Beka Cooper is no longer a Puppy. She's a Dog now - a full-fledged member of the Provost's Guard, which keeps the peace in Corus's streets. Beka's natural skills of observation and tenacity are augmented by her unusual magical talents, which allow her to gather information both from pigeons are from the eddies of dirt and dust that swirl on street corners. But even her magic isn't very useful when unrest comes to Tortall's capital in the form of counterfeit coins, which turn up in shops all over the city. Merchants raise prices to cover their losses, and with winter coming on, hikes in food and fuel costs could spell disaster - most of all for the city's poor.
The Dogs discover that gamblers are bringing the counterfeits from Port Caynn - and that the Port Caynn Dogs don't seem to be doing anything about it. Beka and her mentor, Clary Goodwin, are chosen to go undercover in Port Caynn and find out what they can. And wherever Beka goes, so do some of her animals. Departing from Corus with her are the scent hound Achoo, who has been newly assigned to Beka, and the pigeon Slapper, who carries the voices of the dead.
In Port Caynn, Beka and Goodwin delve deep into the gambling world. There Beka meets a charming bank courier, who may be involved in the counterfeiting ring. Things come to a head just as Goodwin returns home to report in Corus. It won't be enough to Beka to be her usual "terrier" self. She'll have to learn from Achoo to sniff out the criminals - to be a bloodhound.
Hey, folks! I just discovered that apparently I have given some very popular books single-star ratings--except I haven't. How do I know I haven't? Because I haven't read those books at all. So before you go getting all hacked off at me for trashing your favorites, know that I've written GoodReads to find out what's going on.
I return to my regularly scheduled profile: Though I would love to join groups, I'm going to turn them all down. I just don't have the time to take part, so please don't be offended if I don't join your group or accept an invitation. I'm not snooty--I'm just up to my eyeballs in work and appearances!
Also, don't be alarmed by the number of books I've read. When I get bored, I go through the different lists and rediscover books I've read in the past. It's a very evil way to use up time when I should be doing other things. Obviously, I've read a lot of books in 54 years!
I was born in South Connellsville, PA. My mother wanted to name me "Tamara" but the nurse who filled out my birth certificate misspelled it as "Tamora". When I was 8 my family moved to California, where we lived for 6 years on both sides of the San Francisco peninsula.
I started writing stories in 6th grade. My interest in fantasy and science fiction began when I was introduced to ‘The Lord of the Rings’ by J. R. R. Tolkien and so I started to write the kind of books that I was reading. After my parents divorced, my mother took my sisters and me back to Pennsylvania in 1969. There I went to Albert Gallatin Senior High for 2 years and Uniontown Area Senior High School for my senior year.
After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, I wrote the book that became The Song of the Lioness fantasy quartet. I sold some articles and 2 short stories and wrote reviews for a martial arts movie magazine. At last the first book of the quartet, Alanna: The First Adventure was published by Atheneum Books in 1983.
Tim Liebe, who became my Spouse-Creature, and I lived in New York City with assorted cats and two parakeets from 1982 - 2006. In 2006 we moved to Syracuse, New York, where we live now with assorted cats, a number of squirrels, birds, raccoons, skunks, opossums, and woodchucks visiting our very small yard. As of 2011, I have 27 novels in print, one short story collection, one comic book arc ("White Tiger: A Hero's Compulsion") co-written with Tim, and a short story anthology co-editing credit. There's more to come, including a companion book to the Tortall `verse. So stay tuned!
The second book in the series takes Beka away from Chorus and her friends and puts her on a case in a strange city giving her a new love interest. This book didn't hold me as much as the first (or third) but it's still worth the slog to know what happens to her there. I suggest it also because of the presence of one of the first instances I know, in YA fantasy, of a transgender woman. There is a beautiful little scene where Okha Soyan explains what this means to a confused but sympathetic Beka.
I was filled with glee when I got my advance readers copy of Bloodhound. I tore my way through Terrier as quickly as possible (and I’m glad I did), before I started on Bloodhound as soon as I was able.
Whilst waiting for Bloodhound to come out (and it has been a long wait) I would eagerly read all the news from Tammy about the progression of the book. I was a little dismayed to learn that Beka would be out of Corus and in Port Caynn, therefore away from all of those much loved characters from Terrier – Aniki, Kora, Rosto, Ersken, Tansy and et cetera. I also learned, while she would still be with Goodwin, Tunstall would be out of the picture with broken legs! However, it turns out (as it usually does), that my fears were unfounded and what I think sounds odd in summary turns out to be grand in actuality.
Bloodhound takes place sixteen months after Terrier, and the action happens over the course of (almost) three weeks. The book builds on what Terrier established. There are new words introduced into the language (one reason why re-reading Terrier before Bloodhound is such a good idea) as well as an expansion of Dog methodology. Bloodhound is one long hunt to resolve the issue of coles being filtered into the money stream, which are raising the prices of food and causing civil panic. There are some sterling action sequences in Bloodhound, making me feel like I was actually part of the riots and chases and also making me feel that poor Beka must have had some terrible hand cramps after her long stretches of diary and report writing! There is also significant time spent in Corus before the adventures ‘round Port Caynn begin, giving some quality moments with all of the well loved characters before we meet the new folk. Yes, the old faithful were keenly missed at some moments during Bloodhound, but this is good for both Beka and the reader (but mostly Beka, as we are selfish readers who want things Our Way!).
We are introduced to a vast quantity of new characters, mostly in Port Caynn but some in Corus too. The most notable addition is Atchoo, the scent hound who was mentioned in Terrier takes a leading role here (and once you read the book you will understand why the cover was changed to focus on her and leaves Pounce out). Atchoo is a fantastic partner for Beka, who adds to Beka’s skills set and resources as well as being a loyal and lovable companion (in the way that dogs are). Another of our new characters is Dale Rowan, a clever and likable cove who captures Beka’s affections and won over me too! Other new characters include the Port Caynn Rouge, her Rats and Port Caynn Dogs. As with Terrier, there are familiar family names in Bloodhound – watch out for a member of one particularly famous family who proves that insanity really did run in the family! I suspect that the majority of these characters we will never see again, but it’d be a crying shame if we didn’t see a few back in ‘Mastiff’ – or at the very least a mention of what they’ve been up to.
