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The Cadet of Tildor

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Overview

Tamora Pierce meets George R. R. Martin in this smart, political, medieval fantasy-thriller.

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 ...

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The Cadet of Tildor

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Overview

Tamora Pierce meets George R. R. Martin in this smart, political, medieval fantasy-thriller.

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Lidell quietly emerges on the high fantasy market with her debut, which was a finalist for the 2010 Amazon Break-through Novelist Award. With a new king and an ongoing turf war between two moblike crime families, unrest is sweeping through the kingdom of Tildor. At the nation’s elite academy, 16-year-old cadet Renee de Winter is determined to serve Tildor as a soldier. As the only girl in the Combat Arts track, Renee struggles to meet the demands of her new instructor and idol, Commander Korish Savoy, and prove that she’s as strong as the boys. When Savoy’s younger brother is kidnapped, Renee, her friend Alec, and Savoy set out to rescue him, uncovering secrets both personal and political. Lidell packs a great deal into her story: the romantic tension between Renee and Savoy (which, due to their teacher-student dynamic, wavers between uncomfortable and enticing) vies for space with the impending civil war, powerful magic-wielding mages, a black market drug trade, and more. Although at times slow moving, it’s an intriguing story with a capable heroine. Ages 12–up. Agent: Leigh Feldman, Writers House. (Jan.)
Sarah Dessen
"A wild, energetic novel that proves girls CAN be warriors while still being true to themselves."
Booklist
"Full of action and intrigue, kidnapping and heroism, spiced with a touch of fantasy and romance. This is a fully realized, highly detailed medieval world with a surprisingly nuanced and balanced cast of characters. . . . [Renee] is a strong female character determined to do what's right in a world where no one is completely black or white."
Kirkus Reviews
A gripping debut embraces the trend toward gritty grimdark fantasy. Lady Renee de Winter has rejected her aristocratic upbringing to train at the elite Academy of Tildor. But Cadet de Winter's schoolwork is slipping, and despite constant practice, she cannot match her male classmates. When rival crime factions entangle her in their schemes, Renee must choose between every claim on her loyalty--family, friends, teachers, crown, even her own life--and the greater needs of Tildor. Workmanlike prose effectively grounds an energetic plot and solid worldbuilding in earthy descriptions and precise details. Every character is complex and multilayered, each with a story beyond just propping up the protagonist. Renee herself is a flawed but sympathetic heroine who capitalizes upon her strengths, learns from her (serious) mistakes and slowly evolves from her rigid judgmental inclination to appreciate ambiguity and nuance while never compromising her essential integrity. Hints of romance, thankfully, take second place to friendship, trust and duty, not to mention looming war and imminent death. No fairy-tale resolution here; rather a warts-and-all portrayal of believable characters struggling with realistic conflicts affecting every level of society. (Fantasy. 12 & up)
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Cadet Renee de Winter is determined to become a Servant of the Crown. A student at the Academy of Tildor, she has sacrificed her relationship with her father to become a soldier-a sacrifice that might turn out to be useless unless she can figure out a way to keep up with her male classmates. The kingdom of Tildor needs all the help it can get. With a young king, two rival crime organizations, and a significant increase in kidnappings, Renee wants to complete her training and start active duty. Esteemed Servant Commander Korish Savoy is reassigned to teach at the Academy and takes a special interest in Renee-one that brings difficult but important training. When his younger brother is kidnapped, Savoy is kidnapped himself during his brother's rescue, presumably to be forced to fight in illegal gladiator games, and Renee must get him back-no matter what it takes. Lidell's debut novel gives readers an imperfect but admirably courageous, principled, and evolving heroine. Surrounding Renee are a diverse group of multidimensional supporting characters. The world she struggles through is filled with war, crime, and politics, intertwining to create a complex but intriguing plot. Fans of Tamora Pierce and Kristin Cashore should pick up Cadet-as should anyone looking for a fantasy that is, though sounding like an oxymoron, grounded in reality.Emily Chornomaz, Camden County Library System, NJ
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803736818
  • Publisher: Dial
  • Publication date: 1/10/2013
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 974,806
  • Age range: 12 years
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Alex Lidell was a finalist in the 2010 Amazon Breakthrough Novelist Award competition. She lives in New Jersey and this is her first novel.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 14 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(8)

