Terrier by Tamora Pierce
Published by Random House on October 24, 2006
Series: Beka Cooper #1
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Young Adult
Length: 584 pages Source: Borders
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Hundreds of years before Alanna first drew her sword in Tamora Pierce's memorable debut, Alanna: The First Adventure, Tortall had a heroine named Beka Cooper - a fierce young woman who fights crime in a world of magic. This is the beginning of her story, her legend, and her legacy....
Beka Cooper is a rookie with the law-enforcing Provost's Guard, commonly known as "the Provost's Dogs," in Corus, the capital city of Tortall. To the surprise of both the veteran "Dogs" and her fellow "puppies," Beka requests duty in the Lower City. The Lower City is a tough beat. But it's also where Beka was born, and she's comfortable there.
Beka gets her wish. She's assigned to work with Mattes and Clary, famed veterans among the Provost's Dogs. They're tough, they're capable, and they're none too happy about the indignity of being saddled with a puppy for the first time in years. What they don't know is that Beka has something unique to offer. Never much of a talker, Beka is a good listener. So good, in fact, that she hears things that Mattes and Clary never could - information that is passed in murmurs when flocks of pigeons gather ... murmurs that are the words of the dead.
In this way, Beka learns of someone in the Lower City who has overturned the power structure of the underworld and is terrorizing its citizens into submission and silence. Beka's magical listening talent is the only way for the Provost's Dogs to find out the identity of this brutal new underlord, for the dead are beyond fear. And the ranks of the dead will be growing if the Dogs can't stop a crime wave the likes of which has never been seen. Luckily for the people of the Lower City, the new puppy is a true terrier!
I liked Beka’s story because it was one of Pierce’s, but that was about the extent of my interest. I found some places to be tedious, as though it took Beka a very long time to find one little piece of information, but she discovered the whole plot in a moment. I understand that Pierce is working towards a trilogy, and so the things that bore me now are likely to be important later.
This book is written in the first person, and that must be expected before going into it. Traditionally Pierce writes in the third person, so the journal-reading experience is a new one for readers of hers.
There were many charming aspects. I liked Beka’s friends – the rouges more than the Puppies and Dogs. You can tell from the start which are going to be important based on the way she writes about them, and I look forward to hearing all of their stories in the later books. I also loved Beka’s cat, Pounce, and I remember Alanna’s trusted cat-friend who turned out to be a deity and I cannot help but wonder if it is that same handing guiding Beka….
Pierce does not disappoint. I believe that Terrier is far from being her strongest work, but it is a good read nonetheless and should not be missed by any fan of her work.