There are further explorations into things that have previously been touched on in the Tortall universe books – the female warriors of the temple of the Great Mother are featured in Bloodhound somewhat, providing welcome detail into something that was merely mentioned in passing in ‘Song of the Lioness’. The Dancing Dove is introduced, and I was pleased to note that the reasons behind its name have changed since the preview in the back of Terrier. Also, if anyone was still in any doubt, Pounce’s identity is confirmed once and for all. Beka’s magic also gets further explanation, which is welcome, and ties her to a particular god as she experiments with methods of using her magic. Her understanding and implementation of her magic is markedly improved from what it was in Terrier. It is these touches that make the book so vivid. They are woven into the story in such a way that they are part of the tapestry for the book itself and the larger Tortallan history. For those of us who are Tammy devotees this is an absolute delight and will enrich your knowledge of the Tortall world.
It was a hard trial to put the book down every time I had to, and once I got into the final stretch I simply could not put it down until I was finished. The plot is set up in such a way that it’s fairly obvious early on who is behind the cole-mongering. However, Tammy throws in something she’s become rather good at – making you feel that sense of empathy for the characters behind the very thing that Beka is racing to put a stop to. You don’t want it to be them, you want to be proven wrong and at the final turn you can understand why they took the actions they took, but you really wished they hadn’t. There is a rich layering of detail that makes such a complex plot believable.
Beka makes mistakes during the book (at one point I wanted to shake her for forgetting something); she also does remarkably astounding things too (she spends a lot of time traipsing through sewers, which made my stomach turn). I was pleased to see that alongside her natural aptitude for Dogging she is still learning how to be a Dog, they ways of people and the ways of the world. It humanises and humbles her, and I felt that she learned a lot from her experiences, both professionally and personally. By the end of the book several things fall neatly into place – how Beka’s partner problem is solved and also the set up for explaining why Lady Knights (and more gender equality across the board) exists in Beka’s time yet the mentality has changed by the time Alanna disguises herself and turns Tortall on its head. This will, I expect, be explored in ‘Mastiff’.
I’m very much looking forward to ‘Mastiff’ and the conclusion of the Legend of Beka Cooper, here’s to settling in for another Very Long Wait (although, mercifully, not as long as that between Terrier and Bloodhound)!
True to form, Tamora Pierce presents another intriguing Tortall legend and a satisfactory continuation of Beka Cooper's adventures. In her afterword, Pierce expresses doubt about the subject of counterfeit money being exciting enough for her readers. However, I found the subject engaging and timely. The description of food riots and other societal consequences of a damaged economy were appropriate topics based on the current world situation. Also, I continue to be impressed with Pierces' fictional police force and the intricate and subtle interactions between the right and wrong sides of the law.
My main complaint with Bloodhound is the very unnecessary sex between Beka and Dale. I enjoy a little romance in what I read, but I felt the sex was not needed and detrimental to the story. Thankfully, Pierce's sex scenes are always merely implied (no graphic descriptions, etc.) and safe (magical birth control in place). Maybe this is to prove the point of a girl's power to choose, but for me it proves that sex before marriage cheapens a romantic relationship. Dale is a likeable and intersting character--until sex. Once he gets what he wants, he skips out of Beka's life and becomes the scoundrel playboy he didn't need to be. Also, by giving in to Dale, Beka's strong and moral character is weakened. I always appreciate some weakness in my characters, but not moral weakness. I still greatly enjoyed the story and the writing, but the intimate relationship between Beka and Dale soured some of my taste for the book.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Uhhhh..... What should I say? I loved it and didn't at the same time. Does that make any sense? I'll have to explain myself.
We get to see the same great action sequences and heart that Beka has. Though we only stay in Corus for probably a fourth of the book and I thought the change of scenery did the series good. There is a trickle of new characters that come in. The most notable her new dog, Achoo. This comedian of a dog really made you love dogs even more.
Ok what I didn't like. I'm pretty sure people thought the romance that Beka has in the story was done well, but it actually bothered me. I just knew how everything was gonna turn out, and for some reason for Beka's character I didn't think she would have let herself be so vulnerable. Then again I guess Pierce thought that it was time Beka did something other than Dog work. All I'm saying is that I think it could have been done differently or with another character. This one isn't as climactic as the first one. You know early on who is doing what and the reason given of why they did it (in my opinion) was weak. The book I think could have been 100 pages shorter. It's not that it dragged it just seemed that some of the plot that was put in there was unnecessary.
Through all of that though I did really enjoy the last fourth of the book. This is where of course all the high action is and we see Beka at her best. I thought the ending left the series in a good place, and has me eagerly anticipating Mastiff.
These Beka Cooper stories are so much fun! This time, she and Clary Goodwin must track down the persons responsible for spreading counterfeit silver coins through her town and a neighbouring one, where they’re dispatched by Lord Gershom. Along for the assignment is scent hound Achoo, mistreated by her previous Dog. Beka and Clary pose as mostly harmless Dogs, while gathering information and circling ever closer to the perpetrators. Beka is stern, caring, tough, and increasingly capable, and I totally love her relationships with Goodwin and Achoo. I had no idea these stories would be so exciting and funny. I have to read the next, and continue exploring the world of Tortall.
I'm not sure if Ms. Pierce is prescient or just more economically savvy than the rest of us, but this book was chillingly suitable for our times. The economic crisis in this book is caused by forgers -- colemongers, in her inimitable idiom -- rather than hotshot MBAs and back room financiers, but the general aura of panic and financial woe was dead on.
