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Royal Bastards #1

Royal Bastards

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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 . . .

352 pages, Hardcover

First published May 30, 2017

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Andrew Shvarts

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5 stars
1,180 (26%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 882 reviews
Profile Image for Chelsea Humphrey.
1,480 reviews79k followers
May 18, 2017
This book was an adventure and I can't remember the last time I've had this much fun coming along for the ride. The style of writing was interesting; i started out wondering if this was actually a Middle Grade book, and as the story progressed pulled a huge "NOPE- definitely YA". The only comparison I can think of is how the Harry Potter books progressed; they start out very light and youthful in feel but gradually grow darker and heavier? That was totally this book. The author did an excellent job of connecting me to the characters and keeping my attention with equal parts action and background/fantasy world development. My only complaint was I wish the book had been slightly longer! I felt with an extra 50-75 pages it would have given the same quality of character development as some of the other hugely hyped YA fantasy books popular today. Overall, this was a classic Disney story and was 100% entertaining with somewhat mythical creatures and loads of magic. Definitely put this on your radar.

*Many thanks to the publisher for providing my copy via NetGalley.
Profile Image for emi.
453 reviews1,086 followers
October 31, 2017
Update: It has come to my attention that I accidentally made the same joke as another user in this review. Especially when this user is one that I admire and who's reviews I look forward to. I know they probably don't trust me anymore, but please know that it was never my intent to copy them and it was purely coincidental. While I did like their review before hand that contained that joke, it was before they posted the entire thing and I didn't even see it until after I wrote my review. Nonetheless, I have deleted that joke from this review and I just want them to know that I am incredibly, incredibly sorry.

HELL NO/5 stars

Nothing is a bigger joke than that of this book.

Warning: there are unmark spoilers in this review because I just need to express my disintent openly

This book could have been really good? A gang of teens stumble onto a scheme thrown by their parents and have to flee for their lives? Like doesn't that sound amazing. Except it's like those scenes in the Wile E. Coyote and Roadrunner cartoons when there's a beautiful sunset and they are running into it but turns out it's just a really great painting and they slam into a wall.

It's almost like someone noticed a trend of gang-of-misfits in YA fantasy and wanted to jump on that band wagon to get fame and success and money. However, he had no idea how to read so he decided to BS his entire way through the book and pooped this out. This is the most stereotypical fantasy I have ever read in my life and I think I rather throw myself into a volcano before having to read it again.

Urgh and the writing. THE WRITING. Not only is it middle grade style writing mixed in with swear words and sex talk (which doesn't work at all). You could take any of these characters and keep their dialogue and put them in a contemporary and you'd believe it. THESE CHILDREN ARE LIVING IN A FANTASY WORLD AND THEY SPEAK LIKE THEY ARE LIVING IN 2017.

Also, is this suppose to be a fantasy book? With magic? The only magical thing this book seemed to do was make ten days of my life magically disappear. The magic system in this book? If there even was one? The only way to have magic is if you wear these rings. Except when you don't wear the rings you can still have magic. And only people born in this city can have magic. Except if you aren't born in this city, you can still have magic.


I have so many complaints about this book, it's just gonna be easier for all of us if I list them off.

• Girl lives a great life in castle and still complains
• Teenagers do stupid shit and it causes trouble. shocking.
• The kids ARE SO STUPID
• They should have been caught and killed the first night
• But they weren't, of course, as then we wouldn't have gotten even stupider things
• Rule #1 when you are trying to hide: DON'T LOOK LIKE YOURSELF
• Also "let's go see our friends who are loyal to our country. wait what do you mean they are trying to kill us? i totally didn't see that coming"
• And for people who are on the run, they do a whole lot of not running
• more like sitting around and doing nothing
• well Tilla learned how to fight
• and she got really good at fighting in the span of a month
• sorry I don't think Zell is that great of a teacher
•there was also thsi part when tilla randomly caught a rock in midair and she was all like "look at how badass I am"
• like sit down girl you are the opposite of badass for catching a rock
• more stupid stuff happens
• like "why is this mine shaft abandoned? let's go inside"
• They also start talking about scientific stuff like kinetic energy THIS IS A FANTASY WORLD YOU DON'T KNWO WHAT KINETIC ENERGY IS
• And shocker, they get in trouble down in that mine shaft
• The princess almost dies
• So the best thing they can do is get a medicine that has ~~~super rare~~~ ingredients
• so of course they can just go to the nearest town and by the medicine
• and miles decides to come up with an elaborate back story to explain why they need this medicine
• and I'm jsut like "miles no ONE CARES"
• And guess what
• the shop clerk doesn't care
• just like i tried to tell him
• but he didn't listen to me
• Liek wtf can I just go to the bookstore and start quoting Frost or Eliot and get books for free
• since this is a currency now
• what :) a :) coincidence :)
• but don't worry. they escape without really putting up a fight :)
• because everything is so damn convientent for these bastards
• but then they know that the bad people are still on their tail so they START TALKING ABOUT HOW THEY NEED TO TRAVEL FASTER
• liek I'm sorry. If I was on the run for my lief I'D BE TRAVELING AS DAMN FAST AS I CAN
• but these idiots were talking their goddamn sweet time apparently
• flash forward some
• they end up at this person's house who's relevant somehow????
• and their safe
• suprise! they aren't safe
• awkward sex scene in a pool
• makes me wanna be celibate my entire life :)
• a little background info: miles is in love with tilla for absolutely no reason
• so instead of moving on with his life like a normal person should
• he decided to throw himself off a cliff
• but then he decides not to throw himself off a cliff
• and the end is just like Tilla throwing a bomb and things explode and people die
• Apparently over a thousand people but I seriously doubt that
• and like her dad is there and he hates her but instead of killing her when there's a chance HE JUST WALKS AWAY WITH MILES PROMISING REVENGE
• and then she wakes up two days later
• and it's the last chapter
• and Zell is just like "let's go for a walk"
• so she goes on a walk
• no fooood or water or bathroom break or anything
• if i was out for two days I think I'd forget how to even stand tbh let alone WALK
• and the princess gets kicked out of this cult she's in AND SHE'S LIKE "LOOK I'M A BASTARD TOO"
• stfu princess you aren't special
• then they walk some more
• there's more stuff that annoys me but I think this list is long enough


Now you probably just read all that and are wondering who the eff all those characters are, so let's talk about them. Shall we?

The Six of Crow Wannabees Characters

Tilla. I imagine if someone made a machiene that could personify any object and they threw in a piece of white bread, we'd get Tilla. She thinks she's so ~special~ but all she is is boring and unrelatable.


Lyriana.I'm actually just guessing on how to spell her name because I don't wanna take the book out of the garbage can, where it belongs to spellcheck. And also that's just how much I care about her. I'm just glad she was there so her magical powers could help everyone out and the most conivent of times. :):):):):)

Zell. Someone please tell the author that 2007 called and wants their male love interest back. He's so broody. And mysterious. And so talented at everything. I just can't. Also his ***tragic*** backstory is that he couldn't keep his dick in his pants, or respect his brother, but then did respect his brother, and then his daddy disowned him. Wow. That suddenly makes me feel so sorry for him. I now totally understand his jerkiness. Wow.


