Book lovers who can change into dogs search for an ancient library in Polo’s follow-up to Retrieved (2012).
Warm and intuitive, Bliss Light is the children’s librarian at the Shipsfeather Public Library in Ohio. She’s also a magical dog-shifter, able to change at will into a sleek white greyhound. In Shipsfeather, she’s joined by a cast of similarly gifted people who fight for knowledge and literacy against power-hungry werewolves. A more immediate problem for Bliss, however, is changing from her dog form back to her human form. Only in the presence of friend and fellow shifter Harry (who’s an English sheepdog/werewolf mix) can she focus enough to change successfully. Harry, sensing that he and Bliss have the potential to be more than friends, joins her on a winding road trip to soothe her spiritual restlessness; they’re also searching for the mythic Library of the Ancients, which supposedly houses manuscripts on the dog-shifters’ origins. In their way are the conniving werewolf lobbyist Sybilla Dinzelbacher Romano and her wolf-shifting goon, Blaze. Besides being Harry’s ex-wife, Sybilla is also the daughter of Sen. Romano, who’s pushing for legislation that will hire more dogcatchers nationwide. While heading west through sacred park sites, can Bliss and Harry stay ahead of the dog snatchers already hunting them? Author Polo does an excellent job organizing the details of her inviting series for new and returning readers. Reformed Harry, after all, had a “role in burning the town’s old Carnegie library,” among other attempts at violence. The werewolves here suffer a madness not limited to urban fantasy—distaste for intellectualism: “The increasing dog population is destroying the fabric of our country,” says Sybilla. Yet Bliss and Harry’s adventure avoids getting bogged down in political parallels. New Age elements, snippets of cleverness—e.g., the “bowser browser, Zoogle”—and dogs in realistic danger find an appealing balance. At its core, the narrative illustrates how some kennels and breeders abuse animals but also how kindness can heal humans and dogs—and maybe even cats.
A fanciful read that remains loyal to its noble principles.