If only a smart, savvy young cop could fix out problems as easily as Beka fixed Tortall's.
My only complaint about the book is just that -- it was all solved rather quickly and easily. Beka and Goodwin did a brilliant job, but throughout the book, Ms. Pierce hints that there's an outside power working with Pearl to deliberately bring to chaos over a long, hard winter. I was all set to hear that some foreign country was planning a spring invasion. I was even looking forward to the next book, about keeping peace at home during wartime abroad. The idea that a man fired from the army would be that angry AND that thoughtfully destructive struck me as a reach. I wonder if Ms. Pierce didn't have something else planned and had to take a shortcut because the book was getting too long. (It is a long and luxurious book for a Y.A. novel.)
I'll admit that I wasn't fond of the journal conceit when I read the first book, but it's grown on me. Particularly as Ms. Pierce expanded and took advantage of her fantastic street cant. I can NOT believe she snuck some of those comments past the watchdogs that slaver over Y.A. books -- her use of the word "sack", in particular, made me chuckle.
And WOW on the LGBT front, too! Ms. Pierce is the first children's author I know who put gay people in a book without the book being ABOUT BEING GAY! I'm sure that there are tons of others, but she was the first one I found -- the Circle of Magic Books. So I wasn't surprised when one of the characters in the book was gay. But I didn't think that even a writer of Ms. Pierce's standing could but a transgender character in. (Transgender or cross-dresser? I'm going with transgender based on some textual evidence, but it could go either way.) But she does and makes him a small but vital part of the story.
I'm sure others will bemoan the lack of Pounce in the book, but I was thrilled. Ms. Pierce is a little too fond of the wise animal trope, one of her only flaws as a writer. Watching her and Beka do without was a pleasure.
Ms. Pierce clearly did her research for this book and Tortall, which is already a well defined world, came much more richly to life. I love this look into the lower classes -- what they eat and drink, what they wear, how they live. The mechanics of how the police work in this pseudo-medieval world is brilliant and nuanced. She clearly has some things to say about torture but never gets heavy handed with it. And the constant gnawing danger of hunger is very real, very terrifying, and very relevant to today's world.
And, Bake got laid! Yay Beka!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Took me twice as long as it ought, but I've FINISHED IT. I have to wonder if Tammy ever finds Beka's Lower City slang creeping into her daily speech -- I've been using it to insult the cats when they piss me off lately xD Another great adventure for Beka. I liked the change of scenery that was Port Caynn (although I will say I called it in regard to certain people being involved in certain unsavory things possibly the second or third time his name cropped up). And it was really interesting to meet a third Rogue (aside from Rosto, and George in the other Tortall books). Pearl was something else. If you liked Terrier, there's no reason you shouldn't like Bloodhound, I'll say it like that.
That said, I'm not sure why I'm settling for the 4-4.5 rating. Terrier got 5 stars and I LOVED it, but I never got distracted while I was reading Terrier -- seriously I think I've read ten books in between picking up Bloodhound. It was never boring and I loved the story but... idk maybe it just didn't grab me as much as Terrier did? I like to think if it had I never would've put it down and thus would have finished it much sooner.
Also, DO YOU HAVE A MOMENT TO TALK ABOUT OUR GODDESS AND SAVIOR, CLARY GOODWIN? I love this woman so much. And apparently in my head she looks like Riza Hawkeye but with black hair. Like if Mustang and Hawkeye had a daughter, that's what she would look like. And if you're not familiar with FullMetal Alchemist, I will happily fling it at you :D
One more thing and then I'm done updating, I swear-- I was actually glad for Pounce's absence throughout much of this book. On top of dealing with so many new characters, Goodwin AND Achoo, I don't think I could have handled Pounce's added cattiness (harhar). I was glad to see him again by the end, but by then I was getting a condescending vibe from him instead of the usual snark.
(re-read on June 6, 2013, the occasion of this review)
I read this through steadily and am going to read the third right away, but I'm still not as thrilled as I feel I really ought to be. Maybe I am just growing old and boring and hard-hearted, and I don't have the unquenchable nostalgia for Pierce's more recent books the way I do for the Lioness and Immortals quartets. *sad*
My review of Terrier was short and trivial; I'm going to be more comprehensive with Bloodhound, but I'll save the analysis, if any, for my review of Mastiff. For this one, a list:
+ Beka thinks of femininity (for herself) as a performance that serves a purpose. <3
+ I like Pounce, but was pleased that in this book
- I was a bit dissatisfied by the motives of
- I find myself wishing for points of view other than Beka's. I mostly like the journal format, but it demands that Beka drive most of the plot that we read about. That would work better with a shorter or simpler story; there's so much going on in these books that I feel sympathetically overwhelmed to read about everything Beka gets up to. And a few bits of the existing plot might really work better from another character's perspective -- for instance Goodwin would have had a more interesting reaction to ...I would also like to see how this world looks to someone who doesn't think that working for the police is the best job ever.
+/- Bloodhound has a trans* character! Who is awesome, but could probably have been written about better. I am going to use gender-neutral pronouns for Okha, because while Bekka consistently uses male pronouns, Okha hirself says that zie is a woman. (I found it a bit strange that Beka didn't start using female pronouns after learning this. Other people do use female pronouns for Okha, but Beka only sees them doing so at Okha's workplace, where zie wears very feminine clothing. I got the impression that Beka believes Okha's gender is Fraught with Secrecy.) This is another case where a non-Beka viewpoint might have been useful. Actually, Okha could have narrated all of the scenes at taverns and the Court of the Rogue, which are a good chunk of the book. Zie does help with the plot as it is, but in a slightly Magical Negro kind of way. (Was it really necessary for hir to give Beka advice about cosmetics?)
