Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Becka Cooper Book 2: Blood Hound, by Tamora Pierce

I have been a fan of Pierce's various series for a long time now. I particularly enjoyed her first book in the Beka Cooper series. Beka is a street kid who lives and works in the slums "the lower city" of the capital city of Tortal. (Yes this is fantasy fiction). In the first book we followed her as she worked through the apprenticeship and training to become a "dog" (police office) in the roughest area of the city. She is aided by her "powers" to hear the spirits of dead who are riding pigeons, communicate with "spinners" (dust devils), and her cat who is a magical creature--perhaps a god.

In the second book Beka is now a full fledged "dog" and in search of good working partners. The main plot of the book surrounds a counterfeiting ring. A sub theme in the book appears to be GLBT rights. Several of the secondary characters are homosexual or transgendered. There is also more explicit sexuality than has appeared in Pierce's previous books.

Sexual orientation issues are a leading cause of suicide in young adults. I believe it is important for teachers to be aware of books they can recommend to students who have need this opportunity to explore the challenges they are facing. The sexuality issues are all treated very tastefully. But, I think teachers who have been fans of the other Pierce series should read the entirety of this book before they recommend it to readers. It is for a more mature reader than the Circle of Magic, Protector of the Small, Immortals, or Song of the Lioness series.

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