Thank you to the lovely http://www.literaryrambles.com/ for her ARC of The Cadet of Tildor. It made for some pleasant reading over Spring Break, so thank you very much.
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. (Excerpt and image from Goodreads:).
Alex Lidell has created some wonderful characters for this world of Tildor. I especially liked sixteen year old Renee de Winter. When her father gives her an ultimatum, leave the Academy or never be welcomed at their home again, she sticks to her convictions and returns to school. You see, Renee has always dreamed of being a protector for Tildor, to be among the elite Champions trained to protect the King. Renee is strong, determined and above all a fighter who early on thinks she has to beat the boys in battle to prove her worth. Yet, as she trains with Commander Savoy, Renee learns that she doesn't have to prove she's as good as the boys, but just needs to prove she can kill them. Although, I didn't always agree with Commander Savoy's training methods when it came to Renee, some of it seemed logical for the time period and given the Commander's own experiences at the school. Which are nicely explained by the varying points of view. Moving from Renee, to the commander and then to Renee's friend Alec. Each shift is able to add some details and mystery about the characters past and moves the story along. Although, Tildor and its new King are stuck in a battle between two opposing forces, The Viper's and the Family. I wish they were explained a little further but are more intrigue and as a plot point for the kidnapping. I also would have loved to learn more about the mages and how they use their powers for either healing or harm. Although there were some nice examples of both, I never understood why some mages registered and others choose not to. Overall, this is a wonderful fantasy filled with political intrigue, mysterious conflicts and characters that will keep you surprised. I hope Alex Lidell will write more books about Renee de Winter.