When I picked this one up at the local library the blurb made it sound a lot like Tamora Pierce's works which I thought was a good thing. Young girl chooses the path of knighthood and is determined to succeed and protect her kingdom while there is dirty politics flying around in the background, that sounds great to me, where is it?
The Cadet of Tildor by Alex Lidell
Summary: Despite her father's objections Renee is determined to finish her schooling to become a Servant of the Crown, no matter if she's smaller than all of her male classmates and not the brightest in her class. One would think the fact that her idol is her new teacher would help her out but with him comes more politics and baggage than Renee could have predicted.
The Good: I wish the story had focused more on the magic system in the story since that was interesting or that it had made the conflict about registered mages (where they have to register yet have no say in whether they become say a healer or a war machine) the main part of the story, it's not a new idea but I think this could have been an interesting take on it. Or heck, the story had some rather interesting legends in it and I wish those had either twined into the main story more or had been the focus of the book instead. There was just a lot of little interesting things going on in the background and I'm baffled why those weren't the focus instead.
The Bad: I did not enjoy this book at all probably should have instead dropped it halfway through because of just how dull it was. I suspect that part of the problem is that Lidell was trying to write some rather complicated characters (a protagonist who thinks they have to be just like the guys in every way to be better than them, a mentor figure who is possibly unsuited to training and in some ways seeks to make himself even more unsuitable so he can get out of it) and just doesn't pull it off since they aren't likable or sympathetic at all so I just didn't care about their struggles. I mean, not only does Renee insist of trying to master a sword fighting style that won't be nearly as a effective as another one (due to her size and strength, it's not even looked down upon or anything, she just wants to win with brute force instead) but she also neglects her studies in order to do so and therefore nearly fails out in two different ways, why should I care about a character who is so clueless in some ways? The story's politics also don't fully work in the end, the story really tries to mess with Renee and tell her all these conflicting stories about why her mother died ("this side did it!" "no it was your father!" "it could have all been an accident") and then, if I remember correctly, doesn't elaborate in the end on what actually happened which is the case of a lot of the other political shenanigans in the book as well. While in real life it may be hard to uncover the truth of the matter books aren't real life, they're fiction, and if you build up a mystery you must have a reveal or you've simply wasted time and space which could be been used to develop something else instead.
In the end I give this book just two out of five stars for being boring and uninteresting, I have no interest in reading any other books by Lidell unless they get rave reviews from some of the book blogs I follow.