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The Cadet of Tildor

The Cadet of Tildor - Alex Lidell I didn’t know much about THE CADET OF TILDOR before hosting a feature on my blog several months ago. But by the time I found myself in the blog tour, I had educated myself instead of educating myself on things that I should have been studying. A girl training to be a Servant of the Crown, medieval fantasy, mages and cage fighting, brooding boys (yes, ladies and gentlemen, I love a brooding boy occasionally).Beyond what you might find in the synopsis, THE CADET OF TILDOR is the story of a girl fighting to prove herself in a field where girls rarely shine. I’ll start this review with our heroine Renee, the headstrong, determined 16 year old who has spent her life dedicated to proving to her instructors and her father that she can stand alongside the boys. She might not be as strong as the boys, but she makes up for that with intelligence and mental strength.The cast of characters around her is just as well drawn out, even if there are lapses in characterization. For example, Alec’s portrayal suddenly shifted with no real explanation besides a revelation that was inevitable. One of the main cons about this story was how he came across, and likewise how the characters around Renee sometimes shifted in their characterization without warning or purpose. But the hero of our story, Koresh Savoy (Renee’s new instructor – and main love interest), has his own issues, even if I did love him (but not really as a love interest). At times he came across as a big fat jerk, too stuck in his own ways and ego to realize the picture at hand. He was stuck up and broody, but as a match for Renee? Is it bad that I was shipping Renee and Alec?Beyond the characters, the scope of the world is huge and well constructed. We have a kingdom ruled by an ineffective king, crime syndicates and enemy empires, cage fights in lawless cities, vast wildernesses populated with fantastical creatures, and mages. Beyond the fact that mages are forced to register and be subject to the whim of the authorities – they have no say if they become a battle mage on the front lines or a healer stuck in an office – they’re super awesome. I mean, I would want to be one. The schematics of this world are almost immaculate, but a few more definitions and descriptions wouldn’t have hurt.For a debut author, Ms. Lidell shows strength in her prose, even if at times the story seems to wander without really finding a purpose. The strength of this novel, though, is in its story, filled with revelations, betrayals, truths, lies, and plenty of twists. I loved it from start to end, and I think this is going to be a series maybe? I sure hope so! If you are into fantasy, this book is for you. It has a very strong dash of what makes Tamora Pierce such an awesome writer, and I see great things in Ms. Lidell’s future.VERDICT: A fantastical novel that lives up to its strong premise, THE CADET OF TILDOR gave me everything I wanted and then some – especially in the form of one of the strongest female protagonists I’ve read in a long time. Pick this one up.4.5/5