StormyWolf, January 1, 2011 (view all comments by StormyWolf)
"In 246 H.E., the Provost's Dogs guard Tortall's capital city. Beka Cooper is one of their newest trainees—a Puppy wet behind the ears but eager to learn. But Beka will have to learn faster than she bargained for because she's assigned to the Lower City, Corus's toughest district. It's filled with pickpockets who are fast as lightning, rogues who will knock your teeth out with a smile, and murderers with hidden plans." (Book Jacket)
Luckily, Beka's got a few tricks up her sleeve. Gifted with the ability to hear murdered spirits, she's already discovered two separate killing sprees. Unfortunately, the dead aren't very detailed, and going on half the facts can get a Dog killed. It'll take all of Beka's smarts and skills if she's going to track down these murderers. If she doesn't get killed in the meantime....
I must admit, Terrier was a wonderful break from the slough of paranormal YA I've been reading recently. Nothing against any of those books, mind you, but this book was a welcome breath of fresh air. It has action, mystery, investigation, and just that tiny hint of magic that lets you know anything's possible. The magic is there, but it's more of a whisper than a major player, leaving the characters to rely on more 'conventional' methods.
Even though, as I said earlier, Tris was probably my favorite character, Beka and I instantly clicked. She's smart, headstrong, loyal, but at the same time unbearably shy around her superiors to the point that she can barely get out a full sentence. Yet, because we're in her head, we know she's not an idiot and she doesn't mean to waste anyone's time, and she's kicking herself for not being stronger. Now, who can't relate to that?
Oh, you caught that? That's right, this book is written in 1st person—the first of the Tortall books to be done so. Though some might see it as merely a conformity to the fad that is running rampant through current YA fiction, I cannot stress enough how wrong they would be.
Terrier is written as a series of journal entries—and not your typical, "Dear Diary, I hope Brad asks me to the prom," either. Done in the style of police reports, Beka's entries are extremely detailed and strictly business. Perhaps Beka introduces them best:
Written on the morning of my first day of duty.
I have this journal that I mean to use as a record of my days in the Provost's Guard. Should I survive my first year as a Puppy, it will give me good practice for writing reports when I am a proper Dog. By setting down as much as I can remember word by word, especially in talk with folk about the city, I will keep my memory exercises sharp. (Terrier 21)
Of course, since these are only practice, you can't expect everything to be without personality. I think my favorite quips were her beginning notes about her 'peaches' not being too large, but it being alright because she was not in the market for a man. Pierce lets Beka's personality shine through the narrative, while still giving us a compelling adventure and mystery.
If I had one complaint... Since these are Beka's journals, meant for her eyes only, she often doesn't describe 'commonly known' terms. While some vocabulary terms' (like peaches) meanings are easily worked out, some other terms require a glossary. Luckily, Pierce includes one in the back of all her books. Nearly everything and everyone you need to know is located in the back of the book.
However, I still had trouble picking out the names. Beka's two partners, Matthias Tunstall and Clara Goodwin are referred to by both nicknames and last names multiple times in the first chapter. Even with the glossary, the slang took some getting used to as well. Also, the term "cove" is used throughout the book to mean male, man, or boy, but is never clearly defined and is left out of the glossary. Eventually (around the second chapter) my mind made the transition and everything clicked into place.
(I see that cove has been included in the sequel's glossary and means "man".)
Age-wise, I'd recommend a slightly older audience. Romance isn't an issue for Beka (thank goodness—a break from love triangles!) but there are allusions to sex and promiscuity. The book deals with murder, and though there aren't any graphic scenes, death and crime are main players. Plus, just because of the nature of the narration, Terrier might not capture younger readers' attention right away. Probably middle school or older would enjoy these the best.
Overall, if you enjoy YA literature, if you want the teen without the teen drama, or if you want strong, relateable, heroines, you MUST give Tamora Pierce a read. Whether you're looking for adventure, mythology, spies, mages, knights, teachers, or detectives, she's got you covered. For anyone who hasn't yet read Tamora Pierce, the Provost's Dog (aka Beka Cooper) series is certainly a great place to start. And for those who have already fallen in love with Pierce, you'll want to check out this latest venture into Tortall.
Emily Garland, December 20, 2009 (view all comments by Emily Garland)
This story has the many details that make a great story, a great lead character, a detailed plot that keeps you guessing and an amazing set of supporting characters. I have to say these are one of those stories that stays with you and keeps you wanting more. I feel that this story leads the reader on a amazing adventure.
gen08, August 1, 2009 (view all comments by gen08)
I loved this story. Usually I find female character stereotypical and boring, but Beka Cooper is a strong and fascinating female protagonist. In fact, all the characters in this story are very good. I loved Goodwin and Tunstall; they were great secondary characters that made up for Beka's quiet nature. The world is rich and vibrant, with enough dark to make it realistic.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No (1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
j5musicfan, June 2, 2008 (view all comments by j5musicfan)
I loved how strong-willed Beka is, and how she won't let something small as being shy stand in her way of doing her job. She can also be one of the best, and have almost no magical talent, except for her Birdies.
I can't wait for the next book to come out. I have been waiting almost 2 years for it! Tamora Pierce has such a way with words.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No (0 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
Terrier: The Legend of Beka Cooper #1 (Beka Cooper #01)
Used Trade Paper
0 stars -
Random House Books for Young Readers -
"Pierce deftly handles the novel's journal structure, and her clear homage to the police-procedural genre applies a welcome twist to the girl-legend-in-the-making story line."
by School Library Journal,
"With its rollicking adventure, appealing characters, and inclusion of Tortall's history, Terrier will be in strong demand by Pierce's fans. It will keep readers on the edge of their seats."
"Fans of the author will love this latest entry in Pierce's canon, and newcomers will find Beka a refreshing and enjoyable heroine."
"Readers who fancy a British-sounding fantasy will enjoy Pierce's latest entry. Beka is a credible teenager who develops character throughout the book....A welcome addition to Pierce's opus — and the makings of a great movie."
Pierce begins a new Tortall trilogy introducing Beka Cooper, an amazing young woman who lived 200 years before Pierce's popular Alanna character. For the first time, Pierce employs first-person narration in a novel, bringing readers even closer to a character that they will love for her unusual talents and tough personality.
Tamora Pierce meets George R. R. Martin in this smart, political, medieval fantasy-thriller.
There is a new king on the throne of Tildor. Currents of political unrest sweep the country as two warring crime families seek power, angling to exploit the young Crown's inexperience. At the Academy of Tildor, the training ground for elite soldiers, Cadet Renee de Winter struggles to keep up with her male peers. But when her mentor, a notorious commander recalled from active duty to teach at the Academy, is kidnapped to fight in illegal gladiator games, Renee and her best friend Alec find themselves thrust into a world rife with crime, sorting through a maze of political intrigue, and struggling to resolve what they want, what is legal, and what is right.
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.