Ms.Larkin Larkin's Reviews > Bloodhound

Bloodhound by Tamora Pierce
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's review
Apr 27, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: magic, ya-fiction, adventure, fantasy

I was thrilled when my pre-ordered copy of this book arrived the day before my birthday. Perfect!

Like all of Pierce's work, this features a strong female heroine: Beka, a young Dog (police officer) in ancient Tortall. It also features Pierce's signature helpful animals, occasional magic, sensible approach to teen sexuality, and creative cast of lovable characters.

And, as usual, you get a comforting sense when reading it that the world has troubles, but they're solvable; that good will win out in the end, although maybe a little bruised and battered; and that girls can do anything they please if they are only steadfast, determined, mostly sensible, and a little bit lucky.

But to my mind--and maybe it's just because I've been reading Pierce's livejournal lately--it seems to have a darker, bleaker undertone than her other works. Pierce has written that this book took much longer than she expected; I felt as if I could read in it some of her despair at certain recent events, and indeed there are connections.

Beka places her faith in the rule of law, and starts off the novel without a partner because she is so energetic in her pursuit of criminals. But as the novel goes on, she finds herself transplanted to a strange town where she must deal with a weak Provost, a corrupt Rogue, and Dogs who torture suspected counterfeiters.

The scene in which Beka and her partner interrupt a prisoner's waterboarding--the term's not used in the novel, but that's clearly what's happening--was the place where I finally was able to put my finger on it. Although the novel starts and ends the way I had expected a Pierce book to read, I wasn't able to shake a feeling of underlying unhappiness, and I wonder if Beka's story is going to go in a different direction than I had thought--at the beginning of the first novel, Terrier, she's described as George Cooper's "legendary ancestress," and I had assumed her legend was based on her tough detective work. But now, I wonder--is she going to have to face the larger systematic problems that underlie Tortall's entire system of justice? I had forseen her having some adventures and maybe or maybe not coming to terms with Rosto's hotness/criminality, but now I wonder.

Of course, the Alanna books are set hundreds of years later and yet still seem to have many of the same systematic problems (privileged nobility, corruption, etc) as Beka's Tortall.

I'm always eager to get the next Tamora Pierce novel, but now I'm more curious than ever to see where Beka's story goes...
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