Title: Royal Bastards
Author: Andrew Shvarts
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Pub Date: May 30, 2017
My Copy: Courtesy of Disney and NetGalley for review
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…
A really fantastic story that definitely was a very wild ride. I definitely found myself loving Tilla and all of her friends as well. Tillandra is definitely a character who goes through a lot of changes as things change in her life and not by her choice. She has to rely on herself and her friends to get through this terrible situation they are in.
One of the things that I like is that we get to see these characters at the start of the book enjoying their lives. We also get to learn why Tilla is a bastard. This history lesson that we learn at the beginning of this book is important as it helps us understand the mentality that these characters have, because they have royal blood, but are out of wedlock, they are royal bastards. Now everything for these bastards is complicated.
You have a lot of other families visiting her father’s castle for something that is going on. Her father tells her that she needs to come to the banquet and that he loves her. Lord Kent, Tilla’s father married his wife because he needed the alliance to protect their borders. So he tells her that things will change after this dinner. Her half brother doesn’t like the formal banquet’s much either as he prefers to stay in the stables. So of course when they see who’s at the banquet things get mighty interesting.
The banquet has some interesting developments as they meet some more interesting people and meet the Princess Lyriana and her uncle. The princess decides to stay at the Bastards table, not knowing it is that table. When she does, it causes a stir, because some people don’t like the bastards. They find it to be a disrespectful thing in Kent and the princess didn’t know that. The princess’s uncle is an arch-mage, which means he has magical powers and abilities.
One night, the bastards along with Lyriana decided to have a little mischief and instead find themselves in a dire situation. This is a situation that changes everything for all of them. Tillandra’s father decides to kill Lyrianna’s uncle and a bunch of other mages so that the west can be free and rule everything for their freedom. He feels like the west and other small provinces have been under the arch mages rule for too long. Of course their little outgoing gets seen by someone and they are forced all to flee.
They are fleeing and trying to escape. We also find out that after the princess Lyriana uncle is killed, that she manages to find her magical abilities which do come in handy. Of course they try to find different people to help them through out the book and return Lyriana to her people, but instead realize that trying to stop a war might be pointless. They have a lot of things that come up. Tillandra didn't know that she had been promised to Miles and this causes all kinds of things to happen to that relationship.
This book takes on so many twists and turns. I felt like there was always a surprise and something you never expected. We also learn a lot more about Zell. He is far more complex, Tillandra thinks than she ever thought. His backstory was something else. Plus everyone realizes that they have to choose a side. So when Miles betrays them it’s a very bad situation.
Miles jealousy is something that no one can see. He wants Tilla and to be a lord himself. Tillandra thinks things through. She doesn’t want Miles in the same way he wants her. She wants Zell and he feels attracted to her as well. Things happen that make things so much worse between all of them. The attraction and then a kiss make Miles so angry as he sees them together and reads too much. Also the fact that these four people learn a lot about each other. Also Lyrianna comes to be much more than what she seems. I like that she has magic and finds how to use it.
I really love how these four individuals change and find that they all have to make decisions, good and bad. Plus the conversations are very well done. I enjoyed the way this book unfolded. I love how there really wasn’t a happy ending but a rather open ended one as some actions can’t ever really ever be undone. You make your choices and live with them. The way this was left opened, I’m hungering for a sequel… A very good book.