I bought this book because it was by Tamora Pierce and I read everything she writes. I opened it up to find that it was written as journal passages . . . this made me very nervous as I dislike books written in this style more times then not. However, I soon got passed this obstacle and got into the story of Beka Cooper. As a fan of all of Pierce's books I can honestly say that Beka may be very favorite heroine through all the books. I also really enjoyed the idea of the Dogs as a whole. I think fans will love this book and so will readers new to Pierce's work. I also think Terrier may hold more appeal for a male audience then some of Pierces other characters and series.
on May 31, 2007
Terrier (2006) is the first fantasy novel in the Beka Cooper series. Rebekah Cooper grew up in the Lower City section of Corus, the capital of Tortall. She is able to talk to the dust spinners and to hear the spirits of the dead riding on pigeons (but the dead rarely hear her). At eight years of age, she stalked the man who beat her mother and ran out with everything of value in their household.
After finding the man meeting with his pals in the Bold Brass gang, she turned them in to the Lord Provost himself when none other would listen. The Provost took Beka, her mother, and her four siblings into his own household. Beka eventually became a trainee in the Provost's Guard.
In this novel, Beka is a Puppy, assigned to two experienced Dogs for training. Clara Goodwin and Matthias Tunstall are the best Guards of the Evening Watch, which is reputed to be the best of the three Guard shifts. Goodwin has been a Provost's Guard for seventeen years and Tunstall has been a Guard for twenty years, thirteen as Goodwin's partner.
Now they are being saddled with a Puppy and Goodwin is not very happy about the whole thing; Tunstall, however, is rather pleased to have Beka as his Puppy. Both know of her part in bringing in the Bold Brass gang, but do not know anything about her magic. They also know nothing about Pounce, the cat who has adopted Beka. This new partnership is going to be a learning experience for all of them.
On her first night, trailing behind Goodwin and Tunstall, Beka is told to chase an escaping thief and falls -- literally -- for an old trick. She lands facedown in a pile of fish and is called Fishbelly for the rest of the shift.
The next night, she takes off after a crazed drunk who has struck Goodwin with the hilt of a knife. She chases the woman all across the Lower City nearly to the North gate and then brings her hobbled to the Provost's Guard kennel. Very few call her Fishbelly after that run, but some call her Terrier for the first time.
Then Goodwin and Tunstall find out that Beka is extremely shy. She can talk with friends, but public speaking ties up her tongue. Since she has to testify before the Provost's Magistrate, she forces herself to utter a few words. Fortunately the Magistrate is kind and helps her to tell the story of the chase and capture, with Goodwin and Tunstall filling in some details. Strangely enough, she doesn't appear have any problems telling malefactors that they are under arrest, even in public places.
In this story, Beka learns of two different crimes from her sources in the Lower City. The son of her friend Tansy is abducted and killed by someone calling himself the Shadow Snake after a childish fable. When she talks to Tansy, she is given a strange gemstone. Soon her pigeons bring new riders who complain of being killed in a hole that they have been hired to dig and the gemstone is somehow related.
In this story, Beka becomes the center of a small social circle that meets in her boarding house. Other trainees, experienced guards and even some rogues eat breakfast most mornings in her room or elsewhere in the house or on the grounds. This circle of friends also joins her in the search for the abducted diggers and the Shadow Snake.
This story takes place earlier in the history of Tortall, well before Alanna and her friends. Yet Beka is the progenitor of one of those friends. The story starts with the young George Cooper being told of his illustrious ancestor.
Based on past publications, this book may be the first in a tetralogy. Maybe the author is getting into a rut, always starting with a novice and then taking the series on to higher skills, but who cares when the stories are this good. This volume is definitely a fine start to a new series. Enjoy.
Highly recommended for Pierce fans and for anyone else who enjoy tales of minor magic, grubby police work and hardearned experience.