Miles. For three years of my life, from ages 15 to 18, I had worked in a daycare environment. I was even a four-year-old daycare teacher. I've seen toddlers cry hysterically because they weren't allowed to drive a firetruck. And yet, I have never seen a bigger tantrum thrown than by Miles. Like I'm sorry the girl you've been pining for your entire life doesn't reciprocate your feelings. But that's not a good enough REASON TO START AN ENTIRE WAR.

Jax. Hahah I almost forgot he was a character. He had the humor of a 12-year-old. I don't remember anything else he did except .


So let's be real here.

I am so effing glad I am done with this book adn I never have to see it again.

I tried to love it, I really did, but it didn't want me to love it. If you love it, I'm happy for you. I wish I was with you on that.

I don't throw one stars out this easily, trust me, but urgh this book can have all the one star ratings it wants.

Whatever. Later guys. Emi out.

Profile Image for booksnpenguins (wingspan matters).
795 reviews2,848 followers
March 31, 2020
Here’s the thing.
If I have to read another book with a stellar premise, that instead turns out to be your typical and average story, I’ll quit the reading scene faster than you can say “cliché”.

No, okay, that was a bit exaggerated, but I'm sure you see my point and I hope you’re ready for the umpteenth rant-view, because that's what you're getting for this hook.

What makes Royal Bastards a 2-star book?
I guess it’s only fair of me to start by the obviously hated parts.
First of all, that blurb up there is quite misleading.
If you dive into this book expecting it to be the new Six of Crows, brace yourself for disappointment and get ready to ask for your money back.
The Royal Bastards are nothing like the Dregs. They're not cool, they're not linked to one another by the purest of frienships. They’re just a bunch of puppies with no skill and no will, who were tossed into a plot bigger than their brains for the sake of calling this a revolutionary book.
The novel itself is pretty awesome-baiting. It actually starts with a bang, it assures you the presence of an amazing female lead character and it lures you in with the promise of unbelievable adventures.
Hint: it lies.
Royal Bastards is basically the One Direction Mania of books: highly anticipated, overly-hyped and built around a band of mediocre teenagers.
I remember reading the first two pages and thinking “Yes! I see this going somewhere and I like it!”
Tilla and Jax are presented in a way that makes you like them right from the start. You can’t help but sympathize with the poor bastard daughter of cold-hearted Lord Kent, and her sassy red-head step brother.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t last long. As soon as the third member of this unfortunate group shows up, the story abruptly takes a U-turn in the wrong direction and becomes the bore that will be the entire book.
For pages and pages, nothing really happens. I get that it’s kind of a preparatory thing, where all the characters get to meet and know each other before the real shit starts to happen, but The Yawn Fest is strong in this one.
You can’t even say that it’s fast-paced. The story proceeds fast because there are so many holes in the plot that you can’t help but feel that something is irremediably missing.
I still need to understand why many things happened, to be honest. To me, a huge number of facts and actions still remain unmotivated and totally resolvable with a serious talk.
Go figure…

Now that that’s out of the way, let me walk you to WTF Point #2: the writing.
Holy Syntaxis, Batman.
I couldn’t believe my eyes. Still can't, to be honest.
It was so anticlimatic and out of place, that it made me want to throw the book out the window. Unfortunately, I read this as an ebook and that would have meant scoring a home run with my Kindle and we -me and my empty wallet- don’t want that.
You seriously can’t write a book that’s supposed to take place in a medieval-like setting, and have your characters say things like “Holy shit!” – “You should get laid” - and (my personal favorite) “Man, we’re screwed!”.
I honestly expected the characters to produce a Starbucks cup and a selfie stick from their leather bags, and immortalize the moment, all while posing with duckfaces or peace sign fingers.
It all felt a tad bit too unrealistic, even for a fantasy book.
I mean…the authenticy, people. The authenticy.
The first-person narration is not my preference, but I could have worked past it if it helped developing the plot. It didn’t, so, yeah, look at me complaining a bit about that, too.
Also, can we talk about hygiene for a moment, here? If you want to make it at least a bit less unbelievable and/or slightly more bearable, you can’t let 5 teenagers go around the woods for two weeks, without them taking a single bath. All the raging hormones, all that running and sweating. Christ, imagine the smell…

Then we have the characters and here’s where the real fun begins.
*rubs hands*
First of all we have Tillandra, Tilla for friends. She’s the main character and narrating voice of the whole novel, who’s only purpose is to pretend to be a good girl when she’s actually nothing but a raging little thing, who needs to set her priorities straight, and who’s got a serious case of Outcast Heroine™ going on.
It maddens me to the point of no return, because at first glance, I thought she’d be the kind of heroine I have a soft spot for: badass but girly, tough but also sweet.
Jax, her brother, is neither meat nor fish, and his humor feels forced more than genuine (but I guess that depends on the author’s lack of skill), but he’s probably the only one I didn’t felt like murdering every two seconds.
Miles has some potential hidden somewhere in between his know-it-all attitude and gentleness, but, yeah, he was clearly there only to (unreasonably) piss off Tilla (seriously, girl, have some Xanax for your nerves), and to serve as The Rival.
Zell is a washed-up, immature and indefinite copy of every single broody male hero you’ll find in whatever random YA novel you’ll have the chance to read. I don’t understand him. One moment he’s sensitive, the other he’s all closed-up and ready to shove his sword up someone’s nose. Listen, I adore cocky characters, but there’s a thin line between cocky and plain rude, and Zell makes sure to step all over the line and make it his own bish. Talk about borderline broodiness. This guy has some serious daddy issues to work through.
The only one I truly liked was Lyriana (yay for adorkable vegetarian, feminist and pro-peace POCs), but she was treated like a secondary character when she’s actually the coolest one and the one who’s honestly got more to give. I wish the author gave her more space instead of throwing her in a corner half asleep or injured, most of the time.
The main romance is *drumroll* a love triangle.
A pathetic excuse of a love triangle, actually.
Let me find my surprised face.
We have Miles, who’s obsessed with Tilla.
We have Tilla, who’s obsessed with getting into Zell’s pants.
And then we have Zell, who is obsessed with being…Zell.
I think that should become an adjective:
"Is everything okay?”
“Yeah, I’m just feeling a bit Zell, today.”

Jokes aside…This thing between Zell and Tilla. I don’t feel it. At all.
I mean, Tilla's attraction for the impossibly good-looking Zitochi bastard was obvious right from when she landed her eyes on him the very first time, and even my dog could see how whipped she was, but Zell didn't really bother with her for a good half of the book and seemed mostly interested in improving his sulk, so this whole lovey dovey thing felt a bit improvised on his part.

Now. Why didn’t I give this book the lowest ratings, since I seem to have disliked it so much?
The truth is that, there were a few things I didn’t mind within the rubbish.
First and foremost the action scenes. I’m always in for some well-crafted, fast-paced action scenes, and Royal Bastards, at least in that department, doesn’t disappoint.
Then we have the bad guys, who aren’t exactly bad guys in the traditional sense of the word, but that are equally as deadly and stabby. I like that.
And last but not least, that flipping skarrling scene. That was pant-shitting and totally awesome. This book deserves a star only because of that scene alone!

