I failed–I am a failure. I have failed to completely read the Tortall books by Tamora Pierce, and I have only failed by one and a half books. And I’ll tell you why.
With the Provost’s Dog series, Tamora Pierce decided to take a departure from her usual third-person, limited style of writing (i.e. where the story follows one character almost exclusively but isn’t inside their head, like most fiction writing) and chose to instead tell the story via Beka Cooper’s diaries. Beka is a common-born, common-raised girl, a “street mot” as she would call herself. She writes in her diary in slang. Normally these are the types of thing that I love; I love being privy to rich inner voices, ways of speaking that are different from my own. I also love that Beka is a commoner, in contrast to the noble and god-born protagonists of her other books in the Tortall universe. It’s a section of the population I’ve wanted to know more about, and Pierce certainly delivers in these books on filling in the gaps in the lower-class world of Tortall.
What I can’t stand are the “peaches.”
In the context of the book, Beka’s “peaches” seem to be her boobs. Her breasts, if you will. And they’re very…active. When Beka meets handsome Rosto the Piper in Terrier, we hear about Beka’s peaches feeling “tight” and “tingling” in Rosto’s presence. However, Rosto is a forbidden love affair, so Beka doesn’t focus on him–and she has crime to solve, anyway.
In Bloodhound, however, Beka and her partner, Clara Goodwin, have to go undercover in Port Caynn to undercover a counterfeiting ring. Their cover is that they’re “loose” (corrupt) Dogs who are essentially on a vacation for Beka’s health, and they flirt, gamble, and drink their way into the underbelly of Port Caynn, to let them suss out the counterfeiters. While Beka doesn’t really drink and doesn’t like gambling, the interest of a man named Dale helps her make friends among Port Caynn’s more criminal element. Dale and Beka’s flirting starts to become hot and heavy, and…
The peaches. the peaches are everywhere! They’re “tight,” “hot,” “heavy,” they “tingle.” They’re all over the pages. It seems like, rather than smiling, blushing, or feeling hot all over, all of Beka’s sexual energy is focused in her breasts, which go wild around Dale. There are sections where I feel like I know more about what her breasts are doing than what Beka’s up to.
Look. I get that it’s slang. I also get that different people experience sexual attraction differently. But my breasts don’t do any of this stuff. My breasts, for the most part, just sit on my chest and…be breasts. Sometimes they might be described as “tingling,” but that’s when I’m cold. I also don’t know anyone who might describe their breasts as getting “tight.” It might be that Beka is attributing these things to her breasts when she means her chest, indicative of a misunderstanding coming out of being a common-born person, but…she’s still describing her breasts just doing a series of increasingly wild things, for increasing acreage per page.
This feels like such a petty thing to obsess over, especially when I’m mostly on board with the rest of the slang in the books. The use of “mot,” “cove,” “gixie,” “coney,” and other slang is suprisingly easy to handle and understand, and that’s credit to Pierce. But I found that each time Beka’s “peaches” appeared on the page, I was drawn out of the story, and increasingly annoyed with Beka’s wild bosom taking over the plot.
Over the past week or so, I’ve been trying to force myself to make headway in Bloodhound so that I could finish it in time for this week’s review, but, well…I’ve been forcing myself, and frankly, I don’t want to force myself anymore. This book just plain doesn’t work for me, and I have an inkling that Mastiff will also include romantic drama into which Beka’s breasts will be injected. I could make myself finish just in order to finish, and if this were my job, I would do that. But this isn’t my job. I don’t earn money off this site–I may one day, but for now there’s no profit in it.
The peaches are…a lot. They are so much, for me. Other people obviously don’t mind, but I just can’t stand them, and I’m really not planning on making myself sit through books that just don’t work for me. I obviously appreciate Tamora Pierce for her wit, her writing, and the world she’s made, but Beka Cooper just isn’t my bag of beans.
So that’s it for now for Corus! Look out for my review of Tempests and Slaughter as soon as I get my hands on my copy–hopefully Numair won’t have any “peaches.” Or would they be “plums” on a man? I shudder to even speculate. And if you want to discuss peaches, “peaches,” or anything else, feel free to comment on this post or catch me on Twitter.
And hang tight for the next regular series on this site–it’s going to be truly outrageous.