Tuesday April 8, 2008

The Legend of Beka Cooper

I've just finished reading Terrier: The Legend of Beka Cooper by Tamora Pierce. This is the first Beka book; the second is coming soon in hardcover.

Beka Cooper is a "puppy", a first-year rookie with the law-enforcing Provost’s Guard, more commonly known as the Provost’s Dogs. Beka lives in Tortall, scene of many of Tamora Pierce's books, but set three hundred years before the stories of Alanna, "The Lioness", take place.

The story is police procedural crossed with fantasy, in a medieval realm where law enforcement often has to make its own rules and where the peace-keeper's allies come from unexpected sources. Her patrol is the Lower City, definitely not the best part of town, but she's in good hands. She's assigned to partner with Goodwin and Tunstall, two of the best veteran Dogs.

Beka is bright, quick, and thoughtful. She's a steady friend and doggedly determined, but also painfully shy when called upon to speak her thoughts. She also has some special magic. She can hear the voices of the "spinners" (animated dust twisters), which bring her snatches of conversation from throughout the City. She can hear the voices of the restless dead, whose ghosts are carried on the backs of the City's pigeons. And she has a purple-eyed cat who may (or may not) be a god.

Terrier is well-crafted, told in a first-person journal format by Beka herself. Beka, her friends, and her enemies, are equally alive, as is the bustling city of Tortall.

Beka is 16, the age of most of Pierce's heroines, so the book is classified as "Young Adult Fantasy". Don't let that stop you. I learned, many years ago, that the only real difference between good "Adult" novels and their "Young" counterparts, is the age of the protagonist. Terrier is an excellent novel. I look forward to the sequel.

The Legend of Beka Cooper ( in category Books, Movies, Music ) - posted at Tue, 08 Apr, 22:14 Pacific | «e»

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