Series: Royal Bastards #1
Published by Disney Book Group on May 30th 2017
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Action & Adventure, General, Fantasy, Epic, Romance
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Being a bastard blows. Tilla would know. Her father, Lord Kent of the Western Province, loved her as a child, but cast her aside as soon as he had trueborn children. At sixteen, Tilla spends her days exploring long-forgotten tunnels beneath the castle with her stablehand half brother, Jax, and her nights drinking with the servants, passing out on Jax's floor while her castle bedroom collects dust. Tilla secretly longs to sit by her father's side, resplendent in a sparkling gown, enjoying feasts with the rest of the family. Instead, she sits with the other bastards, like Miles of House Hampstedt, an awkward scholar who's been in love with Tilla since they were children. Then, at a feast honoring the visiting princess Lyriana, the royal shocks everyone by choosing to sit at the Bastards' Table. Before she knows it, Tilla is leading the sheltered princess on a late-night escapade. Along with Jax, Miles, and fellow bastard Zell, a Zitochi warrior from the north, they stumble upon a crime they were never meant to witness. Rebellion is brewing in the west, and a brutal coup leaves Lyriana's uncle, the Royal Archmagus, dead—with Lyriana next on the list. The group flees for their lives, relentlessly pursued by murderous mercenaries; their own parents have put a price on their heads to prevent the king and his powerful Royal Mages from discovering their treachery. The bastards band together, realizing they alone have the power to prevent a civil war that will tear their kingdom apart—if they can warn the king in time. And if they can survive the journey . . .
Royal Bastards is an incredible read. It’s the first in a trilogy (OH HECK YES I AM HERE FOR THAT) but it does stand-alone pretty well, in that there’s no cliff-hanger ending, or clamouring for the next book, which I’m on board with. I’ll read the sequel, but I don’t need it NOW, which is good since this book isn’t even out yet until June and I’m writing this in March. Phew. I just loved the whole concept of the book – that all the bastards band together to save the world. Okay, not the world, the kingdom, shall I say? That works. For some bizarre reason, at the beginning, I thought Tilla was a boy. I haven’t the foggiest clue where I got that idea, but I eventually cottoned on.
I loved how the plot progressed – Royal Bastards starts off sedate, with the only thing Tilla has to worry about is being legitimized by her dad, Lord Kent. Then one night, at a feast for Princess Lyriana, it all goes to pot. Suddenly Tilla, Lyriana, Zell, Jax and Miles are on the run, with a bounty of their heads, and a war brewing. It just completely blew up, with action afoot, as they all try to get Lyriana to safety, without being captured and killed. Andrew Shvarts has written SUCH a good book, my heart was pulsing, dropping to my stomach many times and seeing Tilla transform from a girl into a woman was out of this world amazing. She really does mature and grow before your eyes, transforming into a badass heroine, to give my girl Celaena a run for her money (I know she isn’t Celaena any more, but I haven’t read that far, OK?!). I also liked the supporting characters – sometimes it feels like the supporting characters are just there to prop up the heroine, but they so weren’t in this case. I was connected to Princess Lyriana, to Jax, to Zell. The only one I didn’t like was Miles. He just creeped me out.
With my knowledge that this is now a trilogy, I’m kinda peeved at Andrew Shvarts for what he did there at the end. I mean WAS THERE ANY NEED FOR THAT? I saw it coming, I just hadn’t guessed all of it, but damn, talk about cold-hearted. Honestly this was Harry Potter and Hedwig or Dobby level of cold-hearted. Other than that, I genuinely loved every page – the friendship, the action, the laughs, the way you felt like you didn’t know the characters at the beginning, but by the end they were family. (MOSTLY.)
I will be clamouring to read the next book as soon as I hear a peep about it. Royal Bastards had a brilliant ending, yes, but I am super, super intrigued to see where the series goes. There’s a lot more to be told – retribution is needed for some things, and I’m so intrigued to see Lightspire, we heard so much about it but didn’t see any of it, in this first book. I loved Royal Bastards, I couldn’t recommend it enough. The world building was incredible, the characters were brilliant, ones you really rooted for, and Andrew Shvarts gave Tilla a fantastic voice, I just loved it. It made me cry, it made me smile, it made me laugh, I just got the whole gamut of feelings whilst reading this book and it was just incredible.