-Arthur W. Jordin
on November 29, 2006
Okay, I'll admit this part outright - I'm a Tamora Pierce fan. Her series are all amazing, for me at least. But even if you're not a huge (wish I could triple underline that) fan like I am, you'll STILL want to get this.
I'm going to start with a mini-review for fans of Tammy in particular.
New readers can scroll down and I'll give a review for you specially.
---SUPER TAMMY-FAN REVIEW---
Rebakah Cooper's story is completely new from her other stories. For the first time ever, two things have happened.
First, we've moved away from the nobility's side of things in the capital. Even Daine the Wildmage didn't see much of Corus' Lower City, and she's been the only commonborn heroine so far. In Alanna, the series set 200 years after Beka Cooper's, we get a brief description of the area surrounding the Dancing Dove in the Lower City, but never before have we truly seen what it was like to be living there before. This brings a whole new perspective to Tortall, and I for one am VERY glad for this new look at one of my favorite worlds.
Second, it's the first person perspective. The whole story is set out in journals, not in the narrator's eye like we're used to. It's a welcome change to switch to, something new to look at, but you can still see that bit of Tammy humor. Sure, I love the 3rd person, but 1st person is PERFECT for Beka's personality.
Speaking of her personality, there's another reason why I like the first person. It gives us Beka's world, and how she sees it. You can tell just from the first day of her experiences that she's a very straight-forward person, who knows what she wants, and isn't afraid to be frank about embarassing things. She describes with minute detail, and is always very calculating. Then, to prove that she's human (or at least half human), she has some emotional outbursts when she can't write in frustration.
Oh, and everybody remembers (cough LOVES cough) Faithful, right? He's back, except he's Pounce now. Pounce or Faithful, even 200 years back, he's got that prickly sense of humor and refusal to leave his mistress alone.
P.S. We all love our Lady Knights, don't we? My thanks to Tammy for putting in a lady knight. She did mention that female knights had only dissapeared a hundred years ago in Alanna, and this is two-hundred years back. Give a warm welcome to the AWESOME character of Lady Sabine. You'll see.
Now, I suggest you read the new-people review too. I'm going to mention the plot more, etc.
---NEW PEOPLE REVIEW---
Do you like any or all of the following?
a. Action and Horror
b. Suspense and Romance here and there
c. Kick-butt Heroines (as Ms. Pierce says herself)
d. Mysteries beyond recognition
e. Secrets hidden right before your eyes
If so, Terrier is 100% for you. If not, Terrier is still 90% for you, because it's simply that good. I'm NOT reciting the summary. Read it above, please.
The plot is written thorougly, with no details missing, even in the first-person form. It's extremely suspenseful. You're always waiting on the edge of your seat to see if she finds out more about what's happening in the Lower City slums/Cesspool of Corus. She also always have stuff to fill in here and there, stuff that has nothing to do with the plot, but is still so very interesting to read that you screech for more.
Beka, the main character, is very straightforward and easy to listen to. She has honesty that's somewhat like mine. She tells all she can possibly bear to, and a few things she can't, for the sake of keeping the journal. I'm much the same, telling as much as I can. It helps me relate to her.
It's very easy to relate to Beka on any level. Beka is the kind of girl who thinks about a whole lot of things. Chances are a reader will at least connect with her in some way. If they don't (which I believe to be impossible) then they can focus on the other characters, who are all richly developed as Tamora Pierce's are always, and they can focus on the rich plot.
I would suggest reading this to ANYBODY. AN-Y-BO-DY at all.