In short, I don’t exactly regret reading it, because things like
“Damn.” Jax shook his head. “Not that I had much love for those guys, but it’s a hell of a way to go. Makes you almost feel bad for them.”
“I don’t,” Zell said.
“Yeah, well, you basically don’t have emotions between ‘gotta kill’ and ‘yay, I killed,’ so that’s not really a surprise.”

got me at least to snicker a little, but I would have liked a warning, before I started.
I wouldn’t have jumped into this expecting big things.
I think I’ll ironically read the second book, because Royal Bastards is one of those books I sure as hell love to hate.
Until then, I can’t say it was a pleasure.

Ps. I'll never let the hype decide for me what books I should and should not read ever again!

Professional Reader
10 Book Reviews
Reviews Published
Profile Image for emily.
254 reviews2,188 followers
July 25, 2017
i have 84 regrets and this book is at least 23 of them

actual rating: 1.5 Stars (not quite level the love interest but it was dangerously close)

it's been two days since i finished this so i already suppressed most of the awfulness that was this book, but i'm gonna try and put my thoughts into coherent sentences for you and convey my :) feelings :) in a :) civilised :) way so i can move on and pretend me reading this book is something that only happened in an unpleasant feverish dream

• buddy read with my fridges: sharky, jiu, chai latte, street rat, cutemaram, emma

i want you to know that it's my favorite trope of all time when a band of misfits somehow get together and have a mission (*side-eyes Six of Crows*), but a great premise isn't enough when the execution sucks.

the book started out pretty well actually, i remember thinking that this could be an easy, fun, unique read, except that in hindsight everything was clichéd to death and there was nothing original about the plot......at all. this is NOT the quality content i signed up for (and i want my money back)

then the 70% mark happened, and everything pretty much went to shit. the plot twist is by far the worst twist i've ever seen (at this point i'M like PLEASE SOMEONE STAB ME end this suffering) and the last few chapters were pure torture to get through, because what even the fuck

full offense but this was literally so fucking predictable and poorly executed, i don't even know how to put my Disgust into words anymore


• Tilla
i mean......... she's................... ordinary??? just your normal ya protagonist ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

• Miles
my feelings towards miles are the embodiment of gordon ramsay screaming @ adults


i'm just saying if he was thrown into a pit of burning lava i would not bat an eye

• Zell
i did care about him for .3 seconds but he eventually started to bore me too :)

• Jax

• Princess what's-her-face?
i'm too lazy to even go look uP HER NAME and i feel like that alone describes my feelings towards her perfectly

The Romance:

it was legit my most hated thing ever, you know that thing that writers do when a person falls in love with another person and they're like oh!! what is that spark??? that feeling???? is that...... lOVE???? oh NO!!1!

shut the fuck up, leave me alone, i don't care about your bullshit cliché ya romance, yuck.

• there was too much drama (and NOT THE ENTERTAINING SORT)
• was this written for 12-year-olds??? i'm confused
• i'd rather study mathematics than read this again
• this book was try-harding ad nauseam
• game of thrones steals royal bastards' lunch money, probably
• hashtag bLACKLIST ROYAL BASTARDS i never want to see this book ever again i'm blocking everyone that decides to read this

i rest my case.

757 reviews2,349 followers
October 5, 2017
Honestly??? Believe them when they say this starts off really good but then is absolute shit. I mean it wasn't absolute shit (I may have exaggerated) but honestly the romance and insta love ruined it.

So like, this book was basically going to class to find a substitute teacher who gives you a pop quiz you didn't study for and you fuck up on it big time. Everything goes so so well until that one thing that ruins pretty much the entire everything. In this case, it’s the shitty romance or insta loveee. Really though it wasn’t a bad book. The majority of it was really entertaining and hilarious, but that last 20ish% was cringeworthy.

This book is pretty much what the blurb says and the blurb says a lot. Like @whoever wrote the synopsis, are you trying to write an essay about this book or something??? But anyways, there’s these outcasted kids called bastards who are treated like they have the plague, but their lives are suddenly changed when a princess of some land decides to sit with them and go on some adventurous night, where they see a murder happen against royalty and they’re pretty much caught up in a war which only they can prevent.

I actually liked Tilla’s character. She’s a strong, independent gal who’s all up for girl power !!! Yes!! I pretty much liked all the character’s except for Zell. Now pREPARE YOURSELF FOR THE WRATH OF A HARDCORE ZUKO FANGIRL OK? (Spoilers ahead though???)

This guy is a fucking wannabe Zuko. I’m like, screaming.

●He’s a ruthless killer and him and his clan is feared by everyone.
●Has an abusive, psycho piece of shit sibling who needs help and is favored more by the parents and is seen perfect by everyone
●Challenged to a duel and showed mercy
●Joins the enemy (but they're actually the good guys)
●Becomes good and amazing and awww fuck off.

AKSSKDFHJDKFRSDFD fuck off Zell, you piece of shit.

And I didn't like him lmao soz.

The romance is just a pile of fucking cringe. Zell and Tilla need to spend some more time together before blurting out “I LOVE YOU” and fucking in the pool while their lives are in danger. Same for Jax and the princess except they don't fuck.

Also, I need to sue the author for writing sequels because WTF WASN’T THIS GOING TO BE A STANDALONE??? Jk, I’m not really suing, just pissed because I don't remember a sequel coming out??? Anyways I'm probably not going to continue this series so idek why I'm stressing it??? Lol.

Also, I'm really not satisfied with that ending. -.-

I thought this was going to be a standalone??? Anyways this sounds super awesome and if it's not super awesome I'm going to dig a grave for myself!!
Profile Image for ♛ may.
806 reviews3,830 followers
July 15, 2017

This book promised me a lot of thing; treachery, betrayal, action, no-disappointment, and a hell of a squad. But guess what happened? :)

Honestly, description

So this train wreck started off alright. We got some siblingship going on. Nice. We got some average writing. Fine. We got some rebellion. Cool.

And then Zell appears and I’m like MY BABY.

So far so good,

Basically it just turned into a hell of a lot of. . .

- telling not showing
- the characters are as flat as my math scores
- the kids have such convenient talents
- revealed in SUCH convenient times
- Ft. the world’s biggest temper tantrum
- Daddy issues
- What !! a !! coincidence !!
- Life hack: poetry saves lives and can be used in place of $$
- Ft. premature declarations of love
- tRaGiC BaCk sToRY
- Life Hack #2: don’t have sex in a public pool, it leads to wars

So to conclude. Lots of potential. Lots of ambition. All we got was a little kid throwing a tantrum and lots of I LOVE YOUS being thrown around.

1 star!!


Buddy read with my gfs, the stranger & alcaloïdes & peppa pig & maraamati & emily & emma
Profile Image for destiny ♡ howling libraries.
1,737 reviews5,278 followers
November 12, 2017
"Yeah, well, you basically don't have emotions between 'gotta kill' and 'yay, I killed,' so that's not really a surprise."