+ I am always pleased to see a mystery or crime story about something other than murder! (Nothing wrong with a good murder plot, it's just that there are so many of them.) In this case it's counterfeiting. As a matter of principle I rank property crimes lower than violent crimes, but Pierce explains really thoroughly why this particular counterfeiting case is a problem for everybody, not just the rich.
really liked the first one and have been waiting for the second installment for a long long time. The second book still works. My initial quibble of not believing Beka able to write all of the stuff down in her journal still stands -- even with the explanation of ciphers and reports and how events are chopped down into several installments. Still seems a bit far-fetched. However, I guess if one believes in ghost-carrying pigeons and a young woman talking to street dust winds, one has to somewhat allow her to be able to write dialogs and descriptions in such minute details when recording her own exploits.
That's another thing: the pacing is a bit draggy at moments because it seems a bit too much of JUST Beka -- just her thoughts, just her experiences, and just her achievements. All the secondary characters (POUNCE, for example, who is absent for most of the story) take a real Secondary position here. Achoo the hound, although very important to the plot, is not satisfying as a strong supporting character because she is too much of a hound, no human traits at all. I love her, but she cannot replace Pounce whose wry humor adds so much to the flavor of the story.
Dale, as a secondary character at the beginning of the story, never got his chance to even remain in that position. By mid-book, he's already just a bit of thoughts in Beka's mind. This shows Beka's dedication to her work and how incredibly sensible she is, but I feel slightly let down by Dale's demotion. He definitely could have played a larger part in the story (either helping or hindering Beka's tasks) because he was positioned to do so from the get go (but peters out...)
Having Hanse explain all the rhymes and reasons seems a bit of an easy and very basic mystery device (for that is what this series is... Law and Order meets Tortall Fantasy.) I was hoping for huge surprises and unexpected villains and deeper plots.
Oh, I sound too critical, I do believe. Going to end by saying that I definitely enjoyed following Beka through the streets, watching her eat sea food, seeing her fight various villains -- above ground and underground. It's great to be back in the land of such cool magic. Am I now again eagerly waiting for the next book? You betcha!
Beka Cooper is now a full member of the Provost's Guard, who are charged with keeping the peace and upholding the King's laws. But after a terrible injury, she's sent to Port Caynn, to keep out of the way of her enemies and find out where the counterfeit silver coins flooding Tortall are coming from. At the port, she finds that the guards are led by an ineffectual and cowardly man (Alanna's ancestor!) and the port's Rogue is greedy and selfish, even by criminals' standards.
The writing is noticably smoother and a tad more grownup than in Terrier. This series isn't my favorite of Pierce's, and I don't like that Beka keeps getting these nicknames ("Terrier", "Bloodhound") from the common folk for her work on a single case. She's impressively dogged in her work, but to the extent that people whisper her name as she goes past? Plus, I want a little less attention paid to Beka's eating habits (I know what she has for every single meal, every single day) and a little more to her police work. I think my real problem is just that I started reading the Tortall books when I was a tween, and it's hard to remember that I've grown up and they're still written for a young audience. I need to manage my expectations, I suppose. That said, these are good ya books, with a solid cast set in a country that makes sense (Pierce has thought about how the sewers are built, and who supplies the food to where, and how the guilds work, and all those earthy details that most fantasy writers sidestep). And when the action gets moving, these books are un-put-downable.
I don't think I was ever so excited to get my hands on an ARC (Advanced Reader's Copy) of anything more than I was to get this. I'd already been waiting years for this to come out, and even waiting a few months until the release date at the end of April was making me fidgety. I loved the first in this series and had devoured it and had been looking forward to more Beka Cooper ever since. I've been selling the first Beka Cooper novel to anybody that will listen to me ramble about how great it is, so it was a real treat for me to be able to read this early and know just how good it gets!
There's always that sneaking worry that things just won't be as good as I hope them to be when I have to wait years, but this was no disappointment. Beka is definitely still my favorite Tortall heroine (which is saying a lot, I love them all!), and it was great to read more about her adventures as a Dog! I have absolutely no complaints about this--for me, it was the perfect companion to the first novel, and I loved every page of it. The time it took for this novel to be completed was well worth the wait.
I don't want to spill anything about the plot here to fans that are eagerly awaiting the release in April, just know it's worth the wait and I'll definitely be out there buying this on release day so I can re-read it!
I didn't like this one as much as book one - but it's still a fine YA Fantasy police procedural. WHich is exactly what it is, full stop.
I did like the small comments about the cult of the Gentle Mother. As someone who started in this universe at the beginning (Alanna), I was wondering how the women Knights fell out. Especially with this series having Sabine.
This is a fair sequel to Terrier, a YA novel about a young woman who enters what is effectively the police force in the capital of a pre-industrial kingdom. As with all Pierce's books, there are wonderfully strong female characters. She does a good job with realistic characters, which is well since they're the ones who carry this particular novel. It's also nice to see positive depictions of a variety of lifestyles and sexual orientations in a YA book.
From the acknowledgments, it's clear Pierce was concerned that readers would find a tale about counterfeiting boring. While you may get bored (particularly if you aren't a young adult), this will have more to do with the massive overload of set up details. After all that, the denouement was rushed and unsatisfying, perhaps to reign in the word count.
Die hard fans will want to read this. I plan on reading the third in the series when it comes out. Though I hope she takes her time to do it right, as we've seen a stronger writer in her in the past.
Reading along with Mark Does Stuff, I've just finished rereading what might be my favorite Tamora Pierce book, Bloodhound. Predictably, the stuff I thought was the most awesome was precisely the stuff that bored some other people, and the stuff that irritated other people did not irritate me at all, and the few things that I did dislike basically bugged only me.
