Published by: Dial on January 10, 2013
Genre: Fantasy, Magic, Young Adult
Source: Blog Tour
Buy on Amazon • Goodreads
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.
The Cadet of Tildor was a big disappointment for me. I wanted a kickass girl power book with a steamy hot romance that defied the world and Graceling-esque epicness. But I got none of that. And at the end of the day, Renee didn’t even kick much ass. She was a girl trying to kick ass, but she never really succeeded (at least not to the standard I was hoping for).
I think one of my main problems with this book is that the characters lacked depth and none of them were that likeable. Yes, Renee was trying to hold her own amongst the guys and was training to fight, but she was constantly making stupid decisions. She was on probation for the combat part of her Academy training, so she poured everything into that training and completely neglected her other studies, which resulted in her deciding to cheat, getting in trouble, and then she complained about her very deserved punishment. I just thought it was so obvious what would happen and I couldn’t believe she was stupid enough to do it!
Then there’s Savoy. Honestly, Savoy was just an annoying, arrogant jerk. At first I thought he was supposed to be the strong, silent love interest that slowly develops over time, but then nothing happened with that either. Not even an inkling of a romance. And for me, a book without romance is just boring.
I feel like I envisioned a more epic conflict than what we get in The Cadet of Tildor. Ultimately the book comes down to Renee wanting to rescue her teacher at the Academy—Savoy—from captivity and slavery. And since I didn’t care for Savoy and he was nothing but a jerk to Renee, I didn’t get Renee’s unyielding loyalty to him. Ultimately, I just felt nothing while reading this book. I had no reaction to it; I was just indifferent. The dire situations didn’t affect me at all, the ending meant nothing to me.. nada.
Some of the plot elements were mildly interesting. There was a big gladiator aspect towards the end that held my interest for a while, but it wasn’t quite enough to save my enjoyment of the book. I just couldn’t get invested and couldn’t bring myself to really care or feel for the characters or plot developments. In particular, I had zero interesting in the politics side of the story. I tended to just tune all that out.
I think at the end of the day, I just didn’t click with this book. The Cadet of Tildor wasn’t a horrible book, it just didn’t resonate with me. If you happen to click with it, you’ll probably enjoy it quite a bit. I just wasn’t one of those people.