4 Star

(5)

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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 23, 2013

    The Cadet of Tildor is both an intelligent and entertaining nove

    The Cadet of Tildor is both an intelligent and entertaining novel, without being something that could be intimidating to more reluctant teenagers. Lidell weaves political intrigue, excellent fight scenes, and realistic relationships that are not centered on romance between her main characters. As many fans of fantasy novels well know, the stories can sometimes be formulaic, but The Cadet of Tildor is fresh and exciting.

    Renee de Winter is a heroine who I think is a fantastic role model for teens, as well as a fun character to read. She follows her dream of becoming a Servant of the Crown, despite the fact that very few females make the cut. She grows through the book as she tries to figure out what is wright and for whose sake things should be done. Her friends, Sasha and Alec, are good side characters, but I feel that they were mainly tools used to show how Renee was changing and growing (not that it's a bad thing). The way Renee interacted with Commander Korish Savoy also showed us a great deal about what kind of character she was - stubborn and unwilling to give up. The best thing about the relationship between Renee and Savoy is that it wasn't focused on love, as you may expect, but more of a comrades-in-arms. (We shall see how it goes in a sequel, if there is one.) Renee also takes Diam, a little boy at the Academy, under her wing, in a sense. He is absolutely adorable and one of my favorite things about the book.

    While the characters were a very entertaining aspect of the novel, the themes were also important. The mages in the novel are discriminated against and forced to register once their powers manifest or face terrible consequences, which could be execution. This, in addition to the crime families and their dealings, really makes the reader, as well as the character, question what is right and if it is always right. I think this would be a great classroom book due to the depth of the novel and the entertainment value. The Cadet of Tildor is a wonderful debut, and I look forward to reading more of Alex Lidell's work in the future.

    To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received the book for reviewing purposes as a part of a Debut Author Challenge ARC Tour in exchange for an honest review. The advance copy was likely provided to the tour by the publisher or author, which has in no way affected the outcome of my review. All opinions expressed are rambling, honest, and completely my own.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 19, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    The Cadet of Tildor by Alex Lidell was a pleasant surprise!  It

    The Cadet of Tildor by Alex Lidell was a pleasant surprise!  It held my attention from the very first page all the way to the very end.  I was engrossed in the lives that were entertained in this amazing book and was in dire need of knowing what was going to happen next.

    The Cadet of Tildor follows the story of Cade Renee de Winter.  A strong-willed, very determined sixteen year old girl who’s life’s ambition is to become a servant of the Crown, an  elite group of soldiers that protect Tildor.  With a father who does not agree with her decision or her dreams and an Academy where she must prove herself just as strong and able as her male counterparts, Renee finds she must now work even harder to impress her new instructor…the infamous Servant Commander Korish Savoy, leader of the Seventh.   But it seems that her hard headedness and need to prove herself may be her downfall.

    With the Vipers (a notorious crime organization) kidnapping people and children off the street as a threat to the new King, Savoy finds himself at the losing end of a threat, and it seems that it is now up to Renee and her best friend Alec to find Savoy and stop the Vipers from hurting more people and maybe starting a war.  And it’s during this self-appointed mission where Renee learns what exactly it takes to become the soldier she has always wanted to be.

    The Cadet Of Tildor by Alex Lidell was such an addictive read.  I found myself hardly able to put it down!  I stayed up later and woke up earlier just so that I could crack open this book and continue on with the story.  It had a very Graceling/Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore feel to it.  I wanted to be live and breathe the story of Cadet Renee de Winter.

    I find that the sheer determination that Renee has in this book is such a wonderful example of a strong female lead.  Renee would allow nothing to get in her way of her main objective, and I also really enjoyed the fact that during her struggles, she learns more about herself and about how to truly be great.

