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.
This is the best fantasy novel I’ve read in a while. It has all the things you’d expect from a good fantasy: mages, sword fights, royal intrigue, and plenty of plot twists. It also has a kick-ass MC, Renee. What sets it apart for me is that Renee has flaws, which makes her relatable to the reader. In the beginning of the book, she’s stubborn and willful and only sees the world in black and white. This allows for her character to grow through the book, giving her depth. She never loses her willfulness, but begins to see the complexities of her situation and begins to understand that not everything is black and white. I love when an MC not only goes on a journey, but also grows as a character.
I also found the lack of romance refreshing. That’s not to say the Renee isn’t attracted to good looking men (she is sixteen after all) but the plot doesn’t fall into the all too common YA romance formula. I also like how Renee wants to be treated like her male counterparts, and ultimately is, including being trained, bruised, and battered.
THE CADET OF TILDOR will be out January 10th from Dial…so mark your calendars! This is a great fantasy read!