Mark Reads ‘Terrier’: Part 6

In the sixth part of Terrier, Beka experiences her first overwhelming night of violence in the city. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Terrier.

Trigger Warning: There will be a brief conversation at the beginning of the review about police brutality.

Well, holy shit, this is intense.

I suppose I should just briefly explain why the beginning of this section shocked me so much. I have to remind myself that this world isn’t mine and that there’s actually a reason why things happen as they do between Dogs and Rats. Like, there are magical healers! So someone breaking a bone is essentially the way that Dogs make a criminal pay a fine while experiencing pain and discomfort in the process. Sort of. I come from a number of experiences (and two in particular) where I’ve been hurt by police officers, and while I’m not going to go into detail about it, let’s just say that I’m extremely biased in this regard. I’m always going to be because I know what it’s like to experience violent abuse by people wielding authoritative power. So yeah, once I read that Tunstall and Goodwin BREAK BONES AS PUNISHMENT, my brain instantly went to one place. I did have to take a moment to think about the narrative context of these acts of violence, and I get that the reason they do this here is not quite the same as people abusing their power. Still, it was jarring as hell!

Anyway, there are a lot of theories proposed about what’s going on with Crookshank in the next section, and I can’t claim to have a theory myself. Of course, right in the midst of the trio discussing why Crookshank believes the Shadow Snake killed his grandchild, THE SCARIEST THING HAPPENS. I also have to keep reminding myself that we’re still on the second day. So everything that’s happened prior to this HAS BEEN IN THE LAST 48 HOURS. Y’all, I can’t even imagine my second day on a new job being anything like this, but Tunstall, Goodwin, and Beka are called on a case of domestic violence that they walk past, and it’s seriously frightening. A drunk woman, Orva, is threatening to kill her own children after already brutally hurting her husband. And because she’s under the influence, she demonstrates an unearthly amount of strength and speed when Goodwin attempts to take the situation under control. Y’all, I expected that Orva would come to regret attacking Goodwin, but when Orva jumped out of the fucking window, I was not prepared at all. Of course, there’s a lot of tension in the chase scene that followed, which is wonderfully and clearly written. But I wanted to know what Goodwin and Tunstall would think of this! Beka chased after Orva without a direct order. Would they be furious? Would they approve of her? I NEED THEIR VALIDATION IMMEDIATELY.

For real, though, Beka is amazing here. I love that she’s quick and clever, but she’s not perfect. She doesn’t catch Orva quickly, and Orva has at least one advantage over Beka: she’s drunk. Drunk people have like superpowers and shit sometimes, and I think it’s why Orva’s able to stay a few steps ahead of Beka. That gap increases after Orva slams a door in Beka’s face, delaying her a few seconds, and I actually thought that Orva would get away.

I’m guessing, then, that once Orva was arrested, she sobered up pretty damn quick, or, at the very least, she realized how much shit she was in. She immediately started to cry for her children and her desire to see her husband, and I almost felt bad until I remembered that she threatened to cut their heads off. Yeah. Nope. And so Beka makes her very first arrest (even though she technically can’t do it since she’s just a Puppy) ever. ON HER SECOND DAY. Still, I really needed to know how her Dogs would react to her. Where were they? Were they trying to find her? WAS SHE GOING TO GET IN TROUBLE?

I should have known that they wouldn’t be disappointed in her. Beka had managed to chase down and arrest someone who assaulted a Dog! And she’d done so all by herself. That’s a big deal, y’all, but LET’S TALK ABOUT AHUDA’S REACTION TO IT FIRST:

Then I heard Ahuda, high on her perch, say, “Great Mithros bless us, you actually caught her.”

I LOVE IT. I mean, I totally get why Beka thought she was being criticized at first. No, Beka, YOU DID A WONDERFUL THING.

“Here we were thinking you were naught but a Fishpuppy, and you turn out to be one stubborn little terrier.”

I LOVE IT EVEN MORE. It’s not just that Beka proved herself to the team; it’s the fact that she destroyed how she was perceived by others. She’s not just a clumsy, socially awkward young girl. She had to be fierce and stubborn in order to catch Orva and walk her back across town. So yeah, it’s exactly why Goodwin so quickly warms up to Beka:

“May I feed our Puppy now?” Goodwin asked with frightful patience. “She d’serves a treat.

I looked at her, shocked.

“Don’t worry,” Tunstall reassured me. “She’ll get over it eventually.”

BLESS THIS AND EVERYTHING ABOUT IT. I love that this is about Beka winning Goodwin over through action. I’m sure that Goodwin’s thankful that the woman who cracked her jaw is now in custody, and I love that she doesn’t act prideful about it. It’s possible she’s a bit peeved that she wasn’t able to tackle down Orva herself, but Beka did it without question and without bragging about it. It’s lovely! I JUST CARE ABOUT GOODWIN A LOT ALREADY. I care about anyone who can use a spoon as a catapult as well, and she’s damn good at it.

I have no theory about those weird stones. Clearly, they’re worth something, but I have no idea what they are or what they do. I like the theory that Crookshank might be trying to bribe or buy guards of his own as a power play, but I feel like that I don’t have nearly enough information to propose a working theory. Drat, I’m still unprepared, y’all.

After the previous day ended on a less positive note, it’s nice that Beka is able to relax for a moment and appreciate what she’s accomplished. It’s made sweeter by Goodwin’s kindness, since she gives Beka a pass to use the Dogs’ bathhouse for free and to get a spare uniform. More so than the previous books, money plays a much bigger part in the narrative, and Beka has to budget everything in her life in order to get by. The extra baths and the uniform cleaning cost money, and she has to take those into account, along with money for food and rent, too! It’s refreshing to know that this is going to be a part of this story, you know? It’s different. It’s exciting. And I can’t wait to see how her next day is going to turn out.

Please note that the original text contains uses of the words “mad” and “crazy.”

Video 1

Video 2

Mark Links Stuff

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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