    Don’t even begin to think that this is a love story.  Not in the least!  Even with such a sexy, crush worthy male lead like Korish Savoy.  I couldn’t get enough of his hot headed attitude, his greater than thou persona, and his sweetness that comes out time after time.  When I thought that there was no way that I would even begin to like him again…after a certain incident…the truth comes out as to why he did what he did, and I fell even harder for this bad boy.

    No, no dear readers.  This is not a love story.  There is no love.  I’m sure that yes, there may be a chaste kiss, but no goo goo eyes, no “I can’t pay attention because I’m swooning over you all the time” … there is the school girl crush, but even that grows into something else.  Respect…inspiration even.  I think this could be why I really enjoyed reading The Cadet of Tildor.  It didn’t have the mask of a love story to try and cloud up the awesome adventures found within the pages.  Yes, there was an obvious person that the reader would most likely crush on, but there was no love story build up.  Very refreshing and loved every minute of it.

    The Cadet of Tildor is a fast paced read, with memorable characters, and even more memorable storyline that will have you begging for more!  Fans of Fantasy reads, Kristin Cashore and Tamora Pierce type reads will absolutely fall in love with The Cadet of Tildor.  I know that I’ve found a new favorite author with AlexLidell.  Now, please tell me there’s going to be a number 2!!  I am in need of more Savoy!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 30, 2013

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    I loved this book!!! I couldn't put it down!!! It has everything

    I loved this book!!! I couldn't put it down!!! It has everything a thrilling epic fantasy should have……………………♥ A kick ass main character♥ Lots of action/fighting♥ A flowing storyline♥ An interesting cast of side characters

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 13, 2013

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    I love fantasy books. The only thing with the fantasy genre is I

    I love fantasy books. The only thing with the fantasy genre is I've found it hard to find books that I love every aspect of, sometimes it's too much. Alex Lidell has made the perfect fantasy adventure book. She's taken everything I look for and then some. With a similar world building to books like Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder and Graceling by Kristin Cashore; Lidell has proved to me that she can run with the greats!
    Renee is training to be soldier for the Crown. She's working her butt off only to be second to every boy. Until a new instructor comes, one everyone has heard of, and he teaches her how to use what she has against an enemy. She starts training with him and his group of fighters and really starts believing in herself. Renee was an exceptional character, filled with spark and life destined to continue on this path that not many girls aspire too. Her personality exuded pure loyalty to her cause and her friends. My favorite attribute of Renee's was the fact that she wasn't perfect, she didn't get it right all the time, she messed up a lot, and did not win every fight. But, she got back up and tried again. That was exceptionally done on the authors part. It gave the reader a character to relate to, look up to, and not feel overshadowed by. We could all be Renees if we set our minds to something and gave it our all. Girls need great fictional role models and Renee is one of them.
    The world of Tildor lived beneath my feet while reading. Alex Lidell is a fantastic writer and storyteller, who gets much praise from me. Her conversations and words were fluid, the language of the book fit perfectly, and I enjoyed the change in POVs between Alec, Renee, and Savoy. My only complaint, and a very small one, was when the POVs changed mid-chapter. Normally they would switch off chapter to chapter but when they did so mid-event it caused a second look for me. I was never lost and Lidell did a good job making sure we knew exactly when it changed but I felt like it made more send to do whole chapters in one POV. But, maybe she has a reason for doing it the way she did.
    I absolutely loved this book and its high fantasy. There is a bit of romance, but that's not what this story is about. From beginning to end Renee, while still maintaining her witty attitude, changes and grows immensely. By the end of the book she is a true fighter. Such a strong character, strong story, and wonderful premise. Kick butt heroines are my thing, girls rock and are capable of so much! Thank you to the author and AToMR for the opportunity to read and review this book. I can't wait to recommend it to everyone I know!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 11, 2013

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    'The Cadet of Tildor' is a wonderfully written and fast-paced yo

    'The Cadet of Tildor' is a wonderfully written and fast-paced young adult fantasy novel that follows Renee de Winter - a young woman who is striving to graduate from the Academy and be inducted into the Service of the Crown. She is pushing herself to succeed and to prove herself worthy of serving. Outside of the Academy, there is a young new king on the throne and two powerful crime families who are battling for control of Tildor. On top of these outside threats, Renee's mentor and instructor is kidnapped by one of the families and will be forced to fight in the gladiator games. It is up to Renee and her best friend Alec to come to his rescue, all while trying to determine if what is legal and what is right are not always the same thing.

