Author: Andrew Shvarts
Pub. Date: May 30th, 2017
Pub. Date: May 30th, 2017
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Rate: 4.5/5 stars
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 feel like a lot of fantasy books recently have been exactly the same. Basically if you've read one, you've read them all. Royal Bastards breaks that mold. I was so excited to FINALLY read a refreshing fantasy novel. Royal Bastards is jam-packed with an eclectic cast of characters that really make the book stand out. No one character is alike, but they are all (well... mostly) lovable. Basically Tilla, her half-brother (Jax), annoying childhood friend (Miles), sexy warrior (Zell), and princess to a nearby Kingdom (Lyriana) witness something that happened that puts a huge mark on their head because nobody involved wanted any witnesses. So they go on the run to get back to Lyriana's Kingdom where they will be safe. On their way they encounter murders, monsters, and other disasters.
I loved the characters. Tilla and Jax were immediately my favorite characters. They were relatable, funny, and crass, however it was clear that they cared about each other and their friends. Lyriana was your token princess, which I loved. She is everything you'd think a princess would be - she's quiet, gentle, and kind. I loved this because sometimes you read fantasy novels and the princess is just so unbelievably unruly or unprincess like that it makes the whole novel almost inconceivable. Then there's Zell. He comes from the North, whose people have violent beliefs and morals. He's very rough around the edges, but oh so swoony (trust me on this one). I shipped him and Tilla from the very beginning, they are SO funny together. And finally, Miles. I HATED Miles. It's not that I didn't like how he was written, because I think he adds a lot to the story and that was the intention. But I just disliked him from the very start and he just annoyed me more and more as the book went on. While there were times he was useful, he was mostly clingy, helpless, and annoying. He was so cringe-worthy that I literally rolled my eyes whenever he did something. I think
I disliked him so much because whenever he did ANYTHING he would always want someone to validate him on a job well done. You're ALL in this mess together Miles, get over yourself. All of the characters are definitely memorable. Their journey puts them through a lot of troubles and stress, and seeing them go from strangers to basically family makes the book just so much better.
With the hilarity of a contemporary novel and all the action of a fantasy, Royal Bastards is a hilarious, fast-paced fantasy novel that will have you laughing, swooning, and on the edge of your seat. I would give you recommendations based on books you've read, but this book is so unique and unlike any other fantasy book that I don't think it's fair to do so. You just have to read it yourself! Was Royal Bastards on your book-radar before? I hope it is now!