Jan 16, 2013

Book Review: The Cadet of Tildor by Alex Lidell

Book Cover: The Cadet of Tildor by Alex Lidell

The Cadet of Tildor by Alex Lidell

Genre: YA Fantasy

Format: Ebook, 304 pages
Published On: January 10, 2013 by Penguin Young Readers Group
Source: Requested via NetGalley for review.

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First Sentence: "Lady Renee de Winter turned her back to the parlor, where her father's clerk counted gold crowns into the visitor's waiting palm."

Renee de Winter
[image source]

Renee de Winter never wanted to be a lady, she wanted to protect her country, Tildor. That's why she is attending the Academy of Tildor instead of glamorous balls. How is she going to protect her country by studying, some of you might ask. Well, you see the Academy of Tildor is not just any school, it's the only school that trained an unique type of military officers called Servants (because they serve the Crown and the people).

You just gotta love and admire Renee and her persistence. She does not let her size or comments from other people keep her down. Her father tells her:

"No quantity of training will make a wolf from a cockroach."

But Renee keeps on going and works hard on improving herself. Is she a kick-ass type of heroine? Hell yeah! Renee is not very tall and strong, so she's got to use her other abilities like speed, stamina & of course stubbornness to out-wit and defeat usually stronger and bigger opponents. It's good to read about heroine that is not almighty or has some special abilities.

The story follows mostly Renee but sometimes we get to see events from perspective of other characters: her best friend Alec, her roommate Sarah, fighting trainer Savoy, his little brother Diam and his pet dog Khavi etc. Their point of view gives us additional information and let us better understand them all. In The Cadet of Tildor by Alex Lidell there may be good and the bad side but nobody is black or white. There is something good in bad guys and sometimes good guys make catastrophic mistakes.

Academy of Tildor (cover detail)

The Cadet of Tildor is high fantasy. Imaginary world of Tildor is interesting and I would have loved to learn more about it's customs. But, since this is a standalone novel, Alex Lidell focused world building on the Academy of Tildor & behavior of the ruthless gang of Vipers that is terrorizing the country. There are a lot of subjects like: customs of noble families, mages, their magic, magical companions and history of Tildor, that were not explained in much detail. But as I said, since there is a page limit, you can not squeeze everything in one book.

Another neglected aspect in this book is romance, but I am not complaining. It's refreshing to meet girl in young adult novel who in time of crisis thinks and try to solve problems instead to contemplate which of two handsome boys to choose.

The best value of The Cadet of Tildor is not strong heroine or fast-paced action, although book has all that, it's contemplation and discussion of some all-time moral dilemmas. When neither choice is a good one what to do?

"She had never though herself capable of betraying the Crown.
She could not, would not, betray a friend.
And that loyalty meant treason."

Another question this book asks is: "How much did blood matter?" Does our ancestors & their behavior defines us, will we always fall into a familiar pattern or can people choose their own destiny?

Yes this is one of those books to make you think. ;)

The Cadet of Tildor is awesome debut novel by Alex Lidell. It's great addition to young adult fantasy genre that ignores all the usual ya tropes, makes you think about some heavy moral dilemmas, cheer for realistic down-to-earth characters and keeps you on the edge of your seat with fast-paced action scenes. It's an awesome book, and I can't wait to read the next book by Alex Lidell. I hope she won't make us wait too long!

My Rating: 5 out of 5

Similar books: Graceling by Kristin Cashore, Seraphina by Rachel Hartman, Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder ...

Let's Talk:

Did you read The Cadet of Tildor?

Also, I would love to read more similar books, so if you have some recommendations, please share. :)

Any other thoughts or comments?

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