    This was a very interesting and action packed novel that features a strong female lead. Renee wasn't put on a pedestal as your typical kick-butt heroine. She has flaws and weaknesses that are visible early on in the story, but she continues on with perseverance and courage - which makes her a worthy main character and heroine of the tale. The plot has many layers and has lots of different sub-plots occurring simulataneously throughout the book. I thought that the way they were written made them flow together effortlessly instead of confusing the reader or battling for the top storyline. I enjoyed reading about the history of Tildor - the Academy, the country, the people - it was very interesting and incredibly detailed. The characters were unique and had distinct personalities, which made it easy to identify with them. The plot was multi-faceted with several stories overlapping, but it made the story all the richer and more exciting to read. The writing was very well done and easily immersed me into the story. There was definitely a lot of action, adventure, a bit of romance, and some suspense woven in. Overall, this novel was a fantastically written story with great world building and an intriguing plot. Fans of fantasy novels will not want to miss it!

    Disclosure: I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 10, 2013

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    I Also Recommend:

    THE CADET OF TILDOR, Alex Lidell's debut novel, was everything I

    THE CADET OF TILDOR, Alex Lidell's debut novel, was everything I hoped for and more.  When I first heard about the publishing deal, I was intrigued.  Tamora Pierce meets G.R.R. Martin, really?  I'm not sure that it's too similar to Martin, but there are strong threads tying Lidell to Pierce, and I mean that in the best way possible.  In high school, two of my all-time favorite series were the Song of the Lioness quartet and the Protector of the Small quartet.  In both, Pierce creates strong female heroines who stand alone among boys as they go through school to become knights and serve their kingdoms.  Pierce's heroines Alanna of Trebond and Keladry of Mindelan would be great friends were they to come across Lidell's Renee de Winter, and rightfully so. If you're a fan of Pierce, and especially of these two series, you will absolutely adore CADET.

    Unlike Pierce, who takes readers on adventures from the very first year of training, Lidell drops in on senior year.  Renee used to be at the top of her class, but now, she's fallen to the bottom, no longer as strong as the boys.  She wants nothing more than to become a Servant and serve the Crown, making sure to train extra hard to build her endurance. Her father tries to keep her home where she "belongs," but Renee defies him, cutting family ties in order to return to school.  When she finds out that her new instructor is none other than Commander Savoy, one of her role models, she's excited and idolizes him, but traumatized to realize that he sees her as weaker than her peers.  As a plot against the kingdom unfurls, Renee must come to terms with her own limitations while still paving her own way and attempting to achieve her dreams.

    There are so many characters and settings that on the surface, it seems as though it would be easy to become overwhelmed.  In reality, however, everything is well-crafted and bonds together to form a fascinating, gritty story at the underbelly of a kingdom in need of saving.  Lidell seamlessly blends right and wrong to the point where readers are constantly guessing and wondering which characters can actually be trusted.  It's hard to talk much about the intricacies without giving much away, but I truly love the way this book unfurled.  Whenever little things came together, whether I saw them coming or not, they managed to slip into place like a well-greased cog.  Even character development was superbly brought out. 

    While I was always rooting for our underdog Renee, there were characters I went from liking to disliking, and others I had an on-again, off-again relationship with.  Definitely on-again by the end, however, and I want more books from Lidell!  While CADET easily stands alone, it ends in such a way that more adventures are sure to be had, especially after reading the novel's final line (perhaps one of my favorite lines in the novel, and one I can't share for obvious reasons.  It is, after all, the final line!) I'm seriously hoping that Lidell brings us more books in this world and returns all of her characters to us.  I wonder if one character will be a villain, if another will become something more, if a third is destined for greatness.  Etc, etc.  I thoroughly enjoyed CADET and now want to go back and re-read other books with female knights at their core to keep this feeling close to my chest.  What a great debut!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 10, 2013

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    ***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** The Cadet of Ti

    ***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

    The Cadet of Tildor by Alex Lidell
    Publisher: Dial 
    Publication Date: January 10, 2013
    Rating: 4 stars
    Source: Public library

    Summary (from Goodreads):

    Tamora Pierce meets George R. R. Martin in this smart, political, medieval fantasy-thriller.

