Terrier (Beka Cooper #1) by Tamora Pierce
Genres/Themes: Fantasy, Cops v. robbers, YA, Magic
I finally bought the rest of this series and I wanted to read it….but I was also nervous to get started. Also, it is a pretty hefty book (over 500 pages), so I’ve been putting it off to read other library books, netgalley books etc. Finally, I picked it up, and gave it another try.
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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!
Reading Tamora Pierce for me is so warm and cozy. My worries vanished as soon as Beka started narrating and I could feel myself settling in for what I knew would be a good book.
Beka and all the other characters are so fun and different and just so awesome to read about. I felt close to the characters, so there are moments I felt the tears welling up! The mystery is not obvious to figure out. The plot moves along at a nice pace– not too wordy for me! I like the diary format of the book and even though I was worried about not getting into it–I totally did. I always like when there are dates, so you know how long the book is…if that makes sense.
There is also a glossary in the back to understand some of the slang of the lower city, character names, and information about the history (who is the king, when did the provost dogs start?).
I will say, the magic was not really explained… and for someone who has read all of the other Tortall books, it was different to read about someone who had a passive magic–there did not seem to be much she had to learn to use it, nor can she turn it off.
I absolutely recommend this book to people who like YA fantasy and mystery with strong female characters (of all kinds) with a little hint of mischief (because we can’t forget who Beka’s 6-times-great grandson is (; )