First of all, I pre-ordered it for my Nook and I am so super thankful that I have an awesome person in my life (Elisha Patten) who bought the Nook for me so when rather weighty books - 608 pages! - come along that I just must read, I don't strain my back carrying them around anymore. I do have to say that the only downside to Nook Books are pages that have maps - you can make text bigger but not the actual page, so maps tend to be really small.
Anyway.....Beka Cooper is dealing with something new, grief with a hardy side of self-loathing. The book starts with Beka writing about the burial Holborn - fellow Dog, and until he died, her man. Beka feels awful because things had started to sour between them, and then got himself killed while on duty. But what better way for a Dog, particularly Beka, to get over such a thing? Why a highly secret and dangerous mission to rescue the prince, of course! Beka, her partner Tunstall, Lady Sabine, a handsome and roguish magician named Farmer, along with Beka's scent hound Achoo and constellation-in-cat-form Pounce set out on a journey fraught with traps, double-crossings, slavers, jealous nobles, and evil magicians in order to find the prince and return him to his parents.
The stories of Beka have always kept me spell-bound, and even though the books are massive I never want them to end. I loved this book just as much if not more than the others. This was one of those books that really sucks you in and you want to jump through the pages and throttle someone even though you know they don't exist in real life. I also enjoyed the fact that Beka grew as a person, she learned things about herself, and she wasn't just the same old Beka. What also made this story really come alive was the issue of slavery, particularly child slavery. While the issue was not a major part of the storyline for most of book, Pierce makes it clear in the dedication that it will be addressed, and the ending does not disappoint! I recommend this book most highly to any Tamora Pierce lover, any kick-butt heroine lover, and anyone who needs to good read. But please make sure you've read the other ones first. Oh, and these are definitely for high school. Nothing gratuitous, but Beka is an adult, albeit a young one.