    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.


    What I Liked:

    I have always said that a mix of fantasy and medieval fiction is my favorite genre (like, Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers. Or Fire by Kristin Cashore). My expectations for this book were very, very high, and for the most part, I was not disappointed. 

    I really liked Renee. I thought she was a tough yet vulnerable girl, who grew from beginning to end. I liked her role in this book - not everything was about her. This book is written in thried person limited, in which we get to see the points of view fo Renee and Savoy most often. So, it did not seem like everything was about Renee and her decisions, which was nice. Even though at times, everything had to be about Renee. But it was brought about differently than most books. It was not the fate of the world (or the kingdom) on her shoulders.

    I liked Savoy a lot - possibly more than I liked Renee. We get to see much from his peerspective, which is refreshing. We get tosee his struggles with teaching at the Academy, and his desire to be with the Seventh. It is clear to me that he is a fierce, confident warrior, and I love that about him.

    The world-building in this novel is excellent. I was never confused about the setting or the characters or the magical part of the book. Everything was brought across clearly, so even non-fantasy lovers will understand the complex nature that fantasies usually possess. I liked the magic element to this book - and I am happy that Renee does not have some "special ability", like most protagonists of fantasy and paranormal novels usually have.

    YAY there is no love triangle, but... there also is no romance (see below).


    What I Did Not Like:

    My biggest problem with is the ending, and there were several things wrong with it. First, the romance is not resolved. I know, I know, I just said there is no romance. Well, there is sort of. We KNOW Renee has feelings for Savoy. And vice versa. But they do NOTHING throughout the book, like, no interaction in a romantic way. Which is fine, I guess. But sometimes, during some scenes, you can just FEEL the chemistry between two of them. It's not the kind of chemistry you find in romance books - no, it's more subtle and simple than that. 

    My point is, it is there. And the ending made no resolution for the obvious romance between Renee and Savoy. Which really, really bothered me, because the author totally led us to believe that there was! Or at least, that's how I saw it. So, yeah, the ending was not good enough for me, in terms of romance. I wanted to see more from Renee and Savoy. 

    Also, I wanted more of a resoution about the Family and Vipers and Madam situation. Maybe I just didn't really understand what had happened at the end (which I feel like is NOT the case), but it felt like something was lacking, or waiting to be wrapped up. 

    I talked to the author on Twitter, and she said that she is working on a sequel. So, I did not knock off more than one star, because I am giving the author the benefit of the doubt with this one. I loved this book, right up until the very end. I am willing to put my feelings aside and wait for the next book. 


    Would I Recommend It:

    Yes, HIGHLY. Fantasy lovers will enjoy this book, but romance lovers will not. Be aware of this.


    Rating:

    4 stars. Probably more like 3.5 stars, but I am giving the author the benefit of the doubt.

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  • Posted June 8, 2013

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    This book wasn't at all what I expected. Taking into account the

