Book Review: Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts
Title: Royal Bastards
Author: Andrew Shvarts
Published: May 30th, 2017
Find the Author: Goodreads
I received this book for review on my blog! As always, my reviews are fair and unbiased.
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 . . .
I am always looking for something a little different to place into my reading habits, and Royal Bastards looked like just the thing. When I was approached about considering it for review, I was SO ready to read it, only sceptical about the title (just because I don’t swear, myself, and because I know that it’s not the cleanest of words in itself) but I never judge a book by it’s title or cover – it’s what is inside that matters, anyway. So if the title does offend or bother you, pretty please let me know and I will get it asterisked so that the post title is blanked out partially.
Okay, okay, okay. So, Royal Bastards just totally changed everything I thought that a YA Fantasy could be – in the best way ever. I had been talking to a few blogger friends about it, and they were just as hyped by the difference between it and some of the others in the same genre, about how it’s just got this kick of reality melted into the Fantasy aspect without distracting from the main focus. It’s been very highly anticipated, in fact it’s probably one of the fastest I’ve ever seen people be interested in an upcoming review for my blog.
Tilla used to be so loved by her father as a child, but nowadays that’s just a memory. Once her father discovered he had trueborn children that weren’t bastards, he cast her aside. She spends her days living away from the royalty that she’s supposed to be dwelling in, and hanging out with her half-brother, Jax, and the other bastards that feel the same way – cast aside and forgotten. Something that struck me straight away was just how funny this novel was? It’s got a real laugh-out-loud aspect that you wouldn’t expect from Fantasy and I loved that about it. It had these true friendships that through words alone, were crystal clear. When I was halfway through the book, I realised that there would be more books in the series (in a trilogy) and that was a true welcome revelation. But soon enough, I’m back into the action, after learning that Lyriana, a visiting princess, that had befriended the other bastards upon her arrival, was now fearing for her life after they had mistakenly discovered a crime. Now that they are all on the run, with prices on their heads from people they thought they could trust, they’re only just learning that there’s a whole lot of mayhem and chaos to come from the kingdom.
Just amazing. These teenagers, who could pack quite a punch themselves, were on the run, banded together through all of their vulnerable moments and own troubled backstories. I loved Tilla’s voice as our narrator so much, because I could really feel her passion and drive throughout the story. The only thing that niggled at me was the amount of characters to keep up with, but this might get easier now that we’ve all been introduced to them. I know some people didn’t like the love triangle of sorts, but I found it a great element to the book. Love triangles are a hit-or-miss in YA and personally, if you can write it perfectly, it can truly pay off and it did here.
Overall, Royal Bastards is definitely one of the best Fantasy reads I’ve read this year. It had lively characters, a bustling adventure of death, chaos and friendship and I seriously cannot wait to read the next in the series. A huge four-star novel with the power to really get Fantasy YA fans involved – I think this series will kick up a storm.
Have you read Royal Bastards?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments or @LittleMemoirs on twitter!