Title: The Cadet of Tildor
Author: Alex Lidell
Release Date: January 10, 2013
Source: Publisher for blog tour
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Page Count: 400
There is a new king on the throne of Tildor. Currents of political unrest sweep the country as two warring crime families seek power, angling to exploit the young Crown’s inexperience. At the Academy of Tildor, the training ground for elite soldiers, Cadet Renee de Winter struggles to keep up with her male peers. But when her mentor, a notorious commander recalled from active duty to teach at the Academy, is kidnapped to fight in illegal gladiator games, Renee and her best friend Alec find themselves thrust into a world rife with crime, sorting through a maze of political intrigue, and struggling to resolve what they want, what is legal, and what is right. (summary from goodreads)
I’m going to start this review off in an unusual way: I’m going to list all the things that aren’t in The Cadet of Tildor.
Weak, 2D characters.
“I’m so special, everything is going to go just my way” heroine.
Instead, what do we have?
A kick ass main character named Renee.
Fighting. Lots of fighting.
A politically heavy storyline.
An engaging cast of side characters.
If you’ve read any of my reviews, you know that I was jumping up and down for joy after making those lists. The Cadet of Tildor is full of things I want in books, and it more than delivered on my excitement. I walked around with my nose in this book for a whole day, until I finished it. I even tried to paint my nails while reading, which didn’t really work. (The nails waited until after I finished).
I loved Renee. On notice that she may be cut from the Academy because she’s not a strong enough fighter, she pours all her energy into trying to become stronger. On the way, she makes some stupid mistakes, and while characters making stupid mistakes usually bothers me, here, Renee learned from them. And in her situation, I probably would have done the same thing. I empathized with Renee’s struggle to succeed in a male-dominated world, and to follow her dreams.
The Cadet of Tildor is dark, gritty fantasy for the young adult audience. Although Renee is sixteen, she acts beyond her age, and I think this book would also appeal to older readers.
Sometimes, it’s hard to figure out who you’re supposed to like and who you’re supposed to hate. Renee starts out almost hero-worshipping Commander Savoy, the leader of one of the most successful fighting units. But he turns out to be, well, sort of a jerk, and Renee alternates beyond thinking that he’s helping her and that he’s trying to break her.
The Cadet of Tildor isn’t told solely from Renee’s point of view, which helps us get into the other character’s heads, particularly Savoy, and get a bigger picture of the story. At the heart of it is loyalty, and doing what is legally right versus doing what is morally right.
Think about this. In Tildor, mages are required to submit to registration. If they do not, they are arrested and executed. If, as a cadet, you came across an unregistered mage, say one who is the Healer for their village, responsible for the health of everyone in that village, would you arrest them or let them go? I’m using an assignment of Renee’s, but it gives a great picture of the moral dilemmas Renee struggles through during the book.
I enjoyed thinking through those moral struggles myself, and learning along with Renee that everything isn’t black and white. Over the course of The Cadet of Tildor Renee grows immensely, as do the other characters. Every character, from Renee’s best friend to a thug that attacks her on the street has their own personality and their own backstory, and it all comes together richly to make a great book.
Rating: 5 owls
hosted by author, Alex Lidell
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