Format: E-Galley, 352 pages
Release Date: May 30, 2017
Genre: Young Adult / Action & Adventure
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, 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 . . .
Royal Bastards is author Andrew Shvarts debut novel. As the author states, Royal Bastards is being sold as Game of Thrones meets The Breakfast Club. 16-year old Tillanda Kent aka Tilla is the bastard daughter of Lord Elric Kent, House of Kent for the Western Province. For years, she's hoped to be made legitimate by High Lord Kent. For years, she's been looked down upon and scorned even though her father has tried to prepare her for a hopeful future where she will become his heir.
Bastard children sit at their own table separate from the rest of the Ladies and Lords and their children. It is at this table, where readers meet Miles Hampstedt, son of one of the few women head of Houses. Miles has been in love with Tella for years. Zell is the son of the Zitochi Clan Leader Grezza Gaul. Zitochi are brutal warriors, and hardened killers. Zell's brother Razz is an unhinged sociopath and killer. But, it is also the place where we meet 15-year old Princess Lyrianna.
Lyrianna is the daughter of the King who rules over the lands, but has traveled to the Western Province to see more of the lands her father rules. Things get rather interesting after Tilla, Miles, Jax (Tilla's half brother), Zell, and Lyrianna witness what may be the opening salvo in an open resurrection against the King. Forced to go on the run with bounties on each of their heads, Tilla's group finds themselves growing closer, as they learn to rely only on those within the group itself.
Royal Bastards is apparently a standalone Young Adult Fantasy novel, but there is a definite opening for the author to come back to this story in the future. Royal Bastards has a bit of romance, of bit of snarky attitude from the characters, and oh yes, some rather dark scenes which left me rather depressed. It also has young characters who love to drink, and have sex. If you are looking for a fast-paced novel, then you have found it. The pacing is excellent. There are no real letdowns, and the characters ALL stand out, not just Tilla. Apparently, the finished copy of this story has a map that you can refer back to. Unfortunately for me, the ARC didn't have that luxury.