Synopsis: Beka Cooper is a rookie with the law-enforcing Provost’s Guard, and she’s been assigned to the Lower City. It’s a tough beat that’s about to get tougher, as Beka’s limited ability to communicate with the dead clues her in to an underworld conspiracy. Someone close to Beka is using dark magic to profit from the Lower City’s criminal enterprises – and the result is a crime wave the likes of which the Provost’s Guard has never seen before.
Title: Terrier (Book 1 of the Beka Cooper Trilogy)
Author: Tamora Pierce
Publisher: Random House
Tamora Pierce was (and still is) one of my favourite authors, I can safely say her Song of the Lioness and Immortals series played a huge part in making me the feminist I am today.
I recently re-read the Song of the Lioness quartet and still really enjoyed it; no matter what age you are when you read them, these books are addictive. So you can imagine my joy at finding out there were more of her books that I hadn’t yet read.
I started with Terrier, book one of the Beka Cooper series, which tells the story of Rebekah “Beka” Cooper – an ancestor of George Cooper, the City’s Rogue in the time of Alanna. The story breaks away from Pierce’s other works in that it is set in a city that is much grittier than what we’re used to; it is rich with detail about the rough side of city life, and pays homage to the crime genre in many places. Beka is another strong heroine in the spirit of Alanna and Daine, and I’m sure she’ll be taken to the hearts of readers as Pierce’s previous heroines.
I really wanted to love this book but, if I’m honest, I was quite disappointed. I felt the first-person narrative didn’t really work as well as Pierce’s usual third-person style and the plot was suffered because of it. The diary entries seem to have unnecessarily dragged out the plot, deadened the pace and has resulted in a story that feels bloated and a lot less captivating than Pierce’s normal standard of work.
With all her other series, I couldn’t put down the books whilst reading them and have remembered plots and characters from over a decade ago. So I found it really sad that, although I’m sure I did finish Terrier, it was so unremarkable that I sometimes forget whether I did actually finish it.
I’ve given up on reading the rest of the Beka Cooper series and will stick to Songs of the Lioness, and the Immortals series from now on, which is a shame – I definitely could have used another female heroine in my life.