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Book: Terrier by Tamora Pierce
Synopsis: Beka Cooper is excited to begin her year as a trainee in the Provost’s Guard, nicknamed the Provost’s Dogs. No one expects much of the painfully shy new Puppy, but what no one knows is that while she’s not much of a talker, Beka is such a good listener that she can hear the whispers of the dead. These whispers lead her to two possible serial killers prowling the Lower City. No one pays much attention when “Cesspool” people go missing, but Beka grew up there, and she’s not going to allow her people to be terrorized for much longer.
Is this a “must-read”?: It’s getting there.
Why?: Terrier is definitely one of the more interesting fantasies I’ve read. Rather than an epic quest to save the world or a tale of elaborate politics, it’s a murder mystery, a murder mystery with a few magical twists and ties to contemporary life that are striking. The Dogs even act like modern cops. Beka’s great as a protag, and I’m not just saying that because I’m also a shy, socially awkward person who’s secretly awesome. Nope, definitely not. Like Cassandra Clare and J.K. Rowling, Tamora Pierce is a whiz at adding comic relief and fun into an otherwise intense story. I also admired her refusal to allow anything to be completely black and white; Beka’s idealized version of the Provost’s Dogs is quickly shown to be little more than fantasy, and she must come to terms with that in order to solve the crime (this also provides the all-important character growth factor). However, I did have a few issues with the writing style:
Terrier is written as a diary, which means it can get slow at some areas. Also, because it’s a diary, Beka doesn’t bother explaining her slang, or the basic “rules” of Tortall’s culture. So if you read it, I would suggest you make good use of the glossary and be prepared to keep reading without immediate answers to all your questions. My other big problem with Terrier was Pierce’s tendency to break the “show, don’t tell” rule, creating some confusing moments. I get the feeling that this trilogy is more for fans of her other series, who would be a bit more familiar with the world. This is my first foray into Tortall, so I was understandably a bit lost. All in all, a good story, but I didn’t rush to put the sequel on hold like I did after Clockwork Angel.
Next time: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Post by dac213!
Have you read Terrier? What did you think?