ALL OF MY LOVE, YOU GUYS. I would give this book 10/5 stars if I could, I swear. I honestly went into the book without a clue of what I should expect, and while I was optimistic, my hopes weren't that high. This book literally shattered every single expectation I held. The writing style is easy and fun, without being childish. The characters share a witty banter that never gets old, and helps to lighten the heavier moments whenever necessary. Each character is complex and three-dimensional, with surprises, likes and dislikes, emotions and feelings - nobody in this book felt like a "prop", which is an unfortunately common occurrence with books involving this many front-and-center characters, from my experience.

Tilla? Total feminist badass. She wants to drink with the guys, but she wants to be recognized as her father's heir. She craves his respect, yet is infuriated by his refusal to legitimize her. She wants to wear fun dresses and live it up in a castle, but she asks to be taught how to fight, and craves the aches and pains that come after every training session with Zell. She keeps her mind open to the possibilities and doesn't let herself become jaded, though she's also careful to keep her wits about her. I seriously lived for this MC, as well as her half-brother, Jax. Jax is witty and hilarious, and so precious and sweet, and their sibling bonding moments completely melted me. I love a good family dynamic, and these two have the best sibling relationship I have seen in a book in years.

While Lyriana is a general pain in the ass for a great deal of the book, she's never unbearable, and I appreciate the fact that she redeemed herself by the end. Zell is your fairly predictable stoic murder-y guy with a gooey, soft heart of gold underneath, but that didn't stop me from rooting for him the entire way. Miles alternates between being an annoying little shit and being fairly badass, though he was definitely my least favorite character, especially for the way he acted from the beginning like he was owed something by Tilla. Speaking of which, this book legitimately stormed into the whole dudes-whining-about-friend-zoning debacle and just blew that shit to pieces and I cheered through every minute of it.

Now, as far as the setting goes: if you like Game of Thrones, I would especially recommend this book to you, because I got hardcore ASOIAF vibes from the politics and world-building of this book - on a much smaller, YA-friendly scale, granted. I don't mean that as a bad thing at all; I love a book with a good royalty/nobility/political setup, and this one didn't fail to deliver. I also need to tell you that, despite the fact that this book is definitely one of those "characters running from danger" books from practically start to finish, it never feels repetitive or tiring. Every time it risks becoming stale, there's another twist, action scene, or hilarious conversation to perk things right back up.

I don't think I can say much more without throwing out some spoilers, but I'll end this review on this note: this book is definitely in my top 5 of 2017 list so far, and I am absolutely ecstatic that there are going to be more books in the series. This is, by far, the best ARC that I have had the pleasure of reading and reviewing since I started blogging, and my next book order is going to involve a completed copy, because I could easily see myself rereading this book in the future, and Andrew Shvarts deserves all the royalties for creating such a delightful little world. I can't wait for the next installment.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes adventure, fantasy, a little magic, a little romance, a lot of laughter and friendship, and a damn good time.

Huge thank you to NetGalley and Disney-Hyperion for the ARC! All opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

You can find this review on my blog here!
Profile Image for Beth.
744 reviews575 followers
November 8, 2017
If you want a book with lies, deception, blood, gore... throw in plenty of humour this is the one for you!

Just going to throw this out there, this was my first ever audiobook, and the narrator was AMAZING!

Also thanks Fathima for telling me about it. :)

What an absolute rollercoaster of a ride this book was, I mean seriously. The story starts off really light and you see all of the characters in quite a light hearted situation at the "bastard table". From there the story continues and I won't divulge too much. There were some really dark moments in this but the humour was without doubt 1000000000% amazing! Not only that but you got a sense of the story and the world building, I can't explain how descriptive this was, it was honestly just so gripping.

The story is told in Tillas' point of view and we follow her journey with Jax, Miles , Lyriana and Zell. To say there's so many characters each bring something different to the story. We see Tilla desperate to please her father and is wanting her father acceptance, throughout we see how she grows as a character and how she breaks standards and starts to come into her own more and more, choosing to do what is right. Jax is Tillas' stepbrother, he's brave and knows how much he is loved, Miles reaaaaaaaaally came out of his shell lets just say that. Lets just say how this how lovely is Lyriana? Finally we have Zell I may have a little bit of a soft spot for him, his back story is heart breaking!

What I liked?
- As previously mentioned this book is ridiculously descriptive, as I was listening to this I could visualise everything.
- The humour is ON POINT
- So, there's a sense of realism as to how characters act in certain situations, for example how Tilla feels in relation to being the Bastard and how differently she's treated compared to the others.
- How we got to know all of the characters!
- Night Glass
- Lysandra is the definition of power!
- When Till hit Marcos with a pan and was expecting the WOMP WOMP noise, I was howling!

What didn't I like?
- Too much walking!

This is definitely a book I'd recommend! PLZ BE MORE.
Profile Image for Wren (fablesandwren).
675 reviews1,506 followers
September 17, 2020
I went into this book thinking that with all the hype, I was probably going to be let down. Not a lot of my book friends were reading it, but being attracted to the title/the idea of it, the narrator and the fact that I like the idea of all these bastards of lords and ladies making trouble, I decided to give it a try.

Maybe, just maybe, I would like it.

Maybe, just maybe, I absolutely loved it.

Let me introduce to you, the bastards:
Tilla: our main girl. Has a strong personality, knows what she wants, and is good in a crisis. And she is the bastard of a Lord.
Jax: Tilla’s bastard brother through the same mother. Not really sure about his leniage, but he is pretty content with being a stable hand and hanging out with his sister.
Miles: The only-born-yet-still-bastard to a powerful Lady. He is kind of nerdy and doesn’t realize that he is actually really awkward.
Zell: A true-born turned bastard who is from a completely and utterly different culture and the narrator does a great accent for him and I loved it and can I please keep?
Lyriana: ..waaaaait a minute, Lyriana is the princess of all the lands and is really naive about real life things because, well, she was born in a castle and didn’t really have that many things to want.

So why is she on this list? Because she sees a terrible crime that leads her to be on the run with the low-lives of the south: The Bastards.

Now they are all wanted dead or alive.

Now, I will admit, that some of this is predictable; but, I think some of it is suppose to because there is this twist at the end that kind of makes your eyes pop out of your head and your jaw drop and your vocal cords go “WHAT NO WHAT NO NO NO NO NO”.

The characters are actually lovable and relatable. They each have their own personalities and react differently to things and you can tell that each character is their own. Everything is told from Tilla’s point of view, so it is a little bias, but you can tell a lot of thought went into these characters.

I was pleasantly surprised by this book and I am literally DYING for the next.



*sobs uncontrollably* RTC
September 22, 2020

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This is one of those gems that I found while browsing the Daily Deals on Kindle. At the time that I bought this, a lot of my friends gave this really low ratings, but I wanted to read it anyway because of the title and the premise. A bunch of illegitimate children find themselves at the center of a dark plot to overthrow the kingdom and end up going on an adventure to save the world-- and each other.

As others have said, it starts off sounding like a very young YA book, but then something happens-- the inciting event-- and suddenly, the book gets dark. In some ways, this is a bit like Game of Thrones with the more offensive content removed, and that actually made it work really well for me because I loved the court intrigue of GoT but really hated the over-the-top torture and violence. There are some graphic scenes in here that are darker than what you would usually see in YA, but it isn't lingered on the way violence tends to be in adult fantasy.

