Series: Royal Bastards #1
Published by: Disney Hyperion on May 30, 2017
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
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 loved this story! Royal Bastards ended up being everything I hoped it would:
- Awesome, rebellious, brave characters
I think the best thing for me was the characters. There were five main ones and they were all fantastic in their own ways. They each had really distinct personalities, motives, and backgrounds.
- There’s the main character, Tilla. She’s the bastard daughter of the “Lord of the Western Province”.
- There’s Jax, Tilla’s half brother (same mother, different father, also a bastard).
- Miles is one of their friends and also a bastard. He’s an awkward scholar.
- Zell is a Zitochi warrior from the north (a totally different culture).
- Then there’s Princess Lyriana. (I really adored her development! Maybe the most!)
The book is about this band of friends stumbling together under weird circumstances, adventuring, and trying to protect their kingdom.
I love how the characters changed and hardened throughout the story. You could really see how they were affected by what they saw and were trying to accomplish.
My one main critique is with the romance. I loved it in theory; I adored the main character and the love interest. But I don’t feel like enough time was spent developing their relationship. They had a few sweet moments together, but honestly, I can only think of like two really significant ones, and that wasn’t enough for View Spoiler » [their declaration of love at the end « Hide Spoiler] . I think this romance could have been really amazing if developed a bit further!
And god, the ending! Emotional, heart-wrenching, but also pretty awesome. View Spoiler » [I was absolutely CRUSHED when Jax died! Especially because he and Lyriana were so, so perfect together. I wanted them to have this epic forbidden romance, but then… ahhh! *sobs* « Hide Spoiler]