In the twelfth part of Bloodhound, Beka and Goodwin head out for their first night in town. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Bloodhound.
I think that Bloodhound has taken a decidedly more adult approach than past Tortall books, which isn’t to suggest that only adults should read about this or discuss this. On the contrary, I think Pierce does a good job describing the side of Port Caynn that’s new to Beka and most likely existed in most of the settings in past books. It’s almost like… like the Tortall books are growing up with the audience, especially if you’d been reading Pierce in real time.
This is all worldbuilding with hints of another possible explanation for the silver coles, and lord, IT’S SOME GREAT WORLDBUILDING. Goodwin and Beka dress up for their night out with Hanse and Steen, which is how Beka plans on perfecting her own story. She admits upfront that she’s going to use her outfit to support her acting that night, since she has such a complicated role to play while in Port Caynn. Honestly, it was a lot of fun to watch Goodwin take the lead and then see how Beka would follow that. I mean, this is such a difficult thing they’ve got to pull off, and I wonder if their male companions are going to figure out that they’re in Port Caynn for another reason.
Bah, I’m getting way ahead of myself. The Merman’s Cave is the first of two major settings where Goodwin and Beka do their best to blend in while observing. And I’m glad that it’s slow goings for the most part because they both have to integrate themselves within this social group in order to gain their trust. For Beka, that means she’s got to play the role of the naive Dog, and she uses her shyness to play up her innocence at times. But Goodwin? HOLY SHIT. It’s absolutely entertaining to see her portray herself as a loose Dog, not only because she’s so good at it, but it feels like a glimpse into a past we never got to see. She drinks, she flirts, she’s boisterous and loud, and she’s eager to have a fun night out on the town.
And lord, is there a lot of flirting. Amidst Dave’s flirtations, Beka meets more people loosely connected to the Rogue, and I noticed that things in Port Caynn weren’t that much different than they were in Corus, at least in terms of how the Rogue ran things. Not that Pearl Skinner is a great Rogue! There’s stuff later in this section that hints at her irresponsibility or lack of priorities. But the city’s rushers and sex workers and gamblers all owe something to the Rogue, whether that’s loyalty, respect, or even avoidance. Everyone accepts the Rogue as a part of their lives.
The group enjoys drinks and sea stew before heading to the Waterlily to gamble, where we do get a couple clues about the coles. (We also get that really sweet scene where one of Pearl’s maids gives money to a street performer!) Dale acts nervous inside the Waterlily until Hanse guarantees that Pearl nor her companions are in the house. As it turns out, Pearl gambled heavily for a week a month earlier, despite that Flory could have sworn the Court of the Rogue didn’t have the money that Pearl boasted. So where’d all the money come from? Why were they so loose with their own coin? Was it all silver coles that they were distributing freely into the pot? And what about this line of Flory’s?
“I wonder how much she spent on supplies for the winter.”
We know from Rosto in Terrier that a Rogue should take care of their own, so this nudged me into believing that maybe folk weren’t that into Pearl as their Rogue. Maybe?
But let’s just get to the big reveal in this chapter. Beka wanders off and comes to a wonderful singer in the Waterlily, whose voice is just as beautiful as her face. Except… IT’S OKHA. So… OMG. Is this like a drag persona of Okha’s, or is this something more? BECAUSE… UM… I AM EXCITED ABOUT THIS??? I MUST FIND OUT RIGHT NOW.
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