All the characters in this book are likable, except for the ones who aren't supposed to be. Tallia, the main character, is crude and strong and funny, but she's also into feminine indulgences, as well. I'm honestly shocked that this character was written by a man, because way too often, male authors write female characters in a way that feels stereotypical and two dimensional, and both Tallia and Lyriana were interesting-- but in different ways, and they always felt like they were their own person.

Shvarts is also very comfortable writing from the perspective of the female gaze, which makes the scenes between her and Zell a pleasure. One of my favorite parts of this book is how Lyriana talks about her reasons for wanting to be chaste and Tallia later ends up sex, and her reasons for doing so were not diminished by Lyriana's, and she wasn't shamed for it (except by one bad character). It made the book feel very sex positive, but I liked the message that it's okay to not have sex, too.

The fantasy world itself was pretty good. It's a little stock but the complexity of the story makes up for the cliches. The only thing that took me out of the book at times was that all of the characters speak in a way that feels very contemporary and modern, despite this being one of those Medieval-Inspired Fantasy Stock Universes, which can be a bit jarring and anachronistic. I think it works for teens (and me), though, because it makes it much breezier to read without all the whilsts, thous, and verilys.

Honestly, I ended up liking this soooo much more than I thought I would and I would read the sequel happily. Definitely looking forward to this author's 2021 release too, which is set in a magic school. If you, like me, were hesitant to read this because of the initial negative reviews, I'd say give it a shot!

3.5 to 4 stars
Profile Image for Cindy ✩☽♔.
1,089 reviews803 followers
August 7, 2017
Royal Bastards aka a royal waste of time...

For those looking to read a kick-ass fantasy, adventure book, I implore you to look elsewhere! Because this book was one of my most anticipated books of the year, and it was an utter letdown.

Issues with this:
1. Rehash of typical YA fantasy elements with little to no added fun
2. Insta-love that the main character will not/does not acknowledge as instalove, but is most definitely on the instalove spectrum
3. Odd narration elements, like sometimes the narrator's comments sometimes made me feel like I was reading a contemporary novel instead of fantasy. But maybe that's just me?
4. The plot drags a lot in the middle. Then toward the end, it seems like every single typical YA twist gets thrown in.

Tilla, our unjustly, overly confident heroine
I wasn't scared. Maybe I should have been, but I wasn't. Sure these were trained killers and they outnumbered us twelve to four. But I had Zell's training. I had Galen and Lyriana at my back. And I really, really wanted to hurt someone.
Like are you fucking serious?
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Honestly, it might be a bit more believable if she had any prior training. But no, I am supposed to believe a girl who just been taught how to fight, for about a month, is able to overcome highly-trained soldiers? Nope, not buying it.

Zell, a mild Matthias rip-off, who is there to be the muscle of the group and an obvious love-interest for Tilla

Miles, standard nerd-friend in love, or maybe more correctly obsessed, with the heroine.

Jax, Tilla's more worldly, snarky, wise-cracking half-brother.
Honestly, he was probably my favorite character. Probably because he was the one who always voiced what we were all thinking.

Lyriana, special snowflake princess
I mean yes she was nice, but I just never connected with her. And therefore, I did not care at all if she survived.

*More detailed review to Come*
Profile Image for Dahlia.
Author 18 books2,496 followers
February 23, 2017
Good LORD did I love this. I'm totally a fan of Chosen Girl Fantasy and all, but this was a really nice break, more in the "friend group" vein of Finnikin, which I adore. The at-times anachronistic language totally worked to crack me up, and I really loved the gender balance of roles here - in the heroes, villains, and bastards. Adventure, romance, high stakes, a great premise, and a delightful and varied cast all combine to ensure this is gonna be one of my favorite Fantasy YAs of the year.
Profile Image for Jiana.
296 reviews823 followers
July 21, 2017
Huge buddy read with: Wife & Oragy & Marmesan & Half Amy & Person & Emma

Well... I'm the only one in this BR who didn't hate and roast the hell out of this book. Having said that, obviously, I don't think the book was bad. Yes, it wasn't great, but it was enjoyable to some extent! It feel like I was reading a whole bunch of different YA books merged into one, but I wasn't completely bothered by it.

The book started off great. A group of royal bastards on the run? Deception? Betrayal? Action? What's not cool about that? And that's how the book started off. It had so much potential. I instantly liked Zell, Jax, Tilla and Lyriana. Then... the plot started going downhill and I don't really know what went wrong exactly. The plot, while being enjoyable to some extent, was boring around a few parts and the characters grew boring. I ended up disliking Tilla and Lyriana and not caring about Jax and Zell, despite falling in love with Zell the minute he showed up in the book. I don't know what happened! Why the sudden change???? Oh well.

The book is full of cliches. Did I care though? No. Did I care that the book is predictable? Also no. When you read too many YA books, books are bound to be predictable at some point. I admit I was pissed at some parts of the books, mainly two parts, but they're spoilers so I won't go into that. The writing was fairly good and gripping for a debut novel. My favorite thing about the book was the world building. I liked the politics, the history, the cultures in it and I think it was very well worked on!

So, as per my rating system, this book is an average book, hence the 3 stars. I heard this book is a trilogy now? Makes sense because the ending is an open one. I might read the next books because I feel like they'll get better!
Profile Image for Alyssa.
1,069 reviews842 followers
October 5, 2017
Meh. I didn't hate it, didn't love. I had high expectations but I think, in the end, I just wasn't invested enough (once I started reading).

***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts
Book One of the Royal Bastards trilogy
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: May 30, 2017
Rating: 3 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher

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 . . .

What I Liked:

I hate writing three-star reviews! In this book's case, I didn't hate it or love it - I just didn't care enough. This wasn't anything special or original and I wasn't invested enough to take a stand, whether positive or negative. The book has some strengths and weaknesses, but overall it wasn't something that stood out or wowed me.

A short synopsis: Tilla is a bastard, her father's oldest child. She and her half-brother Jax have lived the lives of bastard children for years - forgotten, raised apart from their "family", and treated differently. Everything changes when Princess Lyriana and her uncle, the Royal Archmagus, comes to visit the West Province (over which Tilla's father exerts power). Tilla, Jax, Lyriana, a bastard named Miles, and a Zitochi bastard named Zell are forced to flee when they witness Tilla's father and Miles's mother killing the Royal Archmagus and plotting to kill the Princess too. With a price on their heads and a war to stop, the bastards run for their lives. Being a bastard might have been what saved all of their lives, and they'll need to use this to their advantage against their own families.

The good things - for one, I finished the book, and it wasn't a difficult task to do. It's a fairly engaging read, though there are plenty of times when the paragraphs dragged on. I effectively skimmed and flipped pages until I reached dialogue. Anyway, the book wasn't too boring, which is a big plus.

