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Terrier by Tamora Pierce
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Showing 1-5 of 97 (next | show all)
This is the first book in The Legend of Beka Cooper series. Many, many years ago I read a number of Pierce’s books...I remember especially loving the Alanna series. This book was a bit of a disappointment for me. I read the first 300 pages and then ended up putting it down.

Beka is starting her career as a Provost’s Guard, policing the Lower City. This book is basically a diary of her day to day life as she starts her guard duties.

There are a couple of things I was really struggling with in this book. The writing style seems very simple and childish and Beka sounds like she’s maybe a preteen, or even younger, despite the fact she’s supposed to be in her upper teens. I kept having to remind myself that Beka was a lot older than she sounded and acted. She was also one of those heroines who is supposed to be really street savvy but comes across as strangely naive.

The other thing I struggled with was the plot. There just wasn’t a good plot here to hook me and keep my interest. The way Beka sees things, coupled with the somewhat stark and childish way she describes them, makes it hard to figure out what is going on. I kept getting bored while reading this, falling asleep, or finding just about anything else to do to avoid sitting down to read this book. The side characters seem like they could be good, but Beka isn’t very descriptive about them so they are hard to engage with as well.

The last issue is how the book is physically put together. This book uses very heavy paper with large font. It was hard to hold up and physically read. I know this sounds ridiculous but I would have to lay it on a table in from of me to read because of how heavy and thick the book/pages were.

Overall I really wanted to love this but ended up being disappointed. It’s been a long, long time (probably 20 years or more) since I have read a book by Pierce. So I am not sure if her writing style has changed or if my likes have changed. However, I didn’t like this nearly as much as I remember liking the Alanna series. ( )
  krau0098 | Jun 22, 2018 |
This book is set in the same world as “The Lioness Rampant” series, taking place several hundred years earlier, following Beka Cooper, a poor girl living in Tortall. She joins the Provost’s Dogs to keep the peace and soon discovers people who won’t be missed are disappearing. Thanks to her mysterious powers, a magical cat and a stubborn streak a mile wide, she plunges headlong into a story that has implications for the entire Lower City.

Beka is a flawed character which makes her actions and dialogue that much more realistic. She has fears and doubts. She has trouble doing her job at times because of communication. But through the course of the book we see her adapt and evolve to her new situation and to those around her.

There are also some great well-rounded secondary characters such as Beka’s mentors Tunstall and Goodwin and Rosto the Piper. Their personalities are slowly revealed throughout the story and on occasion by third parties. This made for a more organic experience rather than an infodump through exposition.

As well the maps and appendix were much appreciated as the book covers a lot of ground both geographically and linguistically. This helped to physically center the reader and the addition of slang made the story more immersive and showed how much world-building Pierce had put into the series.

One drawback that remained throughout the entire story was the epistolary style. At times it got in the way of the story. In the beginning I had to delve through three separate POV levels to get to Beka’s story which was confusing and the result was it took longer to get into the story. As well one diary entry contained a plethora of spelling errors which was distracting and unnecessary. There are other better ways to communicate a person’s literacy. The style was somewhat mitigated though by Pierce’s transitions between Beka’s passive and active voice. She created a seamless shift between diary entries and present action so that it’s unnoticeable and doesn’t interrupt the narrative flow of the story.

If you’re a fan of Pierce or of the Lioness series I would highly recommend this book as the beginning of an interesting new series. ( )
  theduckthief | Jun 3, 2018 |
Fave author; "police"
  kmajort | Feb 9, 2018 |
The idea of the story was worthy, although the novel didn't move smoothly. The dog terminology was annoyingly 'precious' and the reader can too easily get lost in what is important in the telling and what is really a distraction. Not sure that the first-person narrative suited the novel. ( )
  SandyAMcPherson | Nov 7, 2017 |
I got the kindle version of this book a while ago but I only really started reading in earnest after I ran out of Kate Daniels books to read. The setups are actually fairly similar. Young female law enforcement in a world with magic. Though the magic in Tortall is both more pervasive and less problematic. Beka Cooper is a trainee "Dog", which is basically a police officer. She gets paired with the best Dogs in the business for her "puppy" year. It’s told in journal format, which is not my favorite, but allowed for some cool storytelling tropes.

