Title – ‘Royal Bastards’
Author – Andrew Shvarts
Publishing – May 30th 2017 by Disney-Hyperion
Pages – 352
Format – Hardback
Book Summary –
‘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 . . ’
NOTE; I was given this copy in exchange for an honest review via ‘Turnaround Publisher Services’
*Warning – Contains MINOR spoilers*
I must admit when I went into this book I was expecting decent things. To be frank I didn’t know much beforehand other than what I’d been sent by the publisher service that sent me the book in the first place. They’d described it as ‘Game of Thrones for teens’… and whilst I see some very small similarities between the two I wouldn’t say Royal Bastard follows that line all that much. I never got a Game of Thrones vibe from this book in the slightest… and that was a good thing, it meant it still very much held it’s own in the novel world. Although I would agree with the fact that this book was made for the more teenage audience.
The first thing I’d praise about this book is definitely the writing style… it’s extremely easy to follow, it flows so well and is realistic. I’m glad it stuck simply to Tilla’s point of view, no switching around.. only one person to follow… I’ve never been a massive fan of switching POV’s especially when it gets past 2 characters. The world building in this book wasn’t massively extensive, and was one of the main reasons I knocked it down half a star, however you were given enough to get a decent gist of just where you were and what it looked like… it gave some space for the reader to envision for themselves the details so to speak. I also liked the writing progression of this book… it started out rather light hearted, some sadder moments but nothing majorly over whelming… but soon enough it became darker, more heated and more tense. That progression made it extremely interesting to follow and was one of the elements that kept it entertaining.
I must say in terms of the characters I actually found myself really liking the majority of them. Tilla was actually a really nice character to read about, at the start of the book she did come across as slightly more annoying and almost ‘bratty’ at times but she developed so much throughout the rest of the book. She was no where near a perfect character and she knew it… but I think the one thing I loved about her the most was her love for her brother Jax. Their relationship was so nice to read about, despite Tilla wanting that love from her father and wanting to be part of the ‘officials’ she always put Jax before that… because no matter what he’d always put her first as well, he treated her how she deserved to be treated… with love. Tilla was just one of those characters, for me she was anyway, that you wanted to hug and lend a shoulder to cry on and then be cheering her on when she went all badass!
In terms of the other characters there wasn’t any one that didn’t have its stand out moments for me. I grew to love (and hate) them all. Jax was a wonderful big brother who’s boisterous attitude simmered into this wonderful bravery and protection of both TIlla and Lyriana. Zell was that egg like character, the hard shell he’d done so well to protect and preserve soon crumbled to showcase this soft center, one of a warrior who cared and could love and wanted to do the right thing. Miles was that one character you sometimes wanted to clip around the ear, whilst he grew to be more ‘manly’ throughout the book he still was ‘mummy’s little boy’ in the end… and it definitely shone through. And finally out of the main bunch we have the lovely princess Lyriana, such a wonderfully innocent character at the start of the book. But my god did she grow massively, Lyriana was, for me, the character who grew the most. Her whole world had shattered after her uncles passing but she put those pieces of herself back together to become a much stronger person. Lyriana is the character that learns the most throughout the book and that growth shows by the end for sure.
There are a number of other characters who deserve honorable mentions but ultimately the main one of those is Tilla’s father Elric Kent… what a (excuse the unintended pun) bastard! My god did Shvarts do a good job of making me hate this character! I won’t go to much into the reasons why… but yes, this character plays the perfect villain indeed, cunning, sneaky and a downright ‘bastard’! This also strengthens my point that Shvarts did a wonderful job on the writing and in particular the characterisation in this novel.
This plot is wonderful, the characters are wonderful and whilst some of the ‘modern day’ wording may throw some readers off slightly it didn’t have that effect on me. It was just so easy to read, it never stopped… it was never confusing… you never lost track of what was happening or who was doing what. The main group didn’t just merge together straight away, they worked for their friendship and worked even harder to make it stronger. Ultimately they all needed each other and bounced off each other with their distinct skills, personalities and desires. The ‘good guys’ were easy to love and the ‘bad guys’ were east to hate. There was enough going on that you weren’t quite sure, although you probably could make a decent guess, just what was going to happen.
To sum up… I really did enjoy this book. It was essentially right up my alley and if I was to describe the kind of books I mostly enjoy reading then I’d happily use this one as an example. It had adventure, it had fantasy and magic thrown in there, there was romance and friendship and enough action to just suck you through the book. It really was wonderful… if anything it could have done with being ever so slightly longer, just to really push the world building and the detail… because frankly this book wasn’t too far off perfect for me. Something about the characters in particular just warmed my heart, they were the ones who truly kept me picking up this book and I would highly suggest you read it for yourselves just so you can experience the wonderful characterisation throughout!
Would I suggest this book to other bookworms?
If you like ya novels with a bit of adventure, romance, friendship and a little bit of magic then definitely!
Am I completely in love with this book?
So very very close to being… especially with the characters!
Will I be reading the next book in the series?
You can sure bet I will!
[I rate this book 4.5/5 stars]