead and spirits in spinning dust funnels—continue to add to the series' appeal. Beka is as headstrong and feisty as ever and frequently makes errors in judgment but is willing to learn from her mistakes. She truly earns the nickname Bloodhound as she faithfully narrates her story through journal entries.—Sharon Rawlins, New Jersey State Library, Trenton
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Readers unfamiliar with the first book in the Beka Cooper trilogy, Terrier (2006), will be temporarily confused by this follow-up’s cast of characters and colorful slang, such as “cove” for man and “mot” for woman, but this teen police procedural stands on its own. Sixteen-year-old rookie policewoman Beka and her temporary partner, Clary, are sent to Port Caynn to investigate the source of counterfeit coins that have begun to appear in the markets and taverns. The wealth of detail, shared in diary format, occasionally threatens to overwhelm the book’s pacing and action, but quirky, endearing characters save the story. Grades 6-8. --Cindy Welch
Top customer reviews
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.
Bloodhound is an excellent continuance to Beka's story and intriguing to see Beka continue to grow as a Dog. While I was sad to miss out of the majority of the characters from Terrier, it is a great opportunity to delve into Port Caynn as we haven't before in the Tortall universe. Bloodhound also brings us Beka's first real love, and along with it its ups and downs. While I was disappointed to see Beka stray from Rosto, who I've cheered for all along, Bloodhound's new character Dale is almost as fascinating. Dale is close friends with some of the very people who Beka is worried about being involved in the conspiracy, and I felt as torn as she was about her relationship progressing.
One of the things I love about this series is watching Beka learn from her mistakes. Rather than just being one of those heroines that continually make the same mistake over and over, Beka changes over time. Reading through Bloodhound I could see Beka growing even from the beginning of the novel to the end. Bloodhound introduces Achoo, Beka's scent hound into the fray and it's really funny to see her work with such a menagerie of animals.
If you like Tamora's Tortall universe, you'll love Bloodhound, and I definitely recommend re-reading it before October's release of Mastiff. If you're a new to the series, check out Terrier and continue right on to Bloodhound as you won't regret it. Magic, mystery, and a little romance are abound in this series.