Review – Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts

Posted June 15, 2017 by Emily in review / 1 Comment

Review – Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts
TITLE: Royal Bastards
AUTHOR: Andrew Shvarts
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
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RATING: 4.5 Stars

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 ...

Setting the Scene:

Summary in 10 Words (or less)

Fast paced child of Graceling and The Breakfast Club.

Mood Before Reading

I want a nice cute romance book. Maybe that’ll help get me out of my reading slump?

Thoughts After Reading



Ahhh I have so much to say about this book. Mainly good things. But still there’s so so much to talk about and I have no idea where to start. So hold on to your socks, this may be a bumpy ride.

Oh my, this book. I loved it so so much. I reread it the day after I finished it. It was that good! The plot, while maybe not the most unique, is a very good spin on what I think is a very common storyline in high fantasy. Because it is such a common plot line, a little part of me did anticipate some of the twists that were thrown at me, but I didn’t really see a lot of them coming.

I liked the world building. Mostly. There were times when I felt bombarded by too much information all at once, but I guess that comes with the genre. Most of the times, all the info dumps were neatly woven into the story. It helps I think, that this book contains characters of different backgrounds. So instead of unleashing massive amounts of information at once to the reader, it’s brought up when characters of different cultures mention it.

Besides coming from different backgrounds (socioeconomically, culturally, gender), another thing I love about the characters in Royal Bastards is how unique each one is. They all have distinctly different personalities and experience different levels of growth. Surprisingly, I found it really easy to connect to each one despite all of their differences.

Another thing I really loved about this book is that even though it was plot heavy, it felt character driven. Royal Bastards is full of great aspects, but its best is, without question, its ability to make me feel. Something. Anything. And that ability stems mostly from its characters. I absolutely enjoyed watching all the characters grow and develop and mature throughout the story. The growth the characters go through is something I feel is unique to this story – I feel like it’s hard to find a fantasy novel where the whole entire entourage grows and changes, not just the main character.

But as great as the plot and characters are, I do have a bit of an issue with the pacing. In general, it was great. It was fast paced with some breathing room. But it sure didn’t help me keep up with the story’s timeline. Because it was so fast paced and a little uneven, I had a hard time keeping track how much time has passed. Why is that important? Well, let’s just say timing is my biggest issue with the romance.

For the most part I loved the romance in Royal Bastards. It was cute and hot and a wee bit steamy (this is definitely one of the more risque novels Disney has published). I loved it and wanted more. But I just feel like some of it moved a little too fast. If I’m totally wrong about the passing of time, then there’s nothing wrong with the romance in this book in my book.

In Conclusion…

Filled with wondrous character development, hints of romance, and a fast-paced plot, Royal Bastards is my current favorite read of the year. If you love high fantasy this is definitely a book to check out!

I recommend this book to:

Fans of high fantasy, especially Graceling by Kristin Cashore and Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas.

Some sidenotes:

  • This is a novel for the older YA demographic. It’s not exactly one I’d recommend to middle schoolers. It’s a bit more violent and steamy than what you usually can expect from Disney.
  • I can definitely see this book as a TV show, or even a movie. But I think more TV show. Especially since it ended like a show that doesn’t know if it’ll get another season. Please give it another “season”! I NEED a sequel. I just want to see all these characters again.
Final Rating
5 Stars
4 Stars
4.5 Stars
4.5 Stars
5 Stars
World Building
4.5 Stars
Overall: 4.6


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