January 5, 2013

ARC Review + Giveaway: The Cadet of Tildor by Alex Lidell

Title: The Cadet of Tildor
Author: Alex Lidell
Publisher: Dial Books (Penguin Young Readers Group)
Release date: Jan 10, 2013
Genre: Fantasy
Age Group: Young Adult
Tour organized by: AToMR Tours

Book Description:

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 (www.alexlidell.com) was a finalist in the 2010 Amazon Breakthrough Novelist Award competition and lives in New Jersey. This is her first novel.

My Review: 

First Thoughts:
      I had pretty high expectations going in. The blurb compares the book to Tamora Pierce and George R. R. Martin's works, which in my opinion gives it some pretty big shoes to fill. So, suffice it to say that I was hoping to be blown away by The Cadet.

And Then: 
     Alex Lidell did not let me down one bit. The story was exciting and dangerous. The pacing was fast enough that I was never bored, but not too fast as to loose any character or plot development.  Speaking of characters, I truly was invested in each and every one. This is a rare thing for me. Each character was so well written and given so much emotional depth that I felt as if I personally knew each and every one. The main character Renee de Winter was spirited, brave, ambitious, and loyal. I was rooting for her from the get go. I loved how dedicated she was in breaking the stereotype that only boys were strong enough to make it through Cadet training.  She is soon thrown into a whirlwind of political intrigue, kidnapping, and tough decisions that put some of her beliefs to the ultimate test. Commander Savoy was another favorite character of mine. I'll admit that I didn't like him very much at first, but once I got to know him and his reasons for the things he did, I really "got" him.  He has a very tough exterior and kept his emotions bottled inside. As the story progresses, we learn what happened to make him that way, and it makes him that much more lovable.  He was such a good guy, and you could tell how much he cared about Renee's success as a Cadet.  He also has a pivotal role in her growth as a character. 

     As for romance, well it wasn't a huge part of the book, but it wasn't lacking either. I honestly felt that it was done just right for this story and these characters.  If you are NOT a fan of insta-love, you will find the romance inThe Cadet very refreshing!  I really liked the fact that Renee didn't go all goo goo eyed over Savoy and let it take away from her duty or sense of self.  I just think Lidell handled that aspect of the story really well. Sometimes less is more, and in this case it was.

     I really enjoyed the many twists and turns this story took.  I was literally sitting there with my mouth hanging open like a fish at some points!  I kept saying to myself "WOW, I never saw that coming!".  The fight scenes were action packed and will leave you on the edge of your seat.  There is a nice bit of magic in the book as well which I really enjoyed. This book really had so much going on (In a GOOD way) that I could never fully explain everything I loved about it without having spoilers. 

       That ending! Oh, man. It wasn't even a traditional cliffhanger, but still left me aching for more(In a good way).  I already miss the characters, and want more Renee and Savoy. Sequel, please!! 

     If you are a fan of Tamora Pierce, Rae Carson, or Kristin Cashore; you will LOVE The Cadet of Tildor.  Alex Lidell has definitely found a new fan in this reader, and I will eagerly pick up anything she writes in the future.I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone. It is technically a fantasy novel, but really has a bit of everything.  There is action, political intrigue, a dash of romance, and some pretty cool mage magic.  It also has a great deal of real-life issues and lessons, which would make this a great classroom read(discussion questions galore!). There is really something for everyone in this one, so I suggest that everyone pick up a copy right away.  Alex Lidell's debut has made her one of my new favorite authors. Watch this woman everyone, she is an amazing new voice in YA fiction. 

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Favorite Quote: "A hill feels like a mountain until the real thing laughs in your face."

Note: I received a "traveling" ARC of this book in order to provide an honest review for The Cadet of Tildor blog tour.  The above review is my honest opinion of the book and was in no way influenced by my participation in this tour, nor was I compensated in any way for my review. 

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.
Author Links:

Buy Links:

Author Sponsored Giveaway:

U.S. ONLY: $20 Amazon Gift Card, PLUS a copy of THE CADET OF TILDOR with swag

INTERNATIONAL: $20 Book Depository Gift Card

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Follow the tour!


  1. the book looks very interesting


  2. Wow! So this book is compared to Tamora Pierce and George R. R. Martin's. I like it already! Plus you mentioned that it has likable characters and just a little romance.

  3. The Cadet of Tildor sounds like an excellent read! Being compared to big names like Tamora Piece and George R. R. Martin will certainly make expectations rocket sky high! I'm so glad it didn't disappoint. I do love a good fantasy with subtle romances and a girl having to prove herself among guys is one of my favorite setups. Very excited for the book! :)


I truly appreciate each and every one of your comments!