Jan 4, 2013

{Blog Tour} Book Review + Giveaway: The Cadet of Tildor - Alex Lidell

Thanks for dropping by my stop for this tour!

 Title: The Cadet of Tildor
Author: Alex Lidell
Release Date: January 10th 2013
Publisher: Dial
Genre: Fantasy
Age Group: Young Adult
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.
Alex Lidell was a finalist in the 2010 Amazon Breakthrough Novelist Award competition and lives in New Jersey. This is her first novel.
I am a huge fan of George R.R. Martin, so to compare another writer's work to his is a huge deal. The people behind The Cadet of Tildor had bravely made this comparison, and I'm more than glad to know it lived up to it.

Renee de Winter was supposed to be a lady, learning to one day take over his lord father's estates, but instead, she chose to enroll into the Academy of Tildor and train to become an elite soldier. She chose this path not for honor, but for the vision of ending crime and injustice, the two things that had taken her mother and brother's lives. 

I have a huge admiration for Renee. She was kind, brave, and smart, but she was no Mary Sue. In fact, she was a very real sixteen-year-old who felt fear and insecurity, but what added to this sense of genuineness to her was her capabilities. Back when she started at the Academy, she used to be one of the best in her class, but as puberty started to strike, she began to fall behind her male classmates' strength. I know she could've avoided it by training more, but with those guys' military training, they had nowhere to go but stronger.

Then there was Korish Savoy, a twenty-three-year-old commander of an elite military group and Renee's new trainer, who entertained—or, honestly speaking, made me swoonme with his tough man exterior, and I couldn't be happier when I learned that his part in the plot was bigger than I thought. His underestimation of Renee when he'd just met him made me raise an eyebrow, though, but he sure helped in developing her combat skills.

This book gave me two surprises. First was the romance. I can't say anything about it without being spoiler-y, but that bit certainly didn't go the way I'd guessed. Second was the mages and their power, which gave way for even more surprises. So well done.

For an epic fantasy novel, the world-building was not that grand or anything, but surprisingly, that didn't bother me at all because over-describing could have distracted me from the plot, which was so full of action, twists, and high stakes that I absolutely loved. That, combined with an amazing pace that had me frantic to leaf through the pages, made this an unputdownable read.

Although sometimes the writing confused me enough that I had to read the same paragraph twice or thrice before I understood it, it was still such a pleasure to read The Cadet of Tildor. I loved it much more than I thought I would, and I am crossing my fingers for a sequel.

MY FAVORITE PART was that scene at the end with Renee and her father.  

(cover from Goodreads.com)

About the author:
Alex Lidell is a YA fantasy writer and author of ABNA Finalist THE CADET OF TILDOR (Penguin, 2013). 

Although English is Alex’s primary language, it wasn’t her first. Coming from Russia, Alex learned english in elementary school and fell in love with reading when the school librarian put Tamora Pierce’s ALANNA into her hands. Years later, in college, it was another book that re-united Alex with Russian, which she had shunned in adolescence. The Three Musketeers.* Alex thanks both books, and the writers who created them. Beyond writing, Alex is also a photographer, a horseback rider, and a paramedic. The latter two go hand in hand more often than one would like. She is trying to self-teach herself and her horse to sword-fight. 

Alex would love to see THE CADET OF TILDOR in the classroom and is working on developing teacher guides for the novel. She enjoys “e-meeting” both students and educators. 
Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

And for the giveaway, Alex is giving a $20 Amazon gift card and a copy of The Cadet of Tildor with swag for one US winner, and a $20 Book Depository gift card for one international winner.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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