Whatever. I still think Bloodhound is fabulous. The main plot is about counterfeiting, which I think is amazing because economics are awesome, and it really fits in well with the “doggy books'” exploration of class, being the only Tortall subseries about people who aren't noble (or live closely with the aristocracy) and who live paycheck to paycheck. I also love the exploration of Port Caynn, because port cities are fun, and having Beka, who is so tied to Corus and whose identity is very much bound up in her home and her neighborhood and her people, have to adjust to working in a whole different environment and try on a whole new identity while she's at it.
Pearl Skinner is also a great villain because, in a refreshing departure from the sympathetic genius villains we see so much of, she is thoroughly unlikeable in every way, and she is stupid. And honestly, don't mean and stupid people often seem to rise to the top in the real world? Charisma certainly helps, and the charismatic villain is someone we should all read lots of stories about and learn to watch out for, but there really are quite a surprising number of people who seem to acquire and keep power through sheer assholitude, despite a total lack of ability to actually manage it or to get anyone to like them. And with those kinds of people, having that power seems to further insulate them from having to ever get a fucking clue, and they just get dumber and meaner until, in the real world, they're writing whiny Wall St. Journal op-eds about how those lazy peasants are so meeean and ungrateful these days, just because we crashed the entire world economy to the ground, like that has anything to do with someone being unemployed or losing their house, where do they get these crazy Communist ideas? ...Ahem. Anyway, in Pearl Skinner's case, she's mean and vicious and stupid and irresponsible, and surprise surprise, she'd rather kill herself then actually face up to the consequences of her actions. Also she abuses her minions and kills off co-conspirators until the remaining ones are chomping at the bit to turn on her the second it looks like they might get away with it, which is one of the elementary Evil Overlord mistakes on that list that was popular around these here Internets a few years ago.
There is, of course, more to this conspiracy than Pearl, because Pearl is too stupid to have come up with it on her own; just stupid enough to go along with it.
The bulk of this books seems to be Beka Learning Things, even though she's not in training anymore like she was in Terrier. She learns how to handle her adorable scent hound, Achoo, and she learns about Port Caynn, obviously. She learns more about detective-ing and continues to conquer her shyness and learn the “soft skills” needed in a people-facing job like Dog work. She also learns How To Flirt, which is a subplot of the book that I have very strong but also somewhat contradictory feelings about.
One the one hand, I do appreciate that How To Flirt is presented as stuff Beka must learn and think about, that it is awkward and uncomfortable when she just applies the usual Stuff Is Happening sorts of mental processing to it, and that she has to decide to deliberately employ certain maneuvers that she has copied from other people. I appreciate this because God damn do I hate it when people act like flirting is just a naturally occurring consequence of being older than 13 and like there is no social learning or construction going on. I mean, it's one of my pet peeves when people act like any kind of knowledge is naturally occurring and does not have to be learned, but stuff involving sex and romance pisses me off the most, most likely because if you actually start paying attention and looking at who thinks what and where are you getting your knowledge or basically apply any form of metacognitive or critical awareness, it becomes screamingly obvious that finding two people who actually have the same ideas about How It Works Obviously is next to impossible. And yet most people seem really certain that there is a universally understood Way It Works and apparently no amount of endless miscommunication will convince them that this is actually a confusing and ambiguous subject, and, for all the lip service given to The Importance of Communicating in Relationships, it's next to impossible to get someone to actually identify their expectations and tell them to you in plain English so that you can compare your ideas about How It Works. So I like that Beka is not automagically on the same page as everyone else just by existing.
On the other hand, the text still sort of presents Beka as the odd one out and all third parties as being fully on the same page about what is in the body of knowledge that Beka has to acquire in order to pursue romantic relationships. This is bollocks. Also, I really hate Dale. I never particularly liked him—I thought he was sort of boring and I used to kind of breeze through his sections without thinking about it very much like I do with most other Obligatory Romantic Subplots in fiction—but reading along with the MR community really made me hate him more. This is because in the MR community there was a lot of discussion about who liked what and what wasn't working for whom etc. etc., and generally the only thing that occurred universally was that everyone in the commentariat is a relatively sensible and aware-of-other-persons-existing sort of person and, as such, we all agreed that people's mileage may vary greatly in what they do and do not find sexy or annoying. This, for me, threw into sharp relief how much not a single person in the cast of Bloodhound thinks that anybody's mileage may vary, and Dale is the worst of the lot. It's not that Dale is a bad person. It's just that Dale is a rake, and so I hate him for the same reason I hate most rakes, which is that they get into a particular groove of this is their rakey way of doing things, and they forget that their personal groove is not an immutable law of the universe and human nature. And I realize that having the whole conversation about what individual people do and do not like and what each person's expectations are and etc etc etc all that stuff that most dudes won't even arse themselves to talk about with supposedly serious partners (I say “supposedly” because of the number of times I've seen—and, once, been subjected to—“serious” being assumed out of a certain length of time without any discussion of what it means or whether the other party wishes to take the relationship to some sort of “next level”) isn't fun, and the whole point of being a rake is to just have fun without the serious bits, but the result tends to be self-absorbed, oblivious people who expect pretty members of their preferred gender to just automatically and seamlessly slot themselves into the rake's preferred modus operandi, and apparently they somehow manage to shield themselves from ever even learning that not everyone is guaranteed to be playing their game the way they're playing it, and they act all shocked and confused and surprised like they've never heard of such a thing when one of their marks has some sort of personal like or dislike or quirk or history or, you know, anything. I think they might block it out on purpose because it would require effort to remember. Dale is not only not an exception to this, he's pretty much the quintessential embodiment of oblivious lazy rakish assumption-making. I mean, if a dude in his twenties who's supposedly met oh so very very many ladies in his day tells you he's never met a woman who doesn't like being snuck up on and grabbed from behind in the street at night, that dude is either deeply, deeply stupid, or he's lying and he thinks you're deeply, deeply stupid, because it is wildly statistically unlikely that that is actually the case.
Dale also makes Beka sit around and watch while he plays games. This is a practice that needs to die in a fire.
