Review – City of Bastards by Andrew Shvarts

**Disclaimer: The below post has spoilers for the first book in the series, Royal Bastards.**

Title City of Bastards (Royal Bastards #2)

Author Andrew Shvarts

Description from Amazon

While war rages in her Western homeland, Tilla, the bastard daughter of House Kent is far away, safely cloistered as a ward of the King in Lightspire. She’s best friends with the Princess, treated like nobility, and is even given a spot at the prestigious University, where only the Kingdom’s finest are educated. And yet, she finds herself unhappy, haunted by memories of her beloved brother, Jax, and plagued by a deeper sense of uncertainty, of not fitting in. Her boyfriend, Zell, who is now a recruit for the City Watch, puts on a brave face to hide the pain of leaving behind his Zitochi identity, while Princess Lyriana, stripped of her role as Mage, has begun rebelling against her conservative upbringing: drinking, partying, and hooking up with random boys. Then, Tilla returns to her quarters one night to find the cold body of her roommate. The school and the police are quick to rule it a suicide and sweep it under the rug, but Tilla doesn’t buy it. And despite the urging of just about everyone in her life, she can’t let it go. Tilla’s hunt for the killer plunges her deep into the city’s underbelly, a world of shadowy cults, forbidden magic, and a conspiracy to destroy the crown from within.

Initial Thoughts

I flew through Royal Bastards and immediately started listening to the audiobook of City of Bastards. I love the narrator for this series. She’s perfect and does such a good job.

Some Things I Liked

  • Narration – I loved the audiobook of this one. To be honest, I don’t think I would have liked this series as much if I had read it instead of listening. The narrator here really brings the story to life.
  • More history and background – I liked that we really got to understand the magic and history of Lightspire in this story.

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. Please note, I said this in my review of Royal Bastards but, it still holds true. I want more Zitochi history.

One Thing I Wasn’t Crazy About

  • The pettiness – the college backdrop kinda made this story seem a little trite. Where were the revolutionary adventurers from the first book? They were absent in this story and replaced by whiny teenagers for most of the story. I missed the strength and growth that we saw in everyone in the first book.

Final Thoughts

This book was good. Was it as good as Royal Bastards? No. Not even close. Was it entertaining? Yes. Would I continue with this series? Absolutely. I think this series has a lot to offer and tons of unanswered questions. I think this book did a poor job with character growth but we did get to see a lot of background and plot development which I hope will be featured in the next book.


Recommendations for Further Reading

  • War of Bastards (Royal Bastards #3) 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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