Beka has some family magic that lets her hear ghosts and snatches of conversations from the past. Her skills are put to the test right away as she searches for both a child horror story come-to-life and a mysterious employer who murders their workers after they're done with them.

While I like the other Tortall books (Alanna, Daine, Kel) more, it was good to venture into the world again, especially with a heroine who is already competent. We didn't see Beka struggle through Dog training, which was a change from the following an 11 year old through knight training of the other books. It was more grownup to begin with and I liked that. ( )
  jlharmon | Nov 3, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 97 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tamora Pierceprimary authorall editionscalculated
Barkat, JonathanCover photographersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Denaker, SusanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gerardi, JanCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Tim

This one's all yours. It's time. And you deserve this and more, for putting all that effort into us.
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Written on the morning of my first day of duty.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0375838163, Paperback)

Tamora Pierce has been creating strong, appealing heroines for teen fantasy fans for years, creating 2 main universes to house her multiple series. With Terrier, Pierce returns to the Tortall universe (home to her Song of the Lioness, Immortals, Protector of the Small, and Daughter of the Lioness series). Want to learn more? Read an exclusive essay from Tamora Pierce below. --Daphne Durham

An Essay from Tamora Pierce

Sixteen-year-old Beka Cooper lives far removed from knights, palaces, and the nobility. Her world revolves around thieves, beggars, taverns, and the lowest of the low. She's a trainee for the Provost's Guard—a rookie cop, in a world where a cop makes her own name based on her personality, her attitude toward money, and her love of the law. Beka means to prove that she is out to make her mark in this hard and physical world.

She does face a large obstacle. She's shy. Painfully shy. Left to her own devices, she would have no friends. It's hard for her to talk to people she doesn't know. It's a problem for the Guards who train her, a real problem for Beka—unless she can figure out that a uniform is a kind of costume, one she can hide behind. One that will make her a more outspoken person. It will help a lot if people come to realize that under her shyness is a clever, determined young woman. It will help even more if she can make friends who can give her good advice. Luckily, she has one such friend living with her in her slum apartment: a purple-eyed black cat named Pounce. He can make himself understood in human speech if he wishes to. He's capable of doing weirdly intelligent things to help his young companion Beka. With Pounce to assist her, Beka cannot have an ordinary career.

Beka tells her own story in a journal that she keeps from her very first day as a Puppy. The Guards are dubbed "Dogs" in her time and their trainees are called "Puppies." In its pages she writes of her days with her training Dogs, the pair who are to teach her what they know of survival on the streets in the city's toughest slum. Both are veterans. Tunstall is an easygoing, funny man who can be a little crazy in a fight. Goodwin is a small, tough woman who is opposed to Beka's presence at the beginning, a hard Dog and a smart one. They take charge when Beka brings them word of two vicious sets of crimes. Like everyone else in Beka's life, her partners find out that once Beka gets a case in her teeth, she hangs onto it like a terrier until it's been solved.

I have all kinds of reasons why I went to the past of the Alanna books. In part I wanted to show how present-day Tortall came to be. I also knew George's fans would welcome any kind of return to the Lower City, even if it wasn't the Lower City of his time. I wanted to get away from the courts and nobility, the setting for so many of the Tortall books thus far. Since I didn't want to show any of the characters I've come to love as being old or even dead, I couldn't write books in the future of the current Tortall. I turned to the past, and I'm pretty sure my readers will be glad I did! --Tamora Pierce

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:21 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

When sixteen-year-old Beka becomes "Puppy" to a pair of "Dogs," as the Provost's Guards are called, she uses her police training, natural abilities, and a touch of magic to help them solve the case of a murdered baby in Tortall's Lower City.

» see all 3 descriptions

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