Thursday, January 04, 2007

Reading Recommendation-Terrier: Beka Cooper

First of all, I have to confess that TERRIER is the very first Tamora Pierce book I’ve ever read. And it was excellent. One of my favorite books in a loooong time. I cannot recommend it highly enough, to both kid and adult readers alike. And if you have a teen or tween daughter, I doubly recommend it.

The book is deftly plotted, but even so, it is the characters that make this book shine. From the main character, Beka Cooper, to the supporting cast and ancillary characters—they all came to life for me. And Beka is brilliantly portrayed. She is a tough girl who’s known hardship and loss and will look after her own. This leads her to a career in the Provost’s Dogs, which is very similar to a medieval, inner city police force. Beka is strong and tough and determined (hence the nickname Terrier) but she also struggles with nearly crippling shyness and a family who doesn’t appreciate or value the choices she makes. Even so, she continues on with her duties, not letting their doubts or lack of appreciation slow her down. Beka is so full of heart and determination! And so committed! But never in a annoying, cloying, or preachy way.

From what I understand, Tortall, the world TERRIER is set in, is the backdrop for a number of Ms. Pierce’s books. It felt very real to me, very grounded. Nothing felt unfamiliar or took me out of the story, which is more difficult in world building than it sounds. Beka deals with the Lower City, the slums where robbers, thieves, cutthroats, and other lowlifes prey on the less fortunate.

The whole book is full of wonderful characters, but I was particularly struck by the strong women characters, which I know are a trademark of Pierce’s, but were new to me. Again, I cannot recommend this book highly enough. But be sure to clear your calendar for a day or two, because you won’t want to leave the world of the book once you’ve started. Oh. There is one cautionary note. There are about six prologues. Ignore ‘em. Unless you’re a long time Pierce reader, they won’t mean anything to you and will possibly deter you from starting the book.

Not only a Five Star book, but one that’s earned a spot on my keeper shelf!