    This book wasn't at all what I expected. Taking into account the title of the book and the cover, I thought that this would be an adventure book that boys and girls alike would enjoy. However, this seems to be targeted more towards girls who like to see a strong-willed, passionate heroine that does her best to prove that she can keep up with the boys instead of taking the role of the delicate lady.  Mostly, this book seems to be about Renee befriending her commanding officer and going off to rescue him when he gets in a hot mess.
    The dialogue is strong. It flows naturally, and it is interesting. It's a great way to get to know the characters and how well they get along. The action and setting isn't developed as well. Most of the focus is on dialogue and little is dedicated to detailing the characters' surroundings, and I had a hard time picturing the setting and what the characters were doing. Most of the focus of the story is on the characters, which lessens the impact of the lack of details on setting and action. I went into this book expecting a lot of action and intrigue, however, and was disappointed to see little development in these areas.
    Mostly, the characters fell rather flat for me. None of them seem to grow much over the course of the novel except for Alec, and his change in behavior is sudden and inexplicable. Renee is a headstrong girl and makes many rash decisions based off her emotions instead of thinking about what is best for the Crown that she's determined to serve. This isn't bad if you can relate to her. I think that people who liked Rachel in C.J. Redwine's Defiance will also like Renee. Me, I saw a girl who plows through everything head on without thinking much about the consequences and who takes forever to learn from her mistakes because of her obstinacy. She doesn't seem to be officer material, which is precisely what Servants of the Crown (what she's training to be) are supposed to be. It's only good fortune and good comrades that have kept her alive thus far.
    I have a hard time picturing the characters' relationships. There seems to be romance in this book, but there are several guys of interest and I don't know who precisely Renee likes. The one guy she kisses is not the one I expected, and the relationship doesn't seem to go anywhere. Still, there is potential for future romantic development if a sequel comes out. I would also like to see more of Diam, Commander Savoy's younger brother and my favorite character. He's a sweet boy and charms most everyone he meets.
    Overall, I did enjoy reading this novel for the most part. The plot was interesting, and there are several surprises in store regarding some of the characters. The leader of the Family isn't the kind of man I was expecting, and Renee's wittiness in coming up with a plan to save Savoy and in presenting it to the appropriate authorities is commendable. Readers who enjoyed Defiance by C.J. Redwineand Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas may also enjoy this book.

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  • Posted March 19, 2013

    Growing up, one of my favourite authors was Tamora Pierce (she i

    Growing up, one of my favourite authors was Tamora Pierce (she is still one of my preferred authors). I loved reading about the characters and worlds she had created, and I believe she's one of the best YA authors out there right now. It isn't surprising then that when I first heard of The Cadet of Tildor that I knew right away that I would want to read it after hearing it likened to Tamora Pierce's work.




    As excited as I was, I also knew I wanted Cadet to be different from the Tortall books. Thankfully Cadet is an extremely strong debut from Alex Lidell, who is able to showcase her talent as a writer in a beloved genre among many other talented authors and still shine all on her own.




    Reasons to Read:




    1. Complex struggles:




    In a few of my reviews I've mentioned how much I love the story of Antigone (a Greek tragedy written by Sophocles) and her struggle between what she sees as her public duty to the king/state and her private duty to her family. I found this to be one of the key themes running through The Cadet of Tildor as well, as Renee begins to realize that her choices and life direction aren't as simple as she would like them to be. This is something everyone comes to recognize in their life at one point or another, and it's a struggle that I think will resonate with many readers. Because sometimes right and wrong just isn't so black and white. There are so many characters in this book that honestly believe they're doing exactly what they're supposed to be doing, and it's interesting how well Alex is able to highlight that even if these characters are antagonizing each other, they're staying true to their personal beliefs - which ends up being a very effective portrayal of subjectivity.




    2. A heroine who constantly pushes herself:




    There is so much to admire in Renee de Winter, even in the very small mundane activities she does. I found myself in awe of her again and again as she continually strived to be the very best that she could be. She has plenty of flaws, it's true, but it's remarkable how much effort she puts into the work she does and I appreciate seeing a heroine who is known for this, rather than any innate talent or attribute.
     
    3. A world on the brisk of upheaval: 




    There is so much political intrigue in Cadet, but not in the usual way. I thought it was fascinating how Alex included political struggles but they were internal disputes rather than external ones. You can sense that Tildor is at the cusp of great change, and the hostility between the different criminal groups, class factions, and nobility was extremely well portrayed. It added a level of complexity rarely seen in the worlds created for YA books. 




    I only wished that there had been a bit more flow to the story, overall because some parts of it felt disjointed to me. There were times when the scenes didn't mesh as well together as I would have liked, partly because there wasn't enough ambience for me to truly immerse myself in the setting. For example, some of the fight scenes failed to grab my attention and create a sense of excitement and danger I long for in an action sequence. There were also one or two characters who seemed to change rather drastically without much lead up, although they were the exception to the rule. 




