“Royal Bastards” by Andrew Shvarts
Disney-Hyperion, 352 pages, $18.99, May 30, 2017, Goodreads
Tilla is a bastard of House Kent, but when the visiting Princess of Lightspire decides to sit at the bastards’ table instead of with the other royals it stirs the pot. Princess Lyriana then decides to go on a midnight outing with Tilla and the other bastards, but when they all witness the murder of Lyriana’s uncle, the Royal Archmagus, it soon becomes clear that not only Lyriana, but the bastards are next. Now they’re fleeing while rebellion is brewing and it’s all up to the Princess and her new bastard friends to stop what seems to be an inevitable war.
I found Tilla and her friends to be real and relateable even though they live in a world that is strictly fantasy. Each of them act in appropriate ways when it comes to the trials and tribulations that they experience, which made them likeable to be. I could believe that they could exist. Also, the character growth that Shvarts displays within the different characters is organic and seemed to take a logical next step.
The pacing of the plot was also very well done. Shvarts was able to keep the action coming and keep me on my toes while also have some small quiet moments in between. The rising action and climax at the end were great and I was hooked by that point without realizing it. It kind of crept up on me and I love it when a book surprises me like that.
One of the reasons I really wanted to review this book was because of the cultural aspect surrounding the bastardry. Because this is a fantasy book I felt like Shvarts really had an advantage with world building as to how he could handle the different roles. He did pull some elements from medieval history, but others were purely his own, and I didn’t find it wholly unrealistic. I loved the setting. The world that Shvarts created was perfect for the action and adventure, and help to give the plot a good foothold.
I really recommend this book for any fantasy lovers out there. I can’t wait to read the next book within this series. I know it will be as exciting and adventurous as the first installment.
Andrew Shvarts can be found on Twitter and Instagram at @Shvartacus and on Goodreads.