Mark Reads ‘Bloodhound’: Part 7

In the seventh part of Bloodhound, Beka prepares to leave Corus. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Bloodhound.

I’m so excited for this, but I understand that there’s an air of sadness to the direction this book has no taken. This is a huge change, not just for Beka, but for us! The massive cast of characters we met in Terrier will probably factor little into this novel. I mean, the only possibility I can see for people like Tunstall, Kora, Aniki, or Rosto to show up is if Beka is the one who returns to Corus to give the weekly report. But I have a feeling that Beka is going to get too wrapped up in her work to have the time to leave. Plus, she’ll have to travel with a dog every time, and Goodwin might think that’s too inconvenient or complicated.

I’ll have to see what happens when the time comes. For now, I could appreciate how hard this was for Beka, who has spent at least the last year developing a routine so that she could be as familiar as possible with the city and her work. That familiarity allows her to combat her own shyness in some ways, so I’ll be interested to see how see reacts to the newness of Port Caynn. How is she going to deal with her support network? The only friend she’ll have with her is Goodwin, but what if they get separated for long periods of time? How often will she have to perform her role in order to stay undercover? WHEN WILL I STOP ASKING QUESTIONS? (Never, I have so many of them.)

For the most part, Beka’s day prior to leaving is spent preparing for her trip. There’s lots of packing and purchases made, but she also visits certain people she may not see for some time. First up is Granny Fern, who’s as saucy as ever, both about Beka’s recent injuries and the trip she’s about to go on. Well, “saucy” refers to the super direct she puts on Beka to watch for sailers AND THEN TO GET LAID? Lord, does she realize the conflicting messages she just sent? Watch out for sailors, who will get you pregnant, but also, go get pregnant and don’t let your womb go to waste. I loved Beka’s silent response to all of this:

I’ll keep my womb to myself. The first looby who tells me I’m not fit to do a Dog’s proper work because of it gets a kiss from my baton.

Good for you!

Beka makes sure to pay a last visit to her spinners and pigeons, which made me wonder if she’ll find and interact with new ones in Port Caynn. Or are spinners only a Corus thing? Regardless, she’s smart to make sure that they’re all taken care of, since there’s a repeated message here that Beka has no clue when she’ll finally be done the job. It could take two weeks, but it could also take her and Goodwin months to track down the colemongers. Because of this, she heads to the Provost’s House in the hope of saying goodbye to her brothers and sisters.

This does not go as Beka planned, and I admit the whole thing is super upsetting. It’s meant to be, obviously, and it’s not like it’s a surprise that Lady Teodorie despises Beka unfairly. That doesn’t mean it’s at all easier to accept the fact that Lady Teodorie is brutal in her treatment and judgment of Beka. Like, you know Teodorie was well aware that Beka was leaving, that she was coming to say goodbye to her siblings, and that denying her the chance to do so was mean. But she doesn’t care, and she has to tell the messenger that extra bit about forbidding the servants from talking to her because she isn’t smart enough to quit the Provost’s Guard. WHICH HER HUSBAND IS IN CHARGE OF. But Lady Teodorie isn’t concerned about fairness; she needs a scapegoat for her own misguided distaste in what her husband does. And there’s not a problem with disliking law enforcement, obviously. The problem here is that she takes out this dislike on Beka since she can’t change her husband into what she wants him to be.

It’s an awkward situation that Lord Gershom is well aware of and largely powerless to change himself. He can’t force his wife to enjoy someone, and he knows that her issues with the Dogs are longstanding and very personal. It just… it sucks! It sucks all around, and there’s no easy solution to it.

I don’t know that I need to add commentary to what follow directly after this, since Goodwin shows up and there’s a very long, detailed section about all of the things that Gershom is providing them with for their trip. I’m glad the section is so long, though, because I think I’ll need to know what supplies they have at their disposal once they get to Port Caynn. It’s good plotting! Pierce lays these items out very plainly, we learn why they’re important, and I imagine we’ll be seeing them repeatedly. (THERE’S NO WAY THEY WON’T USE THOSE STONE CIRCLES TO LOCATE ONE ANOTHER. It’s totally happening!) I did want to note that Pierce also includes something that’s certain to be foreshadowing: the paper giving them access to the Dogs “versed in torture.” Both Beka and Goodwin are opposed to the use of torture to acquire information, but I’m betting that they’ll have to wrestle with the moral implications of it during their investigation. I’ll save my thoughts on that subject once it comes up, though.

I also figured that Gershom’s warning about Sir Lionel was going to play a part in their work as well. I mean, he’s kept the peace in Port Caynn, the biggest port city, better than all the other port cities in Tortall? I got the sense that he hadn’t shared his techniques with Gershom, so… lord, I have no idea what that is about. I’M SURE I’LL FIND OUT.

Finally, Beka gets her wish to see her siblings – well, three of them, at least – before she leaves. The scene is incredibly short, which made me sad because I knew Beka wished that she had more time. But as I said at the beginning of this, there’s an air of sadness to this new chapter in her life. Hell, the same goes for Goodwin, who is already missing her husband. For Beka, though, she’s about to embark on an intimidating new journey, without Pounce, without most of her friends, without her family, and with very little familiarity of the new setting. I’m glad, then, that Goodwin is the one accompanying her. I think Goodwin is the best possible partner that Beka could have at a time like this, and I can’t wait to read about their buddy cop capers.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since ’09.

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