Review – Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts

Title Royal Bastards (Royal Bastards #1)

Author Andrew Shvarts

Description from Amazon

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 . . .

Initial Thoughts

I knew this the last book in the series was coming out in June so I decided to get the first two books when I preordered the third. But, I didn’t actually end up reading them until recently. I actually decided to listen to these as audiobooks after I finished The Traitor’s Circle series.

The premise sounded cool enough, but I hadn’t heard much else about these books. I didn’t really have many opinions going into this book.

Some Things I Liked

  • Writing Style and Narration – I really enjoyed Tilla’s narration. I was glad that the story was told from one POV and I liked how a lot of the descriptions were entirely from her thoughts. She didn’t have a filter and I thought that was refreshing. It felt like I was actually in her head while everything was going on.
  • World Building – I also loved the world building in this story. The politics and intricate relationships created in this story kept me totally hooked. I can’t wait to read the next two books in the series.

Things I Want to See in the Next Book

  • More background on Zell and the Zitochi – I feel like we got a ton of background on Lightspire, magic, the West, etc. But, we didn’t really get much on the Zitochi. They seem like a super interesting culture and I want to know more about them.
  • Jax – I desperately want to be wrong about what happened to him. I want him to be in the next book.

One Thing I Wasn’t Crazy About

  • Everyone’s ages – I thought they were a bit young for the context. I think it would have been a little more believable if they had been a bit older.

Final Thoughts

I liked this book a lot. I really enjoyed the audiobook narration and this was a quick listen. I loved Tilla’s reactions and thoughts to everything that happened. The ending was bittersweet but it left me wanting to read the next book immediately.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Recommendations for Further Reading

  • City of Bastards (Royal Bastards #2) by Andrew Shvarts – if you liked this book, definitely continue with the series.
  • Warrior of the Wild by Tricia Levenseller – if you liked the idea of a group of friends traveling and trying to stay alive, give this book a try.
  • Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa – again, if you liked the plot of friends traveling together to stop their country from falling apart, check out this series. Book two, Soul of the Sword is already out (and was also amazing) and the last book is coming out in March 2020.

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