Unfortunately, the book rather comes down on the side of Here Is What Flirting Is, Everyone Agrees On It, You Will Like It Once You Learn Because It Is Fun, Period. Which, sorry, Tamora Pierce, 99% of what you write is pure genius, but that's the most stupid lie about human sexuality I've heard since Cassandra Clare had someone dead seriously describe Jace Wayland as “everyone's type” and had another character use him as a test for whether or not she was a lesbian. I understand it's important to have books for teens that don't shame female characters for being sexual but everyone needs to stop portraying shit as universal when it isn't universal. (This goes double for whoever wrote Blood and Chocolate; I still have a headache from trying to follow the characters' thought processes in that book.)
Luckily, Beka's being unthinkingly groped by Dale is only part of what she spends her time in Port Caynn doing. She meets a lot of characters who are actually intelligent and interesting, from Master Finer, the cranky genius silversmith, to Amber Orchid, a nightclub performer and a transwoman who lives by day as a dude named Okha in a relationship with a gay man (apparently Port Caynn's queer scene doesn't have their terminology sorted out nearly as neatly as the modern world does) and who also gathers information on Pearl Skinner and her court but simultaneously refuses to act as a birdie to her boyfriend, who is a Dog. Amber is a very smart lady and I would read an entire book just about her. Beka also learns a lot about what a really corrupt police force looks like, which I really appreciate—a lot of cop stories show the cops as being pretty unequivocally the good guys, but I feel like the Beka Cooper books do a much better job of simultaneously illustrating how cops can be the good guys and why it is that societies need well-functioning police forces, but also not shying away from the fact that well-functioning police forces are actually pretty rare and difficult to achieve, and at least as often what you get is a bunch of venal bullies with power issues demanding respect without doing much to earn it. (Although even in Port Caynn it looks like none of the corrupt Dogs have been casually choking random civilians to death. Also, can the news go away this week?) And there's a rather heartbreaking bit about one of the Cage dogs in particular, how she left the street beat and became a Cage dog (that's the professional torturers, basically) for the sake of her kids, in order to stay safe so she could raise them without worrying that she was going to die, but the job has inured her to enacting violence upon the helpless so much that she's started hitting her kids.
Also, the action scenes are great. Tamora Pierce has always been fabulous about writing action scenes, but these are extra-great, because they are so visceral and gross and I really get the feeling that with Beka's books she's leaving the “YA” idea behind as anything other than a marketing designation—Beka is an adult and these are adult action scenes. Also, I think it's very important to have violent visceral action scenes in a book that's mostly about money, in order to ground it. So we get the bread riot, a solid punch in the gut to bring home what's really so bad about crop loss and rising food costs, and this is effectively placed at the beginning of the book in and among a lot of conversations about the chaos that could occur from runaway inflation, which is a thing that is basically also all the prices rising, just with different money theory stuff behind it. Also, the climax isn't just, like, smashing up all the counterfeit monies; it involves literal swimming in shit, which I think serves as a nice metaphor for a country being awash in money that isn't even worth shit.
Beka Cooper returns, this time as a Dog; however, she can't seem to manage to keep a partner due to her unquenchable thirst to hunt down Rats. She returns with that same drive that got her the nickname Terrier in the last book and none of the 4 partners she's been paired with can handle that. Every time she loses another partner she ends up back with Goodwin and Tunstall.
When Beka loses her latest partner and ends up back with Tunstall and Goodwin things are stirring up in Tortall. There has been a sting of coles (counterfeit coins) being released into the economy, threatening a spike in prices for everything right before what is sure to be a tough winter due to a bad harvest year. All signs point to Port Caynn as the source and Beka along with Goodwin ship off to a new District to find the source of the coles.
Pierce delivers another fast paced story all told from the journal entries of Beka Cooper. This book contains plenty of action, a new band of characters (all from Port Caynn) and a new mystery to sleuth out. I did miss the group that was established in the first book, they do all make appearances, but since this book is set in a different city a new cast of characters was introduced that I did not like as much.
I this what really brought this book a little lower for me was the love interest for Beka. It didn't seem to fit into her character. She had been holding Rosto at arms length since book one, and all of a sudden another guy comes into the picture and right away she is head over heels for him. It didn't feel like it fit her character, it would have made more sense to have a slow burning relationship where she makes the male work for it.
Other than the romance though the book was full of character and world development with a plot that kept you guessing through the entire book. False coins may not feel like a huge deal, but Pierce explains the negative ramifications on the entire empire should this continue. I finished this book in 3 days and I am so excited to continue on with book number 3. Pierce is definitely an author I recommend for anyone who loves strong female protagonists and fantasy settings.
I loveeeee Beka so damn much!! This girl is what law enforcement should look up to. She wants to protect her people and keep harm from them by making criminals pay their due. For all her determination and intelligence, Beka is hindered by inadequate partners and is really struggling with it. However, a counterfeiting ring is growing and soon she is sent undercover with Goodwin to Port Caynn.
I loved seeing Beka undercover and trying to be a "loose Dog". It was awkward and funny, but eventually she got the hang of it. Girl could probably be an amazing actress if she wanted. We meet more characters from Port Caynn and that includes an amazing LGBTQ rep from a character heavily invovled in the plot!
I love the Dogs and I think Beka is instilling great changes in it. Plus she's so cool with her pigeons and dust spinners. I love how she gets information from so many sources.
Another great, ridiculously detailed adventure for Beka! The story dragged on a little bit too much, but not a real deterrent. I loved every single character in the story, even the Rat Pearl Skinner(who the hell replaces teeth with pearls anyway??!?!?)
I will never not love Tamora Pierce's Tortallan world.
While I didn't love Terrier – the first book in the Beka Cooper series – I absolutely adored this one. Achoo and Pounce are still my favorite characters, and I think Beka is really coming into her own. This volume felt very fast compared to Terrier, and I'm excited to move onto the third book in the trilogy very shortly...
