Terrier: The Legend of Beka Cooper by Tamora Pierce
Anyone interested in young adult fantasy will recognize the name Tamora Pierce. She is well known for her many series featuring strong willed female characters, wrapped in worlds of magic of all kinds, a world where fantastic creatures often roam. The stories are known for their great story telling, and the imagination and care put into the design of the magics that are used. And Pierce's new series, Beka Cooper, is no exception. With the introduction of this new character in Terrier, it promises to live up to the expectations her other work sets.
Beka Cooper is the ancestor of Aly Cooper, whom many of Pierce's readers will remember from Tricksters Queen and Tricksters Choice. It is easy to see that Aly comes by her attitude honestly.
Beka grew up in the darkest, poorest district of Corus, called the Lower District. Her mother was sick, and dying when her boyfriend beat her badly, and took everything of value in the house. Beka followed the man, and hunted him until she found his hideout. Discovering that he was a member of a pack of thieves, one that the local Dogs had been trying to track down for months, she reported him to the Dogs, and wrapped up the tragic crime spree. When the Provost, the man in charge of the Dogs, discovered that it was a little girl with a splash of magic in her who caught the thieves, he moved her and her siblings into his home. Their mother was welcomed as well, but she passed away soon after.
All of this lead Beka to become a Dog as soon as she was old enough. She is given to a team of senior Dogs named Tunstall Goodwin, the two most well known Dogs in the Lower District. They are set in their ways, and none too happy to be saddled with a Puppy, as trainees are called. But, that's before they realize that their Puppy is very different from her fellow trainees. For one thing, she hears dead spirits that cling to the backs of pigeons. For another, she has a cat named Pounce, who is far more than meets the eye.
Thanks to Beka's special power, it soon becomes apparent that there is more to watch out for in the Lower District than just petty thieves. There is someone lurking in the night, taking children from their beds, and holding them hostage for things of value. Those who don't pay are getting their children back dead, or simply never seeing them again at all.
Finishing this book was disappointing only because the story was over. I loved it, and can not wait to read the next story about the strong, and intelligent Beka Cooper.