The Cadet of Tildor by Alex Lidell
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.
4 stars. Probably more like 3.5 stars, but I am giving the author the benefit of the doubt.
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