Bloodhound: Beka Cooper, Book 2

Book review by
Betsy Bozdech, Common Sense Media
Bloodhound: Beka Cooper, Book 2 Book Poster Image
Second book in fantasy series is more mature than first.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 9 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Kids may learn some things about policework -- investigating crimes, etc.

Positive Messages

The book's world is one of carefully negotiated relationships between the police (the "Dogs") and criminals ("Rats"). A certain amount of crime is allowed to take place as long as the Rats don't overstep themselves; all Dogs accept bribes, but the good ones never take them in life-or-death situations. Beka is a loyal, honest Dog dedicated to pursuing justice, as are many of her friends -- though she's also close to an important criminal.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Beka is a strong, resourceful role model who never shies away from a challenge or responsibility. Her partner, Goodwin, is another positive female character. Beka's world is diverse, with characters of many different ethnicities, socioeconomic statuses, and sexualities. Some of Beka's best friends are criminals, but they still care about relationships.


The book's world is matter-of-factly brutal, with frequent murders, beatings, and other incidents. Beka and the other Dogs are frequently involved in fights (even riots) and confrontations, and they use various weapons -- though they prefer heavy batons to swords, since they'd rather catch criminals than kill them. There are some bloody deaths (human and animal) and serious injuries. Nothing is described in particularly graphic terms, but the violence is pretty pervasive. At one point in the story, Beka saves children from kidnappers (who presumably have dark intentions).


Sex and sexuality are treated very matter of factly. Unmarried characters (including Beka) sleep together, and there's a good amount of flirting and kissing as well. Things don't get too graphic, but Beka does refer to her "peaches" and the way that a young man kissing/touching her makes her feel. Two men kiss; their same-sex relationship isn't portrayed as a big deal -- nor is anyone else's sexuality.


Plenty of slang and swearing, but it's all in words that are specific to the world of the book (there's a glossary in the back for translation). None of it includes words that are considered "bad" to us, but they're clear stand-ins for curses we all know.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Beka rarely drinks (she perfers to keep her head clear), but many of her friends and colleagues do, generally in social situations.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this fantasy/crime story takes place in a medieval-esque world in which violence is commonplace, sex is sometimes casual, and bribery and poverty go hand in hand. While there's nothing especially graphic, overall the story has a more mature tone than the first book in the series, with the heroine taking on bigger responsibilities and dallying with a young man. There are some deaths and many injuries, characters drink and flirt (and sometimes more), and a same-sex relationship is treated matter-of-factly.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written by♦Bookworm♦ July 15, 2013

Not as tame as Terrier, but still well-written and captivating

Bloodhound: Beka Cooper is yet another well-written, captivating novel by Tamora Pierce. There is quite a bit more "mature content" (as you can see i... Continue reading
Parent of a 2-year-old Written bysonyal February 25, 2010
Kid, 11 years old October 2, 2016

A well-written, awesome book!

This is a really great book! I liked it better than the first one. I recommend this book for ages 12 and up, but a mature 10 or 11 year old could handle it. I... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byemzies04 April 28, 2011
I loved the book although it may not be appropriate for some kids. There is cussing in the book it isn't that often probably once every 4 pages. There is... Continue reading

What's the story?

BLOODHOUND finds young policewoman -- aka "Dog" -- Beka Cooper taking on her first big case as an official Guardswoman. With an increasing number of forged coins (called "coles") appearing on the streets of Corus and rumors of a bad grain harvest starting to circulate, the country's entire economy could be in trouble. Accompanied by a grumpy pigeon and an enthusiastic scent hound named Achoo, Beka and her partner follow the coles' trail to Port Caynn, where they meet a whole cast of new characters -- and encounter plenty of new trouble.

Is it any good?

Like its predecessor, Terrier, Bloodhound is much more of a crime procedural than a traditional fantasy novel. While magic certainly has a role in the story (Beka can talk to ghosts carried by pigeons, as well as pick up snippets of conversation from small whirlwinds), it's far less central than in Pierce's other books. Some fans may miss that aspect, but it's a nice change of pace to see characters relying on "regular" resources -- and taking "regular" risks as they do so. Beka's achievements are all the more satisfying because she achieves them almost entirely on her own merits.

Also like Terrier, the book is told through first-person journal entries. It's a very intimate writing style, and it helps cement Beka's status as a likeable, relatable heroine -- one of many in Pierce's repertoire. In addition to creating strong female characters, Pierce has always done an excellent job of telling engrossing, well-paced stories, and Bloodhound is no exception.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the world the book takes place in. If you've read Pierce's other novels, how does this compare to other stories set in Tortall? Does it feel as much like a fantasy as the other books? Why or why not?

  • What do you think of the way the Dogs and Rats co-exist? Does that seem realistic?

  • What era in real human history do you think the book is most closely related to?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fantasy

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