    But overall, The Cadet of Tildor is an extraordinarily strong story; one that is reminiscent of old favourites with its strong characters and world building, yet creates its own strong foundation by including a thoughtful response to struggles familiar to any reader and leaving readers with plenty to ponder over long after the book is finished. 




    ARC received from author for my honest review as part of a blog tour; no other compensation was received. 

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  • Posted January 17, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    First Thoughts: I had pretty high expectations going in. The blu

    First Thoughts:
    I had pretty high expectations going in. The blurb compares the book to Tamora Pierce and George R. R. Martin's works, which in my opinion gives it some pretty big shoes to fill. So, suffice it to say that I was hoping to be blown away by The Cadet.




    And Then: 
    Alex Lidell did not let me down one bit. The story was exciting and dangerous. The pacing was fast enough that I was never bored, but not too fast as to loose any character or plot development. Speaking of characters, I truly was invested in each and every one. This is a rare thing for me. Each character was so well written and given so much emotional depth that I felt as if I personally knew each and every one. The main character Renee de Winter was spirited, brave, ambitious, and loyal. I was rooting for her from the get go. I loved how dedicated she was in breaking the stereotype that only boys were strong enough to make it through Cadet training. She is soon thrown into a whirlwind of political intrigue, kidnapping, and tough decisions that put some of her beliefs to the ultimate test. Commander Savoy was another favorite character of mine. I'll admit that I didn't like him very much at first, but once I got to know him and his reasons for the things he did, I really "got" him. He has a very tough exterior and kept his emotions bottled inside. As the story progresses, we learn what happened to make him that way, and it makes him that much more lovable. He was such a good guy, and you could tell how much he cared about Renee's success as a Cadet. He also has a pivotal role in her growth as a character. 




    As for romance, well it wasn't a huge part of the book, but it wasn't lacking either. I honestly felt that it was done just right for this story and these characters. If you are NOT a fan of insta-love, you will find the romance inThe Cadet very refreshing! I really liked the fact that Renee didn't go all goo goo eyed over Savoy and let it take away from her duty or sense of self. I just think Lidell handled that aspect of the story really well. Sometimes less is more, and in this case it was.




    I really enjoyed the many twists and turns this story took. I was literally sitting there with my mouth hanging open like a fish at some points! I kept saying to myself "WOW, I never saw that coming!". The fight scenes were action packed and will leave you on the edge of your seat. There is a nice bit of magic in the book as well which I really enjoyed. This book really had so much going on (In a GOOD way) that I could never fully explain everything I loved about it without having spoilers. 




    I will say this, if you are a fan of Tamora Pierce, Rae Carson, or Kristin Cashore; you will LOVE The Cadet of Tildor. Alex Lidell has definitely found a new fan in this reader, and I will eagerly pick up anything she writes in the future. I don't know if there will be a sequel to The Cadet, but I freaking hope there is. That ending! Oh, man. It wasn't even a traditional cliffhanger, but still left me aching for more!(In a good way). I already miss the characters, and want to read more about their lives. 




    Overview: 
    I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone. It is categorized as "fantasy", but really has a bit of everything. There is action, political intrigue and magic. It also has a good deal of real life issues and lessons, which would make this a great classroom read. There is really something for everyone in this one, so I suggest you pick up a copy right away. Alex Lidell's debut has made her one of my new favorite authors. Watch this woman everyone, she is an amazing new voice in YA fiction.




    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars




    Favorite Quote: "A hill feels like a mountain until the real thing laughs in your face."

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  • Posted January 7, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Right from the start The Cadet of Tildor by Alex Lidell reminded

    Right from the start The Cadet of Tildor by Alex Lidell reminded me little of Throne of Glass. Or, well, Renee de Winter reminded me a bit of Celaena Sardothian. She's a strong female character who can, no doubt, kick butt in a fight. But at second glance, they might seem less alike. Where Celaena is all arrogance about her talents, Renee was a Lady who's been told she isn't as strong as the boys and can't make it as a champion of Tildor. She takes that criticism and works harder for it. She refuses to let anyone shatter her dream, her need, to become a Servant of Tildor.




