Friday, March 16, 2018

Book Review: Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts

Royal Bastards
Author: Andrew Shvarts
Series: Royal Bastards
Publication: Disney-Hyperion (May 30, 2017)

Description: 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, 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 . . .

My Thoughts: Tilla is the bastard daughter of Lord Kent of the Western Province. When she was younger, her father paid a lot of attention to her but since he married and had three legitimate daughters, she has been set aside. She spends her time with her half-brother Jax who is a stablehand. She still wishes that her father would acknowledge her and she still admires him.

She is attending a banquet honoring the visit of the Archmagus and the Princess Lyriana who is heir to the throne. She is in the outskirts, sitting at the bastards' table, with Miles who is the bastard son of the head of House Hempstedt and Zell who is a disgraced Zitochi warrior. Things change quickly when the princess decides that she wants to join the bastards' table. The four kids decide to join Jax later for a trip through the hidden tunnels to the Whitesand beach. There they find themselves an unwilling audience to a coup. Tilla's father, along with Miles's mother and Zell's father, are killing the Archmagus and overhear that Zell's brother has been sent to kill Lyriana in her room.

The five of them have to flee to get word to the king. They head across the country being chased by Zitochi warriors including Zell's brother and other mercenaries too. The face all sorts of adventures along the way. Friendships grow and a romance blossoms too. Then there are losses and betrayals.

Fans of epic fantasy will enjoy this story. The characters, especially Tilla, are well-rounded and intriguing people. I can't wait for the second book in this series to find out what happens next.

Favorite Quote:
Could I really do it? Just run away and never set foot in Castle Waverly again, never lie down on Whitesand Beach, never see my father again? I thought of his face down at the beach, that wild, gleeful bloodlust that had made me want to scream. Could I go back to him, even if I wanted to? Would I ever look at him the same way? Even if he forgave me, could I forgive him?
I bought this one Dec. 19, 2017 because I have the sequel on my Review stack. You can buy your copy here.

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