102. Terrier by Tamora Pierce
Beka Cooper series, book 1
Young Adult, fantasy, 563 pages
Terrier is a fun, fast-paced story about Beka Cooper, a former street urchin who is training for Dog (police) work.
The book is set up as Beka's diary or journal but reads like a first-person novel, and as with many of Pierce's heroines, Beka has special features and abilities which help her on her chosen path. It's an enjoyable book, though not without flaws, and a good set-up for the sequel Bloodhound, which is an excellent book.
103. *Bloodhound by Tamora Pierce
Beka Cooper series, book 2
Young Adult, Fantasy, 538 pages
As much as Kel (Protector of the Small) is still my favorite Pierce heroine, Bloodhound is the best book so far in the Tortall series, if not the best Pierce has ever written. I wasn't overly thrilled with Terrier, but Bloodhound more than made up for it. Bloodhound is well-written and the characters are believable and interesting. The plot strong and intriguing, magic is used occasionally and not as a constant crutch, and Pierce is not afraid to put characters in real, even deadly danger as fits the plot and setting.
I do have two minor technical issues with the book. The first is that, as with Terrier, Bloodhound was supposedly written as a journal but, again like Terrier, it reads like a first-person novel. I've read books in this style that are good reads but also are believably journals, and this is not believably a journal. However, it doesn't detract much from the book and is amusing at times.
The second issue is that it's never explained how the coles (counterfeit coins) are being made. It's not possible to simply melt silver and pour it over brass disks to coat them, and no "silver paint" would match so perfectly with real silver as to fool suspicious people. But as I said, this is a technical issue and it wouldn't have come up if I hadn't studied metalworking, or if I hadn't been so impressed with how Pierce had dealt with metalworking in the Circle series.
Those two small issues aside, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend the series to anyone who likes a fun fantasy read with a bit of crime drama mixed in.
104. Page by Tamora Pierce
Protector of the Small, book 2
Young Adult, Fantasy, 288p
Page covers Kel's second, third, and forth years as a page. She passed her first year's probationary period and has gained acceptance from many people, but she still must fight prejudice from some quarters, including several teachers, a gaggle of fellow students, and conservative nobles who oppose any change in the status quo.
This book has its ups and downs. The dialogue occasionally knocks me out of suspension of disbelief by being sounding too modern and there are long stretches of time that are glossed over or simply absent because it's a short book covering three years and occasionally this is jarring. However, overall I enjoy the book.
105. Squire by Tamora Pierce
Protector of the Small, book 3
Young Adult, Fantasy, 380p
Kel passed the big exams and has become a squire. Lady Alanna is still not allowed to be near her (for fear that she'll enchant Kel to succeed), dashing Kel's hopes of being her squire, but instead Kel is chosen by Alanna's friend Raoul to squire for him and travel with the warriors of the King's Own.
This is one of my favorite Tamora Pierce books - Kel is my favorite, in my opinion the most realistic and the least Mary-Sueish of Pierce's heroines, in part because she has no innate magical ability and therefore must figure everything out without that kind of help (or crutch). Squire is my favorite of the Protector of the Small books, possibly because Kel is such a quiet and serious character most of the time and in Squire, with Raoul and the men of the Own around, her sense of humor comes out.
105 / 160 books (66%)
55 / 80 *new books (69%)
3 / 7 ^non-fiction (43%)
27499 / 48000 pages. (57%)