What I love about Beka is her insane method of dealing with trouble. Does she carefully and methodically pussyfoot her way around a problem? Oh no, she heads right directly into the source of the issue, whatever is the most dangerous, and then, when fleeing that inevitable catastrophe, she promptly heads into the next most dangerous situation, which by then, of course, has proven to be even more dangerous than the first. This is book 2 in the Beka Cooper books, but actually book 16, I believe, in the entire Tortal series. I highly recommend reading them all in order.
First of all, two things: 1. I did not expect a book like this to be about counterfeiting. 2. I DEFINITELY didn't expect a book about counterfeiting to be this GOOD.
This book started about a year after the conclusion of Terrier with Beka having some rather terrible luck with partners as a fully-fledged dog (though considering she started out with the "cream of the crop" as trainers, I'm really not surprised that the others would fall short). It was pretty great to see that her friends had a "betting pool" going to see how long she'd last with each, but I couldn't help but feel sorry for her bad luck with that XD;; Luckily, she ended up with the BEST partner pretty early on in this book .
The change in pace and scenery for this book was really refreshing, and I loved seeing Beka attempt to act as a "loose dog" in gambling dens and such to gather information. Goodwin was really good at it, but Beka? Can anyone say awkward? :P
I also was beyond shocked (and pleased) to see that there was LGBTQ representation in this book with characters that were treated as normal characters and not as token "look how inclusive we are" characters, like you often get. The relationship between . They were important central characters to the book and so well written and I loved them <3
Honestly, I loved pretty much everything about this novel The final chase scene at the end with was phenomenal and so well done (but also, how long did that take real-time? o.O) and I loved it. And the conclusion of the novel with was such a brilliant way to end the novel. I'm expecting great things from Beka and co in the third and final book.
Probably 4.5 / 5? Few small things that bugged me, but overall amazing.
I liked this significantly more than the first book, but it's still burdened with the problems of its predecessor. The journal and the cant are both writing devices that I could do without, and in this book Beka's "fatal flaw" (shyness) is only hastily remembered when convenient. But I found the plot much more engaging, and couldn't tear myself away from the chase scenes. I really liked that this was set in a different city with its own unique history, too.
This still feels like the most formulaic Pierce series I've ever read. Beka doesn't bring anything new to the table - she's a shadow copy of the far superior Kel - and that filters into the love interest, Dale, who I found charming but forgettable. (Can we talk about how .) And it's clear Beka is still thinking about Rosto throughout the book in the back of her mind. It seems like that's being set up as an arc, but I have a hard time figuring out how that could possibly ever work.
It's also weird to hear Pounce/Faithful be so explicit about his origins with so many people. I much prefer Achoo (great name) if we're rating the animal companions. I hope that whatever Pounce was doing in this book is revealed in the next.
I was happy to see that this book didn't suffer from the common slowness and tedium of a middle book in a trilogy, and even more happy to see that things set up in the first book carried over into this one in a natural progression. The minor jump forward in time since the previous book ended helped to avoid some of the aspects of being a Puppy that I wasn't overly fond of, and when adding in the change of locale as well, I was glad to see Beka as a new Dog with responsibilities of her own.
I got used to the lack of magic in the first book, and this one was no different in that respect, but there were enough little bits throughout that it seemed magical enough all the same. I specifically like the the limitations that the magic and charms of this world have, making them reasonable while still functional. I'm all for an over-powered mage occasionally, but it's nice to know that all fantasy doesn't rely on that trope.
I've heard good things about the third book for years, including how emotionally devastating it can be, so I'm both dreading and looking forward to starting that in a day or two.
I love Terrier, the first book in this series, but this book always felt a little flatter to me. The crime (counterfeiting money) is a lot less interesting than the serial killers and kidnapping of the first book. The investigation of the crime just drags a bit. It should be more exciting than it is in this high fantasy world with magic, but it feels overlong and tiresome by the end. I got to the point where I was just waiting for it to be over.
We also leave the original setting of Corus, Beka's hometown with all her friends and family. I liked the beginning of this book quite a bit, but after Beka leaves, I found myself losing interest. It's not just the familiar setting, but all the familiar characters. Her roommates and the other guardsman. Even her cat doesn't stick around. The only regular character who stays is Goodwin and it does feel a little lacking to me.
But I still did like it quite a bit. I actually enjoyed the audiobook reread more than I liked my original read of the book. Something about the audiobook made it drag a little less and I wasn't nearly as bored. I think it's definitely the way to go if you find this book a little more dry than the previous one.
(4.5/5⭐️) “Curse him for being all tight muscle, with ivory skin and a mouth as soft as rose petals. Curse him for having hair as fair as the sun, and eyes as black as night. Curse him for having the grace of a cat and deft, cool hands.”
Finally some romance in this series! Beka Cooper returns in Bloodhound, the second installment of the Beka Cooper Trilogy. Beka has graduated from a Puppy and is a Junior Dog now. When one of her old mentors gets hurt, she gets partnered up with Goodwin, her old Puppy mentor. Better yet, she’s inherited Achoo, the scent hound. That’s when she notices false silver coins called coles, trickling into the money stream. What seems like a small problem soon escalates in something that might bring down the kingdom. Beka and Goodwin are sent under cover to Port Cyann on a “hunt” to discover the source of the coles. In Port Cyann, they get into all sorts of trouble. There are distractions, too, like the charming bank keeper, Dale, who might be wrapped up in the counterfeit coin crime ring. Worst of all, Port Cyann’s Rogue, Pearl, is against Beka at every turn. Beka and Achoo must stay one step ahead if they’re to crack the case.
