Mark Reads ‘Terrier’: Part 21

In the twenty-first section of Terrier, I’M GOING TO PASS OUT, THIS IS SO THRILLING. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Terrier.


  • “For a moment no one made a sound. Then I heard some of the best swearing of my life.” WELL, THIS WAS INCREDIBLY AMUSING TO ME. I am very pleased that at least twenty other people who have Kindles enjoyed this line as well.
  • There’s a point early in this section where Beka felt like her “pride twitched” because Goodwin said that she and Tunstall needed to speak with the Ashmiller children again. I can’t believe I never saw this aspect of Beka’s character until now, but oh my god. She’s kind of a perfectionist, isn’t she? In that one moment, I was reminded of EVERY TIME I FELT TERRIBLE FOR GETTING ONE TINY THING WRONG WHILE IN SCHOOL. At a very early age, my mother built a fear into me that I had to be perfect in school or I would be a failure in life. Oh my gods how this ruined me. I was that kind who would cry if I missed a single answer on a test. If someone gave me very necessary and well-meaning constructive criticism, I’d have to fight the urge to burst into tears. And I don’t think Beka’s anxieties are the same as mine at all, and she’s also dealing with situations of actual life and death. A spelling test in the fourth grade is not the same thing, good lord. But I recognize a similarity in the desire she has to be the best and the instantaneous feeling she experiences when she disappoints herself in any way. That drive is what’s made her such a good Puppy, no doubt. But it can also feel damning to expect perfection of yourself! I know this sensation DEEPLY and TRULY.
  • (And to get a bit meta for a moment, it’s why I find the Mark Reads/Mark Watches experience to be so fulfilling for me. I love the idea that I can build a space for myself where I can be openly wrong, where I can miss things, where I don’t have to be a perfectionist when it comes to fiction, especially since these behaviors in others have turned me away from exploring the fantasy genre in the past.)
  • Ah, Beka discovers the complicated joy of having expenses reimbursed. Maybe the Dogs will actually pay you, instead of working for a company that tells you that you’ll have your expenses paid on the next paycheck and then they forget and then you spent two years reminding them and then you have to listen to HR tell you that you waited too long to ask for a reimbursement and you collapse under the disappointment. If you can’t tell, I really hated working for Buzznet.
  • Anyway, let’s return to the actual book. I actually felt a little bad for Beka when she returned to her place and Tansy was there. It was just her luck that after agreeing to house the Ashmiller children, Crookshank would kick Tansy out of the house because he’s a terrible, terrible person. But really, most of my sympathy is for Tansy, who is seriously having the most horrific bout of bad luck and tragedy. On top of her grief and the fear that she’s going to lose her husband, she now doesn’t have a place to live.
  • As someone who was basically a professional couchsurfer and was frequently homeless in for about ten years, I have nothing but respect for Beka for doing this. I know how much it means to have someone to offer to put a roof over your head. SO YES, I LOVE BEKA COOPER FOR THIS ALONE, AND MY LOVE SHALL NEVER DIE.
  • I was relieved to be so wrong about Jack Ashmiller being dead because LORD. This book is already dark enough! It also adds an urgency to the story because now Beka and her Dogs have just a few days at most to find Jack or he’ll die, too. And you know, I never really picked up on the realism built into this book in terms of how the cases are presented to us. It’s not like they only have a single case and nothing else to work with. These things overlap, they often unfold at the same time, and there’s a crisis of resources, too. Indeed, Pierce has shown us how the need for more Dogs ends up working against them at times.
  • Instead, though, Beka makes a difference that’s crucial: her friendship with rogues and Rats gives her extra eyes. OH MY GOD, MY “PREDICTION” FROM THE LAST REVIEW HAS ALREADY STARTED TO COME TRUE!!! Her kindness and open-minded nature have WORKED IN HER FAVOR.
  • One of the things I’ve really enjoyed about Terrier is the growing suspense. This is kind of a slow burn, and it’s absolutely paying off. EVERYTHING IS HAPPENING AT ONCE, AND IT’S SO FUN TO READ.
  • “We were going to come here and drink ourselves silly.” She looked at the others. “Sorry. I can’t do that if more Lower City folk are going to die to make Crookshank richer.” can I run the personal fanclub for Aniki SHE’S SUCH A TREASURE.
  • I also think it’s important to note how some of Aniki’s rushers implicitly trust Tunstall and Goodwin and how that’s part of the characterization of Beka, too! I don’t want to discredit Beka’s accomplishments, but I think it’s vital that she was allowed to grow while under the supervision of Goodwin and Tunstall. Here, they demonstrate the need to be more thorough in interrogating witnesses and the benefits of gaining the trust of citizens and rogues alike.
  • At the same time, they’re also teaching her to prioritize. Major clues for both the Shadow Snake and digger cases have presented themselves, and Goodwin decides that it’s best for them to save more people before they go after the Snake. Plus, there are still five more days before Herun will be killed, and they have far less time to find Jack Ashmiller. Of course, this speaks to the reality of resources, too. It’s why they use whatever they can to track Jens; it’s why Tunstall accepts Lady Sabine’s request to help them out. (Actually, he clearly has his own reasons for that too.) And Aniki – bless her – is just as dedicated to catching the ones responsible for the diggers’ deaths as Goodwin and Beka are. She’s also FULL OF GOOD IDEAS. Like finally revealing to the public that someone is hiring folks at the cost of their life. And really, it is a good idea, though doing so before they find the current hired workers could end in disaster.
  • That night, though, Beka has a dream that unearths something deeply uncomfortable: a memory involving Mistress Noll and Tansy that contradicted what she told Beka and her Dogs. Now, it’s possible that Mistress Noll simply changed her mind over the years, and maybe she even forgot that she once despised Tansy. But she absolutely had a reason to hate her! And then Beka puts it together: “It could be a polite lie, but why, then, had Mistress Noll lied so hard? To protect Yates? Mayhap he saw a way to get revenge for his mother and to make one last, big haul. Mayhap his mother knows it.”
  • And it’s so disturbing, y’all. What if that is the reason she’s wearing that gem? What if her son gave that to her as part of some twisted revenge plot against Tansy for Tansy’s thefts years ago? OH GOD, WHAT IF MISTRESS NOLL KNOWS THAT HER SON IS THE SHADOW SNAKE?
  • OH GODS.
  • Hey, so, have any other folks noticed how much bolder Beka is getting over this book? She calls out Rosto for his murder TO HIS FACE AND IN FRONT OF OTHER PEOPLE on the morning of May 10. Holy shit, Beka, I don’t think you could have done that at the beginning of this book. I’M SO PROUD OF YOU.
  • So, I’ll touch on Aniki’s development at the very end, but let’s first talk about how adorable Ersken is, how hilarious it is that waking up Kora means you get blasted with a fire spell, and that Kora named her cat FUZZBALL. AHHHHHH THESE CHARACTERS ARE SOME OF MY FAVORITES, I SWEAR.
  • And finally, because y’all continue to be evil, this section ends with the reveal that Aniki found out that Poundridge is scheduled to pay his guards that day, WHICH MEANS THAT THEY MIGHT BE ABLE TO FOLLOW ONE OF THEM BACK TO THE DIGGERS.
  • OH MY GOD.
  • i am so close I AM TERRIFIED.

The original text contains the word “mad.”

Video 1

Video 2

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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