I can't wait for the sequel!!!
on December 1, 2006
Meet Beka Cooper, a headstrong, clever girl with determination like a terrier. She resides in Corus, the capital city of the mythical continent of Tortall. Ever since she was small, she has been unearthing terrible crimes. So it's no wonder that she joins the Provost's Dogs, a group of elite police whose goal is to patrol Tortall and enforce justice when needed. Upon joining as a Puppy, the term for a rookie Dog, Beka is pleasantly surprised to discover that she is to be taught by Goodwin and Tunstall themselves, two of the best Dogs in the guard. She is also stunned when she gets her first choice of where to work. She chooses the lower city. Goodwin and Tunstall are also taken aback at being paired up with Beka, but in an unpleasant way. The two Dogs work so well together that they have never been paired up with a Puppy. Initially the humiliation and indignity are unbearable, especially for Goodwin. However, they realize how much Beka's help is needed later on. A monster has seemed to step out of nightmares and faerie tales to stalk, murder, and ransom the citizens of the Lower City, leaving only mysterious letters with a sinister symbol as a trace. Additionally, as if that weren't enough, a mysterious mining operation seems to be causing the deaths of many people all at once. The Provost's Dogs have been able to handle the majority of crimes - until now. But Beka, with her gift to hear the voices of the dead, is out to redeem that reputation and bring the terrors of the Lower City to justice.
Tamora Pierce has sculpted yet another colorful masterpiece filled with surprises, intertwined details, and bits of small humor tossed in throughout. The author's writing style is quite commendable; it never falters, and keeps the book going smoothly without tiring the reader one bit. For example: "I heard the rustle of cloth behind me and jumped away just as she thrust that knife through the gap in the fence behind me." I would recommend this book to all readers of different levels; however, those readers should enjoy reading long books over 500 pages. They should also enjoy being hooked to the extent of spending quite a few hours in one sitting and finishing the book. Overall, Terrier is a well-thought, well-organized book with an engaging plot.
on January 3, 2007
If you're already a seasoned Tamora Pierce aficionado, you no doubt will be ecstatic to discover her latest book, TERRIER: A TORTALL LEGEND, in which she introduces a new "shero" (as in heroine) named Beka Cooper. Fans already have spent many action-packed, thrilling hours in the kingdom of Tortall --- Pierce has been writing there since 1983. Our beloved Alanna, who started it all for us, is a homegrown Tortall legend and power personality in her own right.
What could Pierce possibly add to the already-brilliant collection of stories set in the mythical, pseudo-Middle Ages village? After 24 young adult novels --- many already set in Pierce's invention of an otherworld where talking cats are as common as rain --- many writers would want to move on. What else could one say about the same place? Therein lies the indescribable mark of Pierce's genius as a storyteller. The previous characters are so captivating and the tales so enthralling that readers who have read through any of Pierce's series set in Tortall simply want more. And she delivers with gusto. In TERRIER, Pierce provides another well-drawn character in Beka and presents fans with the tasty backstory they've been craving since ALANNA: THE FIRST ADVENTURE.
"My characters choose to protect those who can't protect themselves, and teach them to protect themselves," Pierce told me in a 2005 interview. She sticks to that mantra with Beka's determination and spunk to help the people of the Lower City, where she herself spent her youngest years. As the children of the Lower City are being kidnapped and murdered when their parents can't or won't meet the kidnapper's demands, Beka (who is conveniently a rookie cop for Tortall) sets her mind to protecting those of the Lower City who can't protect themselves.
"The Lower City is mine. Its people are mine --- its children are mine. If I find them that's doing all this kidnapping and murdering, they'd best pray for mercy. Because once I get my teeth in 'em, I will never let them go. And I start with the Shadow Snake."
Pierce experiments with some new, exciting techniques that make TERRIER a fresh experience for fans. The novel is written in first person from Beka's point of view. Not everyone likes this perspective because the structure can be limited and frustrating, but Pierce's turn of the literary tool is compelling. Once readers get a handle on the new vocabulary (there's a good glossary in the back of the book), it's as if Beka is a real person and you're stealing a peek at her diary.
It wouldn't be fair to spill the beans about Beka's connection to Alanna, but be assured that TERRIER is a perfect companion to the existing book sets and a great place to start if you aren't already a Tamora Pierce addict.