For the most part, I liked the cast of characters. This book is written in Tilla's first-person POV, but there are five protagonists: Tilla, Lyriana, Miles, Jax, and Zell. Tilla and Jax are half-siblings (they have the same mother). Tilla's father is a lord of House Kent. Jax's father is a royal soldier. Miles's mother is a lady of House Hampstedt. Zell is the second son of the Zitochi Chief of Clans. Lyriana is the Princess of Lightspire who rules them all (except the Zitochi, sort of). These five are very different, and for the most part, likable. I loved and was intrigued by Zell, and I thought Jax was hilarious. But the other three (especially Miles), meh. I didn't really care for them. Tilla was okay, Lyriana was bland, Miles was irritating. I liked Zell a lot because he is a cold warrior who is very intelligent and ruthless too. He is capable and clever, but also selfless. My type of guy!

The friendship and camaraderie of the group is a great aspect that needed a little work but for the most part, was good. I felt that camaraderie between Tilla, Lyriana, Jax, and Zell. Miles stuck out like a sore thumb.

The book is slow initially, but things pick up as the group of teens journey on to Lightspire, where they hope to find safety. First they will try to find a Lord Galen Reza, who should shelter them. The majority of the novel is this journey, and it isn't too bad, though it's not terribly action-packed either (not until the end).

The romance is okay - there are two sets of romances. Tilla and Zell have a thing going on, and things get heated between them. I approve. Jax and Lyriana have a very subtle thing going on, though nothing physical happens between them (though they fall for each other). Tilla and Zell's romance moves very slowly and then very quickly ("I love you" was thrown okay... which seemed quick to me). I liked Tilla and Zell together.

The ending was good, no cliffhanger, nothing painful. I hate cliffhangers, so I'm fine with that.

What I Did Not Like:

Ehhhhhhhh. That's the feeling that I'm left with, after finishing this book. It isn't a bad book! But it's not great either. Not really stuck out to me to make it "amazing" or "sensational".

Some of the things that stuck out to me as annoying - the writing style/Tilla's voice. Wow, talk about juvenile. The way the dialogue is written... some of the phrases seemed so out of place - and outdated in a modern sense. Which is ridiculous, because this is a FANTASY novel that shouldn't have any "modern" phrases in it, outdated or not.

For example: hooking up? Old fogeys? Rooting for you? Take it to the next level? Gosh there were more - I cringed every time I read those phrases. They seemed so out of place and entirely unnecessary. The only person that talked like I would expect from a high fantasy novel was Zell.

Tilla's voice was so conversational in a mundane way. I understand that this is her narrative, but the way she brings the story across is weirdly conversational and it just didn't work for me.

Ugh, Miles. I read some reviews that mentioned a love triangle and as soon as I "met" Miles, in the first few chapters, I knew exactly where this love triangle was going. It's not a true love triangle because Tilla doesn't care for or want Miles at all - she doesn't even really see him as a friend - but Miles is totally obsessed with Tilla. Miles is a pesky fly that I wanted to smash, right from the beginning, and not because he came across as weirdly obsessed with Tilla. He's just... irritating? There was always something about him that made me want to punch him.

So there is and yet isn't a love triangle. I can tell you that the love triangle is taking care of effectively, in the end (not that we had anything to worry about, with how close Zell and Tilla had gotten). Hopefully no new "legs" of the triangle pop up, like Lyriana's cousin. Settle down, YA authors, not everyone has to be in love with the heroine (that's stupid and unrealistic).

More ugh about Miles is his behavior. He is almost possessive of Tilla (you'll see why), and he does this thing out of spite because she friend-zoned him (*cringe*). Can we not perpetrate the idea of men's fragile egos and how terribly they handle rejection (some of them)? I get that it was used as a plot point in the book, but it's ridiculous. My face must have looked like this when I read that scene: -_-

Overall this book wasn't boring but there were plenty of rambling paragraphs that I skipped altogether and apparently didn't need to read them. So much info-dumping and storytelling - no thank you! When a paragraph started to feel like a run-on sentence, I was out. Look, guys. I'm an educated young woman in her twenties and I've read boring classics in the very recent past, so it's not my intelligence at fault here. Try not to info-dump so much, authors. It's taxing on readers.

I'll stop there. General feeling? Meh.

Would I Recommend It:

I don't really recommend this book because it's so meh and uninspiring. It didn't really impress me - ME, a fantasy addict. I expected to be wowed and swept off my feet, with the amount of promo and attention this book was getting. Since this series is a trilogy, and this author is a debut author who clearly likes to throw in as many cliche YA tropes as possible, I may wait until the series ends to possibly binge-read books two and three. Or skip them altogether. My expectations are low.


3 stars. 2.5 stars? I'm not feeling negatively towards the book but I'm not feeling positively towards it either. I can't even say I feel disappointed, though I probably should, given how excited I was about the book and how much I really don't care about it after reading it. Meh. I tried!

Profile Image for Caitlin.
339 reviews698 followers
September 2, 2018
If you’d like to know how much of a disgrace I am, I was meant to read this book 4-5 months ago as a buddy read and I just started and finished it now.

Well shit guys this book was great. I had very low expectations going into it and yet I was absolutely blown away by how much I enjoyed it. I feel like this was such a strong opening to what’s going to be a great trilogy. I am shook to the max

Profile Image for Suzzie.
915 reviews163 followers
October 28, 2017
I was hesitant on this book because of some of the negative reviews but that does not usually stop me from reading a book and I am sure glad it doesn't because this book was actually really interesting! It had some very humorous parts and a good deal of adventure.

Overall, if you are hesitant on reading this because of some of the reviews, I recommend giving it a shot. I laughed a lot during this book and was found it very entertaining.
Profile Image for Mogsy.
2,071 reviews2,631 followers
June 4, 2017
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2017/06/04/...

This book was a ridiculously entertaining read, putting me in mind of Marvel’s Runaways set in a fantasy world that is rife with Game of Thrones vibes. Characters tragic and comic, heroic and despicable all live within these pages, including beautiful princesses, warring kings, powerful mages, and of course, royal bastards.

As the daughter of Lord Kent of the Western Province and a Castle Waverly servant, sixteen-year-old Tillandra has always lived in a world of in-betweens. While common born and not his legitimate heir, Tilla was nonetheless loved by her father, who filled her childhood days with rides over the fields or to the forest, teaching and showing her amazing things. But ever since Lord Kent got married in a political alliance, that all changed. Once his new wife gave him trueborn children, his time spent with Tilla gradually dwindled to the point where he now barely gives her any attention at all. Tilla instead spends her day with her half-brother Jax, hanging out at the stables and drinking with the servants, though in her heart she still secretly dreams of the day her father will notice her again and perhaps even legitimize her as a trueborn Kent.

When the book opens, everything at the castle is abuzz with activity as preparations are made for the feast in honor of the visiting princess of Noveris from the ruling Volaris Dynasty. Although Tilla is invited to attend, her place in the great hall is with the castle’s other outcasts which includes Miles, an illegitimate son of House Hampstedt, as well as Zell, a Zitochi from the north who has been disowned by his warchief father. When Princess Lyriana makes her appearance though, she is nothing like any of them imagined. First, she shocks everyone by choosing to sit with Tilla and the others at the “Bastards’ Table”, and before long, she has convinced them to sneak her out of the castle after the feast to show her Castle Waverly’s beaches. However, what might have started out as an innocent late night excursion quickly turns into a nightmare as Tilla, Jax, Miles, Zell and Lyriana stumble upon a scene they were never meant to witness. Now their own parents have put a price on their heads, and the group is forced to go on the run to protect the princess and deliver back to her people. If they succeed, they’ll be able to clear their names, expose a vast conspiracy, and stop a war. But if they fail, it could spell the end of more than just their lives.

