The Compulsive Reader: Terrier by Tamora Pierce

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Terrier by Tamora Pierce

A couple of weeks ago, Mastiff, the final book in Tamora Pierce's latest trilogy came out. I was beyond excited as I've loved Pierce's work since I was about 11. I've read all of her Tortall books (which can have very confusing order, so click here if you want to know more about that) and I had read Terrier back about 5 years ago. I had Bloodhound, book two, sitting on my shelf since about Christmas of 2008 or 2009, but hadn't gotten to it. So, I took a delightful week and I got caught up. Here's my review of Terrier! Look for Bloodhound's review tomorrow, and Mastiff the day after!

Beka Cooper is the newest puppy in the Provost's Dogs, the guards that keep the peace in the streets Corus, the capital city. She's tough, which is a quality that is required to work in the Lower City, the seediest portion. She's also been assigned to the two best veteran Dogs in the Guard—Tunstall and Goodwin. They're a famous pair, and it'll take everything that Beka has to keep up with them—and to cobble a killer that has been preying on the poor and kidnapping their children. Beka has a few unconventional talents—she can speak to the dead through the city's pigeons, and she communicates with dust spinners...but will it be enough to survive her first few months in Provost’s Guard? 

Terrier, the first book in the Legend of Beka Cooper trilogy, is quite a departure from Pierce's earlier work. First, it's set in Corus, Tortall—two hundred years before Alanna's story begins. Second, it's written in first person journal format. However, that style works for this story, and there's plenty that is familiar about Beka's world that will draw Tortall fans in. Pierce really makes Corus come alive in this one, painting a vivid picture of what life was like for people before Alanna's time (tough, especially with slavers looking to kidnap children, but not without its redeeming qualities—strong women who could fight were a part of everyday life), and the fine line that the Dogs have to walk each day. Their job is equal parts enforcing the law and allowing certain lawlessness to occur (such as bribe taking) to keep the peace, especially when dealing with the Rogue's court. This is epitomized in Beka's tentative friendship with three newcomers who become her neighbors, but aren't always on the right side of the law. However, she is fiercely loyal to her job and the Crown, and determined to do what is right. She is a bit over eager at times, and makes mistakes, but her partners Tunstall and Goodwin keep her on the right path, and the dynamics between the three of them are delightful. The two mysteries that the Dogs have to deal with are puzzling and perfectly drawn out to keep you hanging in suspense, and the seriousness is punctuated by arch remarks from Beka's cat Pounce, who readers will recognize by the name Faithful. All in all, Terrier is a terrific start to what is sure to be a suspenseful, promising trilogy!

Cover Comments: I am loving this cover! I like how Beka looks very tough and bad-ass with her stare and baton, and the pigeons and the cat are the perfect additions! Awesome colors, awesome cover!

Review copy purchased.


Anonymous said...

I'm a little confused by this. Is Beka a dog in human form? Or is the "Dog" thing a sort of group?

The Compulsive Reader said...

She's human..."Dogs" is the nickname for the Provost's Guards.