--- Reviewed by Joy Held
on December 10, 2006
I've finally gotten my hands on 'Terrier', which is the first in Tamora Pierce's new Tortall trilogy 'Beka Cooper: The Provost's Dog'. And I found a book that fulfilled and exceeded all my expectations. I've enjoyed all of Pierce's books, but the Song of the Lioness Quartet has always been my favourite: and 'Terrier' is the best thing she's written since 'The Song of the Lioness' in my opinion.
The book manages to portray a realistic and richly detailed world, by turns beautiful and brutal, while never allowing the pace of the story to slip, and also creating some truly memorable and believable characters. Some of them felt frustratingly enigmatic, but I can see that in an already very fat, jam-packed volume there was no way to expand any more. All I can say is, they'd better be back in Book Two!
Beka is a wonderful heroine, not gifted with any spectacular/pyrotechnical magical talent (which has, to my mind, been a flaw in some past Pierce heroines - it's hard to empathise with characters who are nearly all powerful) but interesting, admirable and most of all, funny. I started getting flashes to J D Robb's Eve Dallas at times.
I loved this book and would recommend it unreservedly. Unfortunately it looks like the follow-up won't be out for an age. Agh.
on October 27, 2006
Actually, I didn't want Tamora Pierce to start a new series. I wanted more books in the Magic Circle and the Protector of the Small series ASAP instead. But Ms. Pierce's books are just getting better and better, and I am very happy with Terrier! I was especially pleased that it was nice and long (not quite as long as The Will of the Empress, but much longer than her early books).
The characters of a book are what is most important to me, and the characters of Terrier are wonderful! I really like Beka (as I like Kel and all four of the young mages in Circle of Magic). Beka's Dogs remind me of Frostpine, the Horse Mistress in Wild Magic, and Polyam (right spelling?), who are among my favorite characters, and there were (as usual in a Tamora Pierce book) a whole list of other well-realized characters who appealed strongly to me and who will, I hope, appear again in future books of this series.
The plot is good, too. I am not that fond of reading about crimes (so I skip those parts when I reread Cold Fire, Shatterglass, Magic Steps, and Street Magic), but the crimes in Terrier were believable without being revolting to read about. Beka's magic is interesting, and she does an impressive job of using it. I dogear pages that have particularly satisfying parts in a book (so I can find them again easily), and I noted that I'd dogeared 20 pages in Terrier. In spite of its length, I read the whole book the night after it arrived (though I admit that it did take all night). And I'm starting it again today.
on December 18, 2006
I bought the book as a gift for my best friends daughter. This was a cold purchase, had zero knoweldge of the author, or the world it's written in. But I'm always looking for books with a strong herione in it as a gift for her. And the short excerpt on the back of the book, and the cover caught me hook, line, and sinker.
Course I read the book, and look forward to reading more pierce now. Honestly it's a great read for an adult (notice I didn't say "even for an adult"), and I know by friends daughter is gonna go nuts over it.
on March 5, 2007
Another excellent, excellent novel from Tamora Pierce, set in the world of Tortall. The first person narrative in the form of a journal is a new approach for the author, but she pulls it off with marvelous results. The heroine, Beka Cooper, is a strong and determined young woman living up to the demands of a hard but necessary job. The city she lives in is as multi-faceted and real as Beka herself. This is fantasy far from the world of Dungeons and Dragons - this is fantasy with a gritty realism that gives it a pulse.
on November 17, 2006
Terrier is about a teenage girl named Beka Cooper. Beka grew up in the poorest, harshest part of town called the Lower City. She escaped it when Lord Provost took her in. In the book Beka is a Puppy (she is actually a human, she's just called a Puppy for her job) training to be a Dog (again, just a title). Dogs are the enforcers of the law in her city. Beka chooses to work in the Lower City where she grew up because of how much she cares for the people of the lower city. This book is very suspensful and hard to put down. I reconmend this book to anyone who is up for an exciting read.