Royal Bastards was an interesting book—uncomplicated to be sure, and also unabashedly trope-filled. The writing style also has a simplistic tone and uses modern language, which initially made me think this might be a Middle Grade novel, until the swearing, violence, and sexual innuendoes quickly disabused me of that notion. For all that though, I found the author’s straightforward approach refreshing. What you see is what you get, with little attempt to be subversive or break the mold. I got the sense that Shvarts was just trying to tell a fun story about characters that he genuinely cared about, and in turn I was captivated by this book’s carefree aura, willing to be swept into whatever adventure awaits.

I’m happy to report the results were pleasantly and surprisingly positive. Sure, the characters are all textbook YA—the plucky heroine who yearns for parental approval, the broody warrior who’s always surly because “no one understands me!”, or the nerdy bookwork whom everyone dismisses until his knowledge saves all their lives, etc., etc., etc.—but happily, their individual charms more than make up for that. Despite the clichés, every single one of the Bastards had wormed their way into my heart, and by the end of the book I found myself invested in the outcome of their fates. Every triumph filled me with celebratory cheer while every loss and betrayal made me fume and rage inside. I very much cared about what happened to these characters, which made this one an easy read. Together with the fast pace of the plot, I just flew through this book.

I probably enjoyed Royal Bastards more than I should have. But books like this prove you don’t have to reinvent the genre to be successful; sometimes familiar ideas work just fine when you combine them with a story that’s fun to its very core (though you should still brace yourself for some eventual tensions and heartbreak) and characters who have great chemistry and infectious personalities. There are several major twists, a couple of which I coming a mile away, but that didn’t stop me from having a blast. If all this sounds good to you, I highly recommend giving this book a try. Personally, I can’t wait for the next installment in this planned trilogy.
Profile Image for lucie.
507 reviews637 followers
September 24, 2017
I pretended to be your friend so I could betray you," he said. "And I didn't do it for my people or my family's honor. I did it because I wanted my father to be proud of me again. I did it for the man who threw an ax at my skull. So what does that make me?"
"A bastard," I said. "Same as me."

Titan's breath, that was good! Not the best but good.

My actual rating is between three and four stars, but I'll round it up because some dialogues made me laugh.

- I had no idea what this book is about. I saw it on my GR feed and liked the title. I BOUGHT THE BOOK JUST BECAUSE OF THE TITLE, PEOPLE!
- And it was brutal! Bloody! Savage! And ruthless! Just how I like it.
- And it was about bastards! BASTARDS!
- I liked how simple the story was. After a long time finally a book without complicated strategies, multi-worlds and unrealistic solutions.
- The writing is modern. I got into the world almost immediately. There is a lot of descriptions but just enough of them to not to be confused.
- I would appreciate slower start, though.
- I like the squad here. They were normal teenagers! They sneaked out of their rooms to go to the beach, they drank wine and they played drinking games. Thank you for that!
- I wasn't a fan of Tilla's love-thoughts. Everytime Zell said something or looked at her, she was wondering if it has a hidden meaning.
- The idea of a princess and stable hand to fall in love is so cuuuuuute. *heart eyes*
- Zell's brother Razz made me sick!
- I am glad that Zell had a chance and could fight against his father. I just wish he could fight against his brother too.
- There was something off about and I was right! I knew he cannot be trusted!

It was quick and entertaining read. There were parents on their mission to kill their children, magic, interesting mix of people in a squad and very modern style of writing.

Note: If you know any other book about bastards, feel free to recommend it to me!
Profile Image for Lauren Stoolfire.
3,721 reviews262 followers
June 6, 2017
I received a free eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Tilla is a bastard. Her father is Lord Kent of the Western Province and her mother a low born woman. As soon as Lord Kent had his own legitimate children he tossed Tilla aside to raise them into the nobility instead. She longs to be at her father's side as a legitimized heir, but at sixteen she spends most of her time with her half brother Jax (they share the same mother), a stablehand, exploring the old tunnel system under the castle and drinking with the servants. Instead of being with her family at feasts, she ends up sitting with the other bastards, like Miles of House Hampstedt, a nerd who's had a crush on her for ages. When Princess Lyriana visits with her uncle, the Royal Archmagus, she shocks everyone by deciding to sit at the bastards table. Later, Tilla, Jax, Miles, and Zell, a Zitochi bastard from the north, find themselves leading the sheltered Princess on nighttime escapade and before they know it they witness a brutal crime that they were never meant to see. The group is forced to run for their lives since their parents have put bounties on their heads to stop the king from discovering their crimes. Tilla, Jax, Miles, Zell, and Lyriana are the only ones who can prevent the oncoming civil war that could destroy their kingdom. They just need to get to the king in time - and survive the journey to the palace.

Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts was one of my most anticipated reads of the year and to my utter delight this book lived up to the hype. This quest story is a ton of fun and it's easy to get attached to our core cast of diverse characters. It isn't entirely original, but it still managed to include just about everything I could have wanted from badass yet lovable characters, sassy dialogue, magic, danger around every corner, and a writing style that keeps things fresh and modern regardless of the epic fantasy setting, plus just a dash of romance. As much as I loved getting to know everyone, I really liked that Lyriana is much less useless than the others initially suspect. Everyone really has their moment to shine, and break common genre stereotypes. Overall, I highly enjoyed this and I can't wait to see what else Andrew Shvarts has up his sleeve. I bet you'll love this addicting, fast, funny, and action-packed YA epic fantasy debut if you love George R.R. Martin, V.E. Schwab, and Scott Lynch.

Profile Image for booknuts_.
756 reviews1,188 followers
July 3, 2017
I am so glad I got the chance to read and review this book early! It has been an incredible adventure! I loved it! This is another great book with everything to offer anyone who enjoys a good book. Diverse characters, political intrigue, romance, blood, fights, kingdoms on the brink of war and 5 teens who have to set aside everything they know in order to come together to save their kingdoms as well as keep themselves alive.

This book mostly focuses on Tilla. Tilla is the oldest of a regional Lord, she is a bastard and before he had any “proper legitimate” children, he had and loved Tilla. She had fond memories of when her father and she would do things together but that all stopped when he had his other legitimate kids. She lives in his house and she doesn’t understand why he still sort-of has her around if he doesn’t plan on legitimizing her, even though he hasn’t said he will or won’t she still hopes that he does. So she doesn’t go to her lessons, she avoids anything that has to deal with being around the legitimates.

When Tella, her half-brother who is also a bastard, as well as two other misfit bastards all witness a killing of a mage who is visiting, lines must be drawn, alliances made, choices that will change the course of their lives, and decisions of where one’s loyalty lies. All this as well as trying to stay alive in the process.

I really enjoyed the edgy characters, there wasn’t a character I didn’t like! I enjoyed this little band of misfits that somehow have to do the right thing and somehow save their kingdoms from coming to war.

I loved the plot, twists, turns, adventures, lies, deceits, fails, triumphs that are all packed into this story!

