The Cadet of Tildor is a Tamora Piercesque type fantasy and you can really tell that Alex Lidell is influenced by her. But I really like that she grabbed the premise of a young girl competing in a male dominated world but with her own twist. Renee as a heroine was no Mary Sue and she had to work hard on keeping up with her male counter-parts. I also liked that she made mistakes, which some resulted in some major fallout but while I found her character hard to get into in the beginning. I did find that she was developed enough throughout the book that I warmed up to her character. I was also not a fan of Savoy who is Renee's trainer and commander of his own platoon of soldiers. I found his character too alphaholish but like Renee's character I think the ending and the events that led up to it made me warm up to him. But for me the real highlight was the world-building and setting. I really like the idea of mafia type nobles and an underground crime ring which is weakening the kingdom. While mages had to be registered and designated into different roles. I think it was an interesting take and I loved how the conflict between the different parties played out. There were lots of political intrigue and scheming and it drew me into the ongoing arc. And It definitely gave the tone a much grittier and darker air and there was no black and white. Looking forward to the followup - very promising epic fantasy YA!