Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Cadet of Tildor: review & giveaway

The Cadet of Tildor by Alex Lidell
YA fantasy*hardcover & e-book, 400 pages
Published by Dial (January 10, 2013)
Purchase: Amazon
Tour organized by: AToMR Tours

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.

About the author:
Alex Lidell

Alex Lidell is a YA fantasy writer and author of ABNA Finalist THE CADET OF TILDOR (Penguin, 2013). She was a finalist in the 2010 Amazon Breakthrough Novelist Award competition and lives in New Jersey. This is her first novel.

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.

My thoughts:
I absolutely love good fantasies--those stories which suck you in and you get lost reading it. When finished, there's a certain lingering sadness because you didn't want the story to end and afterwards, certain things remind you about things from the story (an article of clothing, a song, even seeing a horse). I ADORED The Cadet of Tildor.

Renee DeWinter grabbed me in the first chapter, dealing with her cold-hearted father with aplomb. She is an incredibly real young woman and one I quickly supported and believed in. Her determination to return to the Academy and complete her senior year of training was admirable. Her father's actions shocked me throughout the tale. The world of Tildor, from the new young king, the politics and the underbelly of crime and corruption (from the detestable Madam and the Vipers), the cadets' choice to serve their kingdom, everything meshed together so well I didn't want to stop reading. There is such an amazing array of characters. I loved Renee, especially when she was slow to realize something and called herself a "dolt" to her best friend, Alec, to the aggressive and mystifying Commander of the Seventh and begrudging Academy teacher, Savoy, I liked every character. What can I say about the dialogue? Excellent. Pacing? The story flowed so seamlessly, I did not want to stop reading AT ALL. 

There were some nice surprises and things Renee did which I thoroughly enjoyed. Renee was a well rounded character, a strong heroine with shortcomings she would readily admit and faults she didn't bother to hide, yet it is her strength in wielding a sword, her grim determination to show that she belongs in the Academy (since she's on probation), and her compassionate heart which made me love her. She starts out with a fixed outlook on what is right and wrong as she studies to become a Servant of the Crown, but as the story progresses, the lines separating the two begin to blur and she takes a stand. What a gutsy girl. Alec was also another favorite of mine and watching him struggle with his own problems endeared him to me even more. 

Savoy, hmm, what a wonderfully conflicted, mixed-up young man. As a soldier, he is a legend, as a human being, let's say his manner with people could use some polishing. His tactics as an instructor are brutal at times and it's seems Renee is often at the receiving end. There is a method to his forcefulness and as more about his past was revealed, the more I began to understand him. There were times I detested him but then he would do something nice, a smile or reaching out of his hand, and he'd be redeemed. Little Diam became another favorite character, as did his wolf, Akiva. The adults in the story were not typical, they were well-rounded characters and added another layer to the story's rich fabric.

There's no need for me to rehash the story. Fantasy lovers, particularly if you enjoy strong female main characters, have to read The Cadet of Tildor. This is Alex Lidell's first novel and I loved it! What an imagination Ms. Lidell has to craft such a vivid, moving story. I can only imagine what she's writing next, but one thing is for sure, this reader will be picking up a copy, just like The Cadet of Tildor is being purchased and placed on my library bookshelf.

Rating: 5

Cover comment: The image of the hand wielding a sword is indicative of Renee's determination to show her mettle and I like the earthy colors. It's a pretty good cover.

Book source: I received a promotional e-ARC in return for my honest review during a book tour.

The author is offering:
$20 Amazon Gift Card, 
PLUS a copy of THE CADET OF TILDOR with swag – US
$20 Book Depository Gift Card – International
a Rafflecopter giveaway

1 comment:

  1. I just stayed up way too late reading this. I totally agree with your review. Thanks for the great review and giveaway.