Mark Reads ‘Terrier’: Part 1

In the first part of Terrier, I vaguely have an idea of what’s going on, BUT MOSTLY I DON’T. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to start Terrier.

THE DAY HAS ARRIVED: I am starting the last set of Tortall books and it’s weird. It’s been nearly a year and a half since I first set foot in this fictional universe, and it’ll be just over two years total when I finish Provost’s Dog in October. So I find it pretty damn cool that I’m being taken WAY back in time instead of reading another series set after the previous one. I was clearly not prepared for this.

PLEASE REMEMBER: THIS IS THE OFFICIAL GUIDE FOR HOW ALL “PARTS” OF THIS TRILOGY WILL BE READ. The beginning and ending lines of each section are noted here. Please be careful not to spoil outside the section, and listen to the mods if they correct you.

Prologue

SIX-YEAR-OLD GEORGE.

SIX-YEAR-OLD GEORGE COOPER.

THAT’S ALL YOU WOULD HAVE EVER HAD TO SAY TO ME TO GET ME INTERESTED IN THIS BOOK, AND IT ONLY ENDS UP BEING A FRAMING DEVICE. Doesn’t matter because GEORGE COOPER AS A CHILD AND ELENI UNKNOWINGLY SAYING HER SON WON’T GROW UP TO BE A THIEF AND I’M ALREADY CRYING. And while the setting is back in Corus, a familiar place for me, it’s not quite what I’m used to. At least from what I can tell from the first three journal entries here, this story is deliberately dealing with the lower class in Corus. Eleni was poor while raising George. (Which we already knew from the first quartet, I believe.) Ilony’s journal entry conveys the same thing, as does Tunstall’s when he’s recounting the Lord Provost’s story about Beka. THIS IS EXCITING. It’s exciting because it’s a chance for Tamora Pierce to talk about a group of people who haven’t exactly played the largest part in the Tortall books. AND I LIKE IT.

I’d assumed that this trilogy would follow George either in the past or the future, given that it started off with him. However, when George started talking about “Dogs,” Eleni was furious about the slang used to refer to the Provost’s Guard. ENTER: REBEKAH COOPER. She’s just a story for Eleni and George, since she’s six generations back in the Cooper line. Well, she’s also part of a shrine, so clearly she did something worthy of a shrine??? Right, SHE HAD A CAT WITH PURPLE EYES. I’M SORRY, IS THAT FAITHFUL??? Okay, okay, I’m getting excited when I could be wrong. We don’t quite know what it was that Beka Cooper did to earn such a lasting notoriety, but I’m fascinating by the fact that George clearly doesn’t ever give up being a thief, despite that his mom is convinced that setting him on “Rebekah Cooper’s path” will make him stray from a world of dishonor. Yeah, no, that’s not happening at all.

November 13, 240

Through Beka’s mother’s journal, we learn far more about Beka, including how much tragedy surrounded her life. Her mother, Ilony, ostensibly died of lung rot at some point during her childhood or early teenage years. The way that the Lord Provost refers to the family, it sounds like Ilony was still alive in 244, though not for much longer. The Coopers live in abject poverty, evidenced not just by what Ilony shares with us but through her poor writing. All of Ilony’s fears for Beka revolve around her concern for her daughter, which is why she’s so initially frightened by the Gift that Beka has. If anything might make her daughter an outcast, Ilony fears it. She knows that they don’t have much to their name, so anything that might set her daughter apart is a threat.

But she takes Beka to her grandmother, who helps Beka with her powers. Which include TALKING TO RECENTLY DEPARTED SOULS WHO ARE BEING TRANSPORTED TO THE PEACEFUL REALMS ON PIGEONS. Wow, pigeons actually have a use in Tortall! Anyway, I don’t know what the hell the “spinner” is at all. A magical whirlwind, I guess? And it’s named “Hasfush?” What are you saying, I don’t understand. So Beka has the Gift, but it doesn’t have anything to do with healing. I am intrigued, I admit.

November 13, 244

Four years later, one of the Provost’s Guardsman, Matthias Tunstall, is responsible for updating us on what happened in the years since Beka discovered her Gift. Granted, it’s all through Gershom, the Lord Provost himself, that we learn about what made Beka Cooper become part of the Provost’s Guard. At just eight years old, she helped Gershom catch the Bold Brass gang, and Gershom saw promise in her. And this is fascinating in and of itself because as far as I can tell, the Provost’s Guard is the law enforcement of Corus. I’m pretty sure that George Cooper is the direct antithesis of everything that the Provost’s Guard are! Right? So how on earth did his family come to venerate her? What did she do? How does the Guard enforce their laws, and what sort of problems to they have in Corus? I WANT TO KNOW ABOUT ORGANIZATION. And what’s the Cesspool? I assume from the name that it’s the poorest part of town, and I can guess from that the the folks of Cesspool aren’t exactly fond of some sort of police force. So how does Beka come to trust the Guard?

Obviously, I have a lot of questions in starting off this book, and I know I’m meant to. I think I was a lot more confused about what I’d read in the video for this chapter, but now that I’m writing this all down, it does make a lot more sense. I got the sense that Beka would fiercely defend her own family, and that in going to the Guard, she wanted justice. Plus, she’s skilled enough to sneak around at 8; how are her skills developed further as she gets older? I mean, she’s already figured out to use her ice-cold eyes as a weapon. GOOD FOR YOU, THAT IS AN EXCELLENT SKILL TO HAVE. And since she and her family lives with Gershom, I don’t think it’ll be surprising when Gershom finally pushes her to train to be a part of the Guard, you know? Matthias seems to be biased against her from the start, though, since he expects her to be stuck-up about what she’s done. Oh, I can already see the conflict dripping off the dude. Maybe Beka will literally freeze him with her eyes. That would be awesome.

Please note that the original text/video features the words “mad” and “stupid.”

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About Mark Reads

Vegan cyclist, Internet community nerd, atheist bookworm, high-five purveyor.
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