Friday, August 11, 2017

Book Review and Giveaway: Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts

Pages: 352
Genre: YA Fantasy
Pub. Date: May 30, 2017
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "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." 

Tilla's father is Lord Kent, but she is considered a bastard and not one of his "true born" royal children.  Her half sibling, Jax, is also a bastard, so they spend their days hanging out together, exploring the castle and the tunnels.  Tilla says this doesn't bother her, but she secretly wishes she was growing up as a legitimate child living in the lap of luxury.  One day princess Lyriana is visiting the castle and decides to sit at the bastard's table during the feast instead of with the legitimate royals. This sets everyone off and sets many things into motion.  In fact, that evening Tilla and friends, along with the princess, witness a crime that sends them fleeing for their lives.  Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts is an adventurous debut that fans of fantasy will appreciate the most.

Tilla is an interesting character in Royal Bastards.  As the story continues, her character is developed a bit more, which I liked as I wasn't really connecting with her during the first half of the story.  I did appreciate her struggle of being a bastards vs. her true feelings of wanting to be recognized and treated fairly. She enjoys some privileges of being a "royal," but isn't exactly legitimate, so she is living in that in between state.

What stood out to me when reading Royal Bastards was the adventure. It's really action-packed and I think reluctant YA readers may enjoy this aspect of the novel. The world-buiding was pretty good and the pace, especially during the second half of the novel, was also quite quick.  It definitely held my attention!

I did have a few issues with dialogue as well as some of the fantasy elements that Shvarts included in the text.  It seemed like just about every aspect of fantasy was included, which made it feel a bit too much at times.

Overall, Royal Bastards was just a middle-of-the-road fantasy for me. It didn't stand out as I was hoping; nonetheless, if an adventure story is your thing, definitely give this first installment in a new series a try.

Thanks to Disney-Hyperion, I have an ARC of Royal Bastards to give away to one lucky US reader. The deadline is August 21st and please refer to my giveaway rules.  Good luck!

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  1. I've been so curious about this one every since I saw it on Goodreads months ago. I ended up buying it recently because I NEEDED to have it. lol! I haven't gotten a chance to read it yet but I'm still excited about it, even tho I've read pretty mixed reviews so far. I'm ready for something with lots of action and adventure. Glad you still seemed to enjoy this one, even tho you had a few issues with it. Great review!

    1. Well, if action and adventure is your thing, you will definitely appreciate this book. I look forward to your thoughts. Thanks for visiting, Julie!


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