Title: Royal Bastards
Author: Andrew Shvarts
Genre: YA fantasy
Release Date: May 30th, 2016
Source: Requested ARC from publisher, Disney Hyperion Teens
My rating: 4 stars
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 . . .
My rating: 4 stars
I had been seeing this book around many blogs earlier this year on the Waiting on Wednesday posts, and I'd been intrigued by the idea behind it, especially with the tiny hint of Game of Thrones aspect to it. So I emailed the publisher and requested it. I am so glad that I did, because I really enjoyed it! The characters were very interesting and ones that you wanted to know more about. I loved the sibling relationship between Jax and Tilla. I empathized with Miles and his obvious unrequited love for Tilla, but also was intrigued to find out more about Zell, the boy who did catch her attention. The princess, Lyriana, was not the princess that might have shown up in this type of a story, she wasn't the type that would be annoying and make those around her roll their eyes in the frustration of dealing with her. Not that she was in any way prepared for what happened when their little group had to run. She had always been pretty much pampered and taken care of, as she was a true heir, not a bastard like Zell, Tilla, Miles, and Jax in his own way. There were real losses in this story, people you really did grow to love and want to see them go on and escape the mess they had found themselves in. I don't know if this is going to be a series or not for sure. But it ended in a way that makes me want more story. Not all the loose ends were tied up, not all the issues were solved But it did end in a way that I guess will work in case the author doesn't get a sequel. Let's all keep our fingers crossed that it isn't going to end this way though.
One funny thing I want to mention, when they talked about their ancestors, the Titans. Something about the description, as well as their "origin" myth in this world, made me think that maybe there might be more to the story than just a fantasy world. Of course, it could just be my crazy imagination with it, and I don't want to say exactly what I was thinking, because I'm probably just being crazy. If you read it, and get any weird thoughts based on those two things though, come back and tell me! We can discuss it. :-)
I definitely recommend this one. The title may be a bit shocking, and I wonder how well it will go over in my school library, but it is one that I really do want my students to have a chance to read if they get the chance.