    I immediately fell in love with Renee's instructor, Commander Savoy. He is not only strong and challenges Renee to work harder, but he's also a pretty hilariously immature character. You wouldn't think so from his cold, strict demeanor, but he's just got a way about him that says he was the trickster in his class at the Academy. Plus, his relationship with his little brother while their mercenary parents are away on a mission is so sweet. It really shows another side to the tough as nails Commander of the Seventh.




    I said The Cadet of Tildor reminded me of Throne of Glass, and it does, but for all of the people who read Throne of Glass and wished for a little more action The Cadet of Tildor finally delivers. It's action packed, whether its attacks on the Crown or just Renee training. Plus there's the politics of the gang war going on between the Family and the Vipers. There's a lot to keep readers entertained.




    My only problem was the multiple points of view throughout the book, but it's a small problem. At first, I wasn't a fan of constant POV switches, but by a few chapters in I realized that, even though I don't personally enjoy multiple POV's that much, it worked for this story. It rounded out the characters and gave you perspective into aspects of the story that you wouldn't have gotten if it had been solely told from Renee's point of view.




    I highly suggest The Cadet of Tildor to anyone looking for a great fantasy in the same vein as Throne of Glass or Graceling. Between the strong and feisty Renee, the swoon worthy Savoy, and the rich and imaginative Tildor, you can't go wrong with this one.

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  • Posted January 3, 2013

    Wow! What a story! Full of twists and turns and difficult choic

    Wow! What a story! Full of twists and turns and difficult choices, Lidell has written a book that is not only an exciting, intense read, but thought-provoking with serious ethical and moral questions. I found the book compelling and definitely one of my all time favorite reads. Here's why.

    Characters: Renee makes a fabulous main character. Not only is she determined and courageous but loyal as well. Not that she is perfect, she is far from it. She, like most people, makes some foolish decisions and even some that are downright stupid. Yet she eventually steps forward to accept the consequences of those choices, even when it could mean the end of her long held dream of being a Servant of the Crown. While attending the Academy, the sole means of attaining her dream of being an officer in the King's prized army, Renee must deal with not only schoolwork but bullies, a combat instructor who constantly challenges her, and a friend with a dangerous secret.

    Savoy on the other hand is NOT where he wants to be. He would much rather be with the Seventh, the military unit he commands, not teaching cadets how to use a sword. Returning to the Academy forces him to face ghosts from the past, both friend and foe. To be honest, Savoy reminds me a great deal of Eugenides in the Queen's Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner and Sage in Jennifer Nielson's The False Prince, in that his natural tendencies, such as deliberately goading a long time enemy, get him in trouble all over the place, yet whose tough exterior contains a very loyal and honorable heart.

    The other characters were great as well, even the 'bad guys' had there good points (most of them anyway). Alec and Sasha are great friends for Renee. Diam, Savoy's eight-year-old brother and his dog, Khavi, are a delight. I felt like the characters in this book reflected reality, people with strengths and weaknesses who make choices they then have to live with for better or worse. For me, strong characters are a necessity in order for me to get really involved in a book. This book accomplishes that task quite easily.

    PLOT: I need to be careful here because I don't want to give away anything, but the story moves quickly. I honestly did not feel like I was reading a 400 page book. I read for hours without much noticing the passing of time. I enjoyed the intricate connections between the different characters and their choices in the events that occur, for better or worse. I appreciated how the author slowly reveals to Renee and King Lysian the fact that their world was not as black and white as they thought it to be. The maneuvers of the crime families and the crown involve everyone around them and entangle Renee, Savoy and the others in dangerous situations where loyalties are tested and questions of ethics and morality take center stage.

    What takes precedence? the life of one man? or the good of the crown? How do Renee's and Savoy's personal loyalties play out against a background of violence and politics. Interestingly, there is little romance in this book, although the potential is there and I'm eager to see what happens in what I hope will be coming sequels.

    I highly, highly recommend this book, however, it will not be for every reader. Because of the issues involved there is a good deal of violence as well as swearing. The fight scenes are impressive and action packed.

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    Posted March 3, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2013

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