The Legend of Beka Cooper gives Tamora Pierce's fans exactly what they want—a smart and savvy heroine making a name for herself on the mean streets of Tortall's Lower City—while offering plenty of appeal for new readers as well.
Beka and her friends will face their greatest and most important challenge ever when the young heir to the kingdom vanishes. They will be sent out of Corus on a trail that appears and disappears, following a twisting road throughout Tortall. It will be her greatest Hunt—if she can survive the very powerful people who do not want her to succeed in her goal.
This has been a hard review to write. I’ve been sitting on a review for Tortall and Other Lands for even longer. Mostly because any Tamora Pierce book is, in my opinion, the pinnacle of enjoyment. You can see on my post of Books I am Thankful For that I wax poetic on Wild Magic, my first exposure to the author. Really, though, I love all her books and I would be hard pressed to pick a favorite. I own multiple copies and re-read at least one series a year, finishing all of them about every 3 years so I can start over. As you can tell, I have a serious soft spot for the author, and showed up at the bookstore at 10 am to pick up my book.
Trying to put my prejudice aside, however, I will say that I thought this was a good book. I remember when I first started with Terrier I was a bit put off by the first person journal style the book has, but by the third book it seems normal. I’m glad too, because this book was worth it. In fact, I’d say that this book functions as a good stand-alone as well as a great series ender. In fact, the book itself seems kinda like a trilogy. It is MASSIVE, you can feel all 600 pages when you pick up the book. However, don’t let that throw you off. Every page is packed with action and tension, and I never felt a lull or down spot. Pierce knows very well how to weave through action, clue-finding tension, and romance scenes to make them all seem fresh and integral to the plot. Beka is a great character, independent and career driven for a job she loves.
I know that a lot of people didn’t like a lot of things about this series. Beka’s abusive relationship is often questioned. I didn’t feel that was a bad thing, though, because SMART GIRLS GET IN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIPS. In fact, because they’re smart they’re less used to asking for help so they let abuse go on far too long. I love this part of the series because it teaches a very valuable lesson to the people who have never educated themselves about abuse.
The other gripe I keep seeing is the ending. I felt that it was heartbreaking, but I thought it was well set up in the book. Beka kept noticing the status differences, so you know the couple did, too. And I believe that could eat on a person until they did something out of character to change it. Love makes people do crazy things, and the love in that relationship has been set up in the series so that I believe he would do something horrible to keep her close.
Then again, I may be seeing the whole book through rose-colored glasses. But I think that’s ok. It gives me so much joy that I don’t care if I’m a little biased. And I think you should read it and let it give you joy too.