Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Review: Terrier

I recently realized that I've never reviewed a Tamora Pierce book on arch thinking before. I find this so surprising, as I have been a big fan of hers since I was a kid. I think I first read Alanna when I was 11 or so (it was published in 1983, but I'm not so old that I read it when it first came out!) and I have faithfully read all of her Tortall books* in the years since, most of them multiple times. Does this make me a big geek? Oh, probably. =)

Terrier is the first book in Pierce's newest series set in Tortall, set about 200 years before the events in Alanna. Told in journal form, its the story of Beka Cooper, training to be one of the Provost's Guards.
In 246 H.E., the Provost's Dogs guard Tortall's capital city. Beka Cooper is one of the 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 lightening, rogues who will knock your teeth out with a smile, and murderers with hidden plans. In the constant battle for the Lower City's streets, Beka will have to use her smarts and her own eerie brand of magic if she hopes to survive.
I first read Terrier when it came out in paperback originally and I read it again recently. I needed a little comfort food reading and I grabbed this one off the shelf.

I really like Beka. She's a good character to spend time with and, especially since it is told in the form of her journal, the reader gets to feel very close with her.

Some aspects of Terrier didn't really ring true for me, though. I'm pretty critical of journal-style or epistolary novels - its very hard to authentically be in that voice and yet tell the story as it needs to be told. Pierce does a great job, but there's a little more dialogue than I think would actually be in a journal. And the snippet of Beka's mother's journal at the beginning felt very inauthentic (I just can't really see a barely literate, impoverished woman keeping a journal).

Complaints aside, I really enjoyed this book and am looking forward to reading the next book in the series, Bloodhound (which comes out in paperback in May!).

Buy Terrier (The Legend of Beka Cooper, Book 1) on Amazon.

* I don't read her Circle books - they're a little young, even for me.


  1. I really like Tamora Pierce and read all of The Protector of the Small, Immortals, Alanna books and Tricksters. I didn't enjoy the Circle books either and didn't finish them. I haven't read this one so now, maybe I will! :) Nice review Lorin.

  2. I can hardly believe I've yet to read any Tamora Pierce! What do you think would be a good starting place?

  3. I have this one and Bloodhound and I need to read them soon. I haven't actually read TP before, so I'm excited!


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