This book is a usual girl-power book by Tamora Pierce, but I loved it! My favorite series is the Wild Magic Series, but this one is very excellent as well (they all are, I mean, it’s Tamora Pierce). It is the first series, chronologically, but if you read the Alanna books (Song of the Lioness, technically) first, some stuff is ironically funny. (Like, you find out the origin of the Court of the Rouge name and such). I loved it! Yay!
“Sixteen-year-old Beka Cooper lives far removed from knights, palaces, and the nobility. Her world revolves around thieves, beggars, taverns, and the lowest of the low. She’s a trainee for the Provost’s Guard (Dogs, as they’re called, which makes Beka a Puppy); a rookie cop assigned to police the city’s worst slum.
Beka has always wanted to be a Dog, but she has one problem – she’s shy. Painfully shy. Not the best way to make a first impression or command the respect of the public. But she also has talent, and a strange kind of magic that allows her to hear the voices of the dead – and they have plenty to say. Soon she hears whispers of two vicious sets of crimes and Puppy or no, once Beka gets a case in her teeth, she doesn’t let go.”
This book is in the form of Beka’s diary, and the first entry is her first day in training. Since the guards are “Dogs,” all the trainees are called “Puppies.” I think it’s cute. She’s paired with Clara “Clary” Goodwin, and Matthis “Mattes” Tunstall. Neither of them really want a Puppy, but they take her and go. Her education in the process of keeping the peace is really fun to read, even going back several times to read it again. Sometimes the whole diary thing doesn’t go well, but this is really good and easy to read. I love the first person, and since it’s a diary, we hear everything about Beka’s day like we were there with her.
Beka’s siblings are all trying to rise up in the world, and they all look down on her for choosing to become a Dog. Kind of sad, actually. Who protects them when their on the streets? Certainly not stablehands, messengers, maids, or seamstresses, that’s for sure. Her family doing that to her ALMOST made me cry. I have siblings, and I can’t image all of them looking at me like I was dirt like that! The way the whole story just works together is really good. I thought there might be some boring parts in the middle, because how interesting can a Puppy’s life be, even with murders? It was so good, though! There was a wonderful mix of training, murder solving, friend having, and the barest (and I mean barest) dash of romance. Excellent!
Now, I love feminist empowerment books, so this was great! Beka is George’s (from the Song of the Lioness series) ancestor from 200 years ago. Kind of funny how Beka, a very loyal Provost Dog, would end up eventually begetting an excellent thief and the country’s spymaster… Anyway! Beka is an amazing character, and I love her sooooooo much! But you know how all characters have to have flaws of they’re just annoying? Beka’s only flaw (that I thought worth noting) was kind of obviously her flaw. Shyness, obviously, you can tell by the synopsis. That’s my one beef.
In the book, Beka is only vain about one thing: her gorgeous, long, red hair. I love that, because I’m also kind of vain about my hair. I used to wish it was red, and then I realized how stupid I would look with red hair (I’m too tan for it).
On to my favorite part of books: romance! This novel is SORELY lacking in romance, though there is some. Rosto, a skilled rouge from Scanra, comes down to take over the Court of the Rouge! The current king is old and not doing his job and he’s a jerk! Rosto is tall, muscular, pale (he IS from Scanra), has beautiful dark eyes, and white blond hair. Gorgeous, right? Well, Beka can’t get over the fact that he’s a criminal. Yes, that would indeed interfere with her work, but to sacrifice love for your job? I think not! Then again, she does love the Lord Provost, so I guess it’s kinda the same thing… (Loves him in a way that a child loves her father, by the way. Nothing funny.)
Still, Rosto is my favorite character besides Pounce! (Pounce is a black, purple eyed cat that befriends Beka in her childhood and follows her everywhere. And she can speak telepathically. Can we say goddess-possessed cat? Song of the Lioness anyone?) He’s funny, and the Love Interest, so of course I love him! Any author worth her salt can make me fall in love with their male lead. (I’m kind of a Hopeless Romantic. We need an Anonymous club for us…) Anyway! Beka is great and all, but she is kind of annoying sometimes about Rosto and Pounce.
End really didn’t have a Gasp Factor. A 0/10. Maybe a 1/10 because of a certain event I will not disclose. It really ended, though there was room open for another book. Which did happen, by the way! Bloodhound came out in 2009, and the third book (supposedly the last one), Mastiff, comes out this year! Yay! More Rosto, please!
Page Count: 592 (Long, but interesting all the way through.)
Until next time,