Review: Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts

Monday, June 19, 2017

Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: May 30th, 2017
Rating: 4 Stars
Source: Netgalley
Format: eARC
Pages: 352

Summary (from Goodreads):

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 . . 

**I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.**

What I liked:

One of my favorite things about this book is the characters and the friendship that they develop over the course of the story. Tilla, Jax, Miles, Zell, and Lyriana are all thrown together simply because of the fact that they all sat at the bastard's table at a feast held in Tilla's home, Castle Waverly. Tilla and Jax are half siblings, sharing a mother. Miles is the bastard of House Hampstedt, who are close friends with House Kent, which Tilla is the bastard of. Zell is a fierce Zitochi warrior, disowned by his brutal father. And Lyriana is the visiting Princess of the Kingdom, who just wanted to sit at the bastard's table to learn more of them.

For the most part, they don't really belong together, but after being framed for a murder they didn't commit and racing to warn the King of the impending second Great War, they become close. They look out for each other and save each other's skin a time or two. I don't really think it's the best developed friendship ever, but I still enjoyed it.

Another thing that I liked about this book was the fact that it was pretty much nonstop action. I think that this was a really good book to get me out of my slump because there was really never a dull moment from the moment they watch the Archmagus be killed.

I appreciated the reason behind the impending second Great War. I have been sitting here forever trying to explain why I feel that way, but I can't do it, but just know that I liked it.

What I didn't like:

While I did like the characters and the relationships, I didn't really feel like any of them were really well developed. I don't really feel like I know any of the characters. I don't really know anything about them except that they're bastards and the reasons around why they're bastards still or at all. I don't know what they like or really who they are beyond being bastards.

I liked the relationship pairings that we ended up with in the books, but like, they didn't completely come out of left field, but I didn't see in the books really WHY these characters ended up liking each other. How they grew on each other. They just kind of felt forced together.

Something else that I don't know how I really feel about is the way the character's talked. It was so modern for the setting, which felt kind of off for me.

Another thing that felt off to me was being inside Tilla's head. I liked her as a character. And I liked following her and getting her perspective. But her thought processes just didn't feel like they were from a girl to me. I thought it was weird how she was so concerned with kissing and making out all the time. It felt so weird to me.

Overall, I quite enjoyed this book. It was a quick, engaging read. I think it may have pulled me out of my reading slump! It was fast-paced, had an interesting group of friends, and this book even managed to make me cry twice. Which, if a book can make me cry, it automatically makes me like it more.

If you like books with scheming, magic, and life and death stakes, you will probably like this book.

Have you read Royal Bastards yet? What did you think of it?


  1. Hmmm I've heard this book is kind of funny and lots of action and fun. I'm sad to hear that the characters aren't developed too well and that the romances aren't too shippy. I might still give this one a try. Great post!

    Rachel @ A Perfection Called Books

    1. It definitely does have lots of action! I think there could have been more character and relationship development, but beyond that, it was a good book. If it's a book you were looking forward to, I would definitely still read it.


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