The world building was perfect, not too much info that I got bored but plenty of descriptions to get a good enough picture in your mind.

I really liked the romance in this one, it didn’t overwhelm the story but it was there and it surprised me in a few areas/aspects. I liked that.

Overall I REALLY liked this book. I would recommend it to anyone looking for something with great characters that make the story so worth it on any level. I thought the world building and history make it fun and vibrate. The idea was unique in regards to having characters from such a “low” standpoint be the “heros” of the story.

Sexual Content: Mild
Langugae: mild
Violence: moderate
Drugs/Alcohol: mild
Profile Image for Scrill.
408 reviews205 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
July 21, 2017
I am 30% through a standalone book and I would have expected a lot more to actually happen. I am sure there's a bunch more people dying and all that, but I really don't care about our little group of bastards.

First of all, our MC, Tilla is a little brat. She preaches about how the princess is a sheltered girl, but really all she wants is to basically run around a palace in a pretty dress too. She's ridiculously shallow. Anytime a new person is introduced, her first comment is about their looks.

The rest of the characters don't seem to really have much going for them either...

I just don't have time to read a book that is just about a turn of surprises of people dying followed by witty comments and probably some convenient getaways. I dunno, maybe it does get better, but that will be my loss.
Profile Image for Bree Barton.
Author 4 books504 followers
October 5, 2016
Oh my good lord, this book is SO MUCH FUN. I can't remember the last time I've had so much fun reading a book! ROYAL BASTARDS reminded me of everything I loved about adventure stories growing up—the swashbuckling romance, the acts of daring, the bad guys closing in, and the bonds of friendship forged amidst acts of astounding magic and astonishing villainy.

I knew the moment I read the flap copy that I was going to love this book. I hadn't intended to read ROYAL BASTARDS in a day, but once the story sucked me in, there was no escaping. The tension! The suspense! Titans' breath—I was flipping pages faster than a Whisper can deliver a message. Andrew is so damn good at writing suspense; he's also a total wiz at writing characters. I found myself cheering for this rather unconventional friend group, time and again.

The way the band of bastards unfurls more and more layers the more they get to know each other…and the princess, frozen hells, what an arc…and then Tilla, our hero, WOW. Tilla's journey into total badassery made me jump up and cheer. Literally. I got out of bed and fist bumped the air. My boyfriend was like, "Waaahh?"

The world building is amazing. The richness of the history is truly spellbinding (and I do mean spellbinding). But lest you think Andrew Shvarts is a benevolent god: NO. He makes you fall in love more than once, but he is also not afraid to break your heart. And—well, no spoilers, but suffice to say there's one twist that had me writhing in agony. Whyyyyyyyyy. Nooooooo! (In all the best "whyyyyyy" and "noooooo" kind of ways.)

Read this book. It will make you wish you were a bastard, royal or otherwise. And that's saying something.
Profile Image for Shannon (It Starts At Midnight).
1,189 reviews1,017 followers
May 8, 2017
You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight


I absolutely devoured this book. The characters were incredible, and I liked that they had to make such hard choices between their families and what they felt was right. They were well fleshed out, and I loved the journey they went on- both mentally and physically. They had to figure out where their loyalties lay, and they had to avoid a lot of people who didn't want them to live to even make that choice.

The adventure part was fabulous, definitely had me on the edge of my seat. The plot moved along at a great pace, and I loved the development of the characters. They started out as a very unlikely group, but they ended up forging relationships and friendships along the way. I loved that the females became close friends, I love a strong female friendship. And I enjoyed the romantic aspects as well!

The way the book was written was wonderfully entertaining, too. There was so much witty banter, and just... fun. While there was a lot of serious stuff going on, the characters still kept a sense of humor, and it made the book so enjoyable to read. Because yes, the stakes were incredibly high, but it was nice to have some normalcy in the midst of it.

Bottom Line: I loved the blend of fun and high stakes, and the fabulous mix of relationships that were explored- familial, friendships, and romance. Definitely a win!

*Copy provided for review
Profile Image for Dana.
440 reviews290 followers
May 13, 2017

I really wanted to like this, the premise was intriguing, with a group of royal misfits on the run after witnessing a dark secret. It started off okay and I didn't mind the characters, but this felt more like a draft than a finished product.

More than half of the book is a journey, but you never really get any sense of it. The author tells you what happens but never shows you. It leaves you feeling very disconnected from the story, and then when that leads up to insta-love, it almost comes across as a parody. This wasn't terrible, it just wasn't much of anything. I probably won't continue with this series. 1.5/5

Buy, Borrow or Bin Verdict: Bin

Note: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Taylor.
767 reviews422 followers
February 7, 2017
Royal Bastards was one of my most anticipated books of 2017. I was super excited to start it but it took me forever and a half to finish it. This book is such a roller coaster. I liked it and then I didn't think I could finish it, it was such a back and forth battle. But even though I have my problems with this book, it got me emotionally invested in the plot and the characters.
My biggest problem with this book is the characters. Two of the main characters, Tilla and Miles, annoyed me so much. Miles was such a boring character to me and Tilla was just really mean at times. She was so unsympathetic a few times toward Lyriana and it really bothered me. I'm not going to go into detail because I won't give out spoilers but she was kind of mean with her thoughts. She caught herself and changed her thinking, which I appreciated, but I still thought it was really mean of her.
I did like Lyriana, Jax, and Zell though. I also really appreciated how Lyriana was so explicitly described of being a POC. There's not a lot of POC in YA fantasy and Lyriana is much needed. (I don't remember for sure if any of the other characters are described as POC but it's likely that they're described and I just don't remember because I already pictured everyone as POC and skipped over their description)
I did like the writing style but the dialogue was oddly modern at times and it threw me off. Maybe I'm just being overly critical but it was just the little things in this book that bothered me.
I loved the concept and plot so much. If I didn't find Tilla and Miles to be so annoying, I would have had a blast reading this book.
One thing that really surprised me was how unexpectedly violent this book was. I don't really have a problem with it but if you're sensitive bloody fight scenes, you might want to pass on this book or just skip through those parts.
Overall, even though I'm not head over heels for this book like I thought I was going to be, I loved the concept, plot, and three of the characters. This book did keep me engaged and I was emotionally invested. If you're a critical reader like me, this book might not be for you, especially if you expect a lot from fantasy books. I do think it's worth the chance though. Just don't have super high expectations like I did.
Profile Image for Marla.
1,262 reviews224 followers
May 30, 2017
This is a great YA fantasy story. The characters of Tilla, Jax, Miles, Zell and Lyriana are well rounded and we learn their history without it dragging down the storyline. The author does a great job of weaving in their backstories. The story starts out nice and lighthearted and then it takes a dark turn. There is humor, friendship, fighting, romance and death. The story moves along nicely and I cared for the characters hoping they would all be safe and survive. I don't like to wait for the next book in a series or a trilogy but when this book was over I was kind of wishing it wasn't a stand alone. Very entertaining, I had a hard time putting it down. I actually thought about having my tablet on my desk at work so I could read while I was working and hope no one would notice. This is well worth your time if you like this genre.

Thanks to NetGalley for my copy.
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