Thursday, January 24, 2013

ARC Mini-Review: The Cadet of Tildor by Alex Lidell

Title: The Cadet of Tildor 

Author: Alex Lidell

Rating: DNF/2 Stars

I suppose, in many ways, I didn't give The Cadet of Tildor much of a chance. I painstakingly read through the first quarter of this book before giving into my desire to skim the pages until I was nearly half-way through the novel and began to realize I was well and truly wasting my time. The Cadet of Tildor is not a bad novel, but it just wasn't one for me. As a high fantasy junkie who has grown up reading Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Tamora Pierce, Kristin Cashore, and Megan Whalen Turner, Alex Lidell falls seriously short of other fantasy writers of this age.

The Cadet of Tildor starts out strongly enough, introducing us to a fierce and strong-willed protagonist, Renee. While I instantly admired her for standing up to her father and willing to follow her dreams of completing her training as a Cadet, despite the fact that she was up against stronger men, I was unable to feel much of a connection with her as the novel wore on. From the onset, her friends were flat and two-dimensional and the revered trainer seemed to lack personality as well. Or, perhaps, they didn't lack personality and it was just the fact that they were so like every other fantasy character out there that I was unimpressed. The Cadet of Tildor is excruciatingly unoriginal and, upon skipping to the end, I can already inform you that its last line is the exact same last line from Turner's King of Attolia, only without a complex situation and three novels to back it up.

In addition to my lack of feeling for the characters, I simply felt very underwhelmed. Nothing much happens during the beginning and neither are the characters or world set up in a manner I found to be interesting. In fact, I virtually have no grasp of this world or its politics whatsoever. Ultimately, Lidell's debut is a disappointment for me simply because I go into fantasy expecting more from it and this one just didn't live up. Unlike the contemporary genre, which often lets me down and I've come to accept as a hit-or-miss genre for me, fantasy usually never fails to amaze me, but the recent revival of YA Fantasy certainly has.

For newcomers into fantasy or those of you who are unfamiliar with the works of Megan Whalen Turner or Tamora Pierce, The Cadet of Tildor is likely to take your breath away. It is extremely well-written and the words flow smoothly from the page, proving that Lidell can, indeed, write. Yet, when compared to other fantasy works, it falls short of a masterpiece by far. Of course, the novel may drastically improve, but as I already feel nothing for the characters, I sincerely doubt I'll enjoy this one too much more.


  1. This sounds disappointing, Keertana, I can understand the need to skim and then put this down all together. I need more action and interest in my reads!

  2. Shame to hear about you not finishing this one, Keertana dear because it looked so promising.

    Like you, I do adore my fantasy genre, so I'm not sure whether I'll pick this one up and read it yet especially if we haven't got much world building/politics, the things I like in a book.

    Great review! :)

  3. Oh I'm sorry you weren't able to enjoy this as much you hoped Keertana, normally if I'm unable to form a connection with a character early on, this normally leads to a downhill read for me. I hope you pick up a fantasy book soon which is more likely to keep your attention! Great review! :)

  4. Oh I wasn't sure if you were going to post this on your blog at some point or not! I'm sorry it wasn't a great fit for you, but I'm happy to take your queue and not read it. I'm sure it would be FINE, but again...meh. Fantastic job on articulating why this one didn't work for you.

  5. Oh NO! This breaks my heart to read because I have been looking forward to reading this one, K! I will still read this book but I have to admit that I am hesitant now and my expectations have lowered considerably :( Poor or flat characterization is a big pet peeve of mine, so that in particular is distressing to hear.

  6. Sometimes fantasy can be as hit and miss for me as contemporary, especially when I am nearly always comparing then to the better examples, such as those you mentioned. I'm sorry to see you had to force yourself through another poor read. This didn't quite grab my attention in the first place so I don't think I'll ever read it myself. Great review!

  7. Boo! *depressed* As a huge Megan Whalen Turner fan, I doubt I'd like this any more than you did. I'm very difficult and demanding when it comes to fantasy, and although I was very hopeful when I signed up for this blog tour,I doubt I'll even read it in the end. I want fantasy with a lot of political intrigue and quite a few surprises, and there are very few authors who can deliver.
    Thank you for saving me the trouble of finding out for myself. :)

  8. I am still going to try this but goodness, I have been disappointed so much by this new crop of what they try to pass off as "high fantasy." Falling Kingdoms was a disaster and I usually like that author's work. I will try this one out whenever it comes around but now I don't hold much hope for this. If you are looking for something out of this world, try Kate Elliott's Spiritwalker trilogy (if you haven't done so already, that is). It is fantastic, so very fantastic. And the third one is coming out very soon or well, this year. So yay.

  9. I'm not a huge fantasy reader so it must be something really stunning to get my attention and motivate me to read it. I wasn't really attracted to this book when I saw it around quite a few blogs, so I won't be picking this up after your review, Keertana. Sorry this didn't work out for you.

  10. Cadet of Tildor will appeal to readers of Tamora Pierce and other politically driven high fantasy. This was a satisfying, well plotted read. Younger YA readers will enjoy the details of Renee's military school and the action scenes, while older readers will find much to think about in the discussions of Renee and her friends about what is right morally and what the law dictates.

    simplisafe 2 review


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