I read and reviewed this on my blog in January
(ARC provided to me in exchange for an honest review, for blog tour)
Romance: No (there was a little bit, but it was very subtle)
Pacing: 4 stars
Plot: 4.5 stars
Renee de Winter is 16 years old and a cadet, she's the only girl who is a fighter at the Academy. Her father doesn't believe that she will graduate because she's a girl and smaller than the others in her year, some other people believe that as well, but she ends up proving them wrong.
One of the things I love about fantasy novels is that it's a different world in every fantasy novel, because that world was made up completely by the author, there aren't rules like in dystopian novels (that it needs to be explained how the world got that way).
This story is split into four POVs, but they are mostly Renee and Savoy's, the other two are only one chapter (Renee's best friend Alec's POV is for one chapter, and this other kid's POV is one chapter as well).
I remember the first time that I found out about this book, I was reading a Waiting on wednesday post about this book a few months ago on another blog, which got me wanting to read this book so badly. It has a strong, independent female protagonist, of course I would put it on my tbr list and it was one of my most anticipated 2013 releases. This book is even better than I expected.
Alex does a great job at the world building and the character developments.
There is a King that rules over the country of Tildor, but there isn't just one opposing group, there are actually two. The Family (who are more civilized than the other group), and the Vipers. To be honest, if Palan wasn't faking the fact that he cares about his family's wellbeing, then that means that the Family isn't as bad as the Vipers, because most of the Vipers ---especially the Madam--- are completely heartless. It was interesting to learn about two of the cities in Tildor and how they are so different from each other; Atham (the capital) and Catar (where the Vipers live and they control that city). There are two types of people that the story focuses on and they are: the fighters, and the mages. Renee is a fighter, her roommate Sasha is a mage (although she doesn't use her powers in the book). The mage's have the power to Control and heal people through their life energy.
Each character had a few secrets, which made many of the characters very surprising and shocking, because they're different than what you originally thought they were like. It's pretty interesting and kind of scary. But it wasn't just the characters that surprised you, there were many twists, I like that the story wasn't predictable, it was way more entertaining that way.
At first, I wasn't so sure if I liked Renee, because she was too much rule biding student, which made her boring, she was basically the opposite of one of my favourite characters, Rose Hathaway from Vampire Academy. Rose was a trouble maker, stubborn, short tempered, and funny, I didn't see any of that Renee during some of the chapters in the beginning that I started to get annoyed with her and kept thinking doesn't this girl ever do mischief or anything for fun? I liked Korish Savoy (commander of the Seventh, and who also becomes one of Renee's teachers) better than her, when I found out mischievious he was when he was a kid, despite him being such a jerk. Although, he was still pretty irritating. But once we get more into the story, both Savoy and Renee became more likeable and we learn why Savoy is the way he is, it's because of his past.
This story wasn't focused on romance like many other young adult novels are, in fact, it didn't really have much or any romance in it, which was nice. I like reading books and watching movies that are more about fighting battles than about romance. This had to do more with family relationships and friendships.
I can't wait to read the next book in this series, and see where Renee's and her friends take them next.
Overall, this book was very enjoyable. This book is adventurous, has some mystery in it, has interesting twists in it. I cried, felt angry, happy, and basically any of the other emotions that the characters were feeling. It was way better than I expected it to be. I recommend this to everyone, you would probably enjoy this.
I rated this book: 4.5 stars.
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