Tamora Pierce begins a new Tortall trilogy introducing Beka Cooper, an amazing young woman who lived 200 years before Pierce's popular Alanna character. For the first time, Pierce employs first-person narration in a novel, bringing readers even closer to a character that they will love for her unusual talents and tough personality.
Beka Cooper is a rookie with the law-enforcing Provost's Guard, and she's been assigned to the Lower City. It's a tough beat that's about to get tougher, as Beka's limited ability to communicate with the dead clues her in to an underworld conspiracy. Someone close to Beka is using dark magic to profit from the Lower City's criminal enterprises--and the result is a crime wave the likes of which the Provost's Guard has never seen before.
O.K. So I love Tamora Pierce's book- they are very near and dear to my heart because they remind me of my childhood. When I saw this on a book shelf, I was so psyched (I also wondered what rock I'd been living under, since apparently this book has been out for a few years). I also enjoyed this a lot because I had a physical copy of the book- not a Kindle edition. This is the first non-Kindle book I've read in a year! I did notice that I read it much slower than I would read a Kindle book, but nothing really beats a brand new book!
The characters are at the heart of what Tamora Pierce does. I loved Beka. She is so authentic. Her voice is what really made the book special for me. With many contemporary or paranormal novels, I often find the heroine to be whiny, or narcissistic, or just incredibly contrived. The combination of fantasy + Beka just really made this perfect for me.
The story is told a bit differently than the other Tortall series. It's told through journal entries (95% of them are Beka's). Many of the developments are subtle, and it moves forward slowly- definitely a book for more sophisticated young readers. There are many layers to the story that are woven together. I thought it was thoroughly enjoyable.
This is what makes these books so good. There doesn't have to be an angsty relationship, or a love triangle to hook you! That being said, the groundwork is laid for a future relationship that I am really excited about. I can't wait to see how Beka grows up and into romance.
I really loved it. Again- I'm very biased by my love of the whole world of Tortall. The best thing about living under a rock is not having to wait to read Book #2! Woo hoo. 5 Stars.