Posted by Venus on Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Labels: Young Adult Review
Beka Cooper has been a full Dog--a member of the Provost's Guard--for just over five months. When counterfeit silver coins begin turning up in shops all over the city, merchants begin raising their prices. Coupled with a bad grain harvest and a hard winter coming and Beka knows things are going to get bad in the city of Corus. Following her nose, Beka, her four-legged dog Achoo, and her partner Clary Goodwin head to Port Caynn on the tails of those who would ruin the kingdom. No mission is ever without its perils and Beka finds that she must protect her life and her heart.
With every mention of Beka's name, I long for George Cooper and Alanna and all the wonderful characters from Pierce's Lioness Rampant series. Not that Beka isn't an interesting character, but it does feel like she is lacking in the complexity both in character and plot that made Alanna so interesting. We are given such small snippets of Beka's life, a few weeks at a time, and I want to believe that Beka is made for greater things than simply being a Dog, otherwise why am I reading this series? It isn't enough that she is George Cooper's many greats grandmother. She must be more.
This second installment left me wanting more. More characters. Higher stakes. And less Beka. Yes, that's right. Less Beka. The entire book is Beka's thoughts, achievements, experiences, moments. Her mistakes are rare, and even when she makes them, things always come out right in the end. The other characters took such a backseat position that I found myself wandering, yearning for richer secondary characters with more substance. The most prevalent secondary character was Beka's scent hound, Achoo. An important part of the book to be sure, but not much characterization in a dog that can't talk. I was also sorely disappointed in the "relationship" that Beka forms with Dale. He quickly became the thing that made her tingle, but in the end I felt like he treated her like one of his tarts and strong tenacious Beka, let him.
On the bright side, the mystery was intense and although counterfeiting is a big deal, the problem of a corrupt Provost and guard almost gets Beka killed. That said, the pacing always felt off-kilter and the action stretched on and on in a way that made it impossible for readers not to guess the twists and turns. Tamora is a brilliant world builder, but Beka's world was just too small for me.