A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Kids may learn some things about policework -- investigating crimes, etc.
Despite the fact that, in the book's society, corruption and bribery are taken for granted, even encouraged, many characters are honorable, and most behave according to a certain moral code. Determination, hard work, and loyalty are rewarded; real evil is punished.
Positive Role Models
Beka is a strong, resourceful, loyal role model who never shies away from a challenge or responsibility. Beka's world is diverse, with characters of many different ethnicities, socioeconomic statuses, and sexualities. Some of her best friends are criminals, but they still care about relationships.
Violence & Scariness
Fighting, injuries, deaths, murders, child murders, child abuse, and slavery.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Mentions of prostitution, implication of sex, discussion of girls' "peaches" (i.e. breasts), some kissing.
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Lots of swearing/slang specific to the book's world, which is translated in the included glossary. None of it includes words that are considered "bad" to us, but they're clear stand-ins for curses we all know.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Drinking and drunkenness.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that one of the book's major plot elements involves a serial murderer of children. While none of these murders are directly described, this is a society in which abuse, enslavement, and murder of children is common. Adult characters also die; some of these deaths may spark strong emotional reactions. Characters have a complex social system in which police ("Dogs") and criminals ("Rats") co-exist -- and can even be friends ... unless certain lines are crossed. Beka is a strong female character who works hard, is fiercely loyal, and always puts duty first.
Is It Any Good?
Told by main character Beka through journal entries, this unusual combination of fantasy novel and police procedural is very satisfying. TERRIER is a rip-roaring good story with unusual elements, set in a world that author Tamora Pierce has been developing for decades. It makes a good introduction to Pierce's work for those who haven't read the earlier books.
Beka is a delightful heroine: painfully shy, modest yet exceptionally competent, eager to learn, and strongly empathetic toward the downtrodden people she grew up with. Pierce has made her reputation as a writer with strong heroines, which has turned her into a darling of those with feminist leanings. But it would be a mistake to pigeonhole her as a feminist author -- she's simply too good. Though boys are notorious for rejecting books with female protagonists, if they allow themselves to try this, they'll like it as much as Pierce's female fans will.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.