A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
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?
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