Another GREAT installment. This was a book I looked forward to reading each day, eager to immerse myself into Beka’s world. The world building is excellent. It feels genuine with the use of different words to describe men and women as coves and mots, or girls as gixies. That’s just a few examples. You really feel as if you understand the different culture. It’s immersive. I didn’t even mind the diary format like I did in the first book. I’m used to it now.
We got to meet a number of new characters in this book. There were a few I loved, like Dale, who was absolutely charming and quite a gentlemen. I was so happy that there was romance in this one. I felt that made it even better and allowed me to get a better understanding of her. And how cute is Achoo? I loved the addition of the scent hound. I did miss Pounce though. We only got a little time with him in the beginning of the book. That kind of bummed me out. However, I think the purpose of leaving him out was twofold: Pounce had important buisness that will hopefully be made clear in the final book, but also, Beka needed to learn to take care of herself. I think she did a great job.
My favorite new character was Okha. I freaking loved him/her. Okha is a singer who poses as Amber Orchid at the gamboling houses. She’s got quite the reputation as a singer and is highly sought after. I think she’s this world’s version of a drag queen, and I LOVED it. I was so happy that Tamora Pierce portrayed a queer relationship in this book between Okha and Nester. While it was completely unexpected, it was absolutely welcome.
“‘Inside I am a beautiful woman,' Okha said... 'The Trickster tapped me in my mother's womb and placed me in this man's shell.”
I felt that whenever Okha talked, I could picture her character perfectly. I loved how helpful she was with Beka, and how crucial her part was. If it weren’t for her, I don’t think Beka would have succeeded.
The story itself was a crime solvers detective type. Beka must determine who is at the top of the crime ring, and even the Dogs can’t be trusted. Everything she and Goodwin do must be done in secret. I’m not normally into detective stories but because this has fantasy in it, I absolutely ADORED it. I loved getting to see Beka work her “magic” speaking to the pigeons, dust spinners, etc. And I was so sad when Slapper died! Poor little birdy. I’ll miss him and his annoying mannerisms.
This is more of a plot driven than a character driven story. And the plot is fantastic. However, we do see Beka go through a small arc. She becomes better at taking care of herself. She has a great moral compass and always wants to do what is right. I like that she’s not someone who can be bribed. In Port Cyann, she was out of her comfort zone. She was forced to be less shy. This was a struggle for her at first, but she got better at it. She grew. I liked that.
This series is FANTASTIC. I finished the second book and was immediately sad. I realized I love it so much that there’s only one book left. Only ONE!! What will I do when it’s over?! Pierce has no plans as of yet to write more. So I’m going to have to savor the last one. Fat chance. I’ll devour it just like I devoured this one.
Yay, Beka Cooper! I had seen several friends rate the first book highly and this book much lower, so I was a little concerned going in - but I have to say that I respectfully disagree. I liked this just as much as Terrier.
My Response: It’s not easy to find the excitement in counterfeiting, but Pierce puts forth an admirable effort that pays off in the long run. The gradual yet uncontrollable effect that the coles (counterfeit coins) have on the Tortallan economy, beginning in the poorest neighborhoods and spreading outward, is truly horrifying, and Pierce does a good job of making the stakes understandable. Her cast of supporting characters is lively, and her descriptions of the Port Caynn docks, gambling dens, and eating houses are alternately gritty and fun.
Oh, and the punishment for colemongering? Death by boiled oil? No, thank you!
That said, there’s less narrative tension here than in earlier Tortall books, mostly because the main antagonist is revealed early and obviously. Add to this the absence of Tunstall and Pounce, whose wit and snark are needed to balance Beka’s serious approach to nearly everything she does, and it’s not surprising how noticeable Bloodhound’s significant length (560pp.) is throughout. More than once, I checked my progress only to think, Whoa. I have that much left?
Beka’s partnership with the scent-hound Achoo is cute, as well as typical—most of Pierce’s heroines bond at least as easily with animals as they do with humans—and the dog clearly has her part to play in the resolution of the story. However, even for a dog, she’s underdeveloped, and I couldn’t help but think she’d been brought in to haplessly tug our heartstrings first, move the story along second.
Though it doesn’t rank among my all-time favorite Tamora Pierce books, Bloodhound is a definite improvement over Terrier, which left little to no impression on me when I first read it in 2006. The first-person narrative feels less contrived, and Beka’s voice more fully realized, which I assume is due to Pierce herself growing more comfortable with the style. As a result, Beka’s growth and maturation from Puppy to Dog is that much more believable.
From what I’ve read on Goodreads, there’s been some negative response to Beka’s sexual activity, to which I say, Get over it. Teenagers have sex, and not always as responsibly as 17-year-old Beka—to be honest, one of my favorite moments of the entire story is her shy visit to the Healer’s to purchase a pregnancy charm, because let’s be honest: we’ve all been there, in one way or another. I might not rush to give this book to, say, a 10-year-old with limited understanding of life and relationships, but I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to readers in their mid-teens who almost assuredly know what sex is.
As for Okha Soyan/Amber Orchid: transgendered people exist, and the more honestly we portray the world and its people in books for young adults, the better for us all, so again, Get over it. Frankly, I’m surprised and a little disappointed that it took Pierce as long as it did to explicitly write queer characters into the Tortall universe.
My Recommendation: Long-time fans of Tamora Pierce are unlikely to be significantly disappointed, especially with so many nods to names and places that have appeared in the past (future). I myself flailed with happiness upon learning the origin of The Dancing Dove’s name.
However, for readers new to Tortall, Beka’s story could be hit or miss. Those looking for a more typical fantasy heroine would be best served by starting with Alanna: The First Adventure (Song of the Lioness #1), or possibly First Test (Protector of the Small #1) (though I hate to recommend books out of order).
On the other hand, those who love detective stories (Veronica Mars, Law & Order, etc.) will likely enjoy reading a YA novel that features a quieter, more cerebral heroine, one who cares less for glory and more for simply getting the job done, one day and one clue at a time.