April was read a series in a month, and I picked this one that had been sitting on my TBR for quite awhile. I listened to them over a 5 day binge, but posted them all together. When I originally picked up The Royal Bastards series, I thought it was an MG series. I suppose the word “Bastards” in the title should have been a giveaway that this is a YA/teen or even adult series. Having said that, I did enjoy this series. I was able to listen to these books via Hoopla and will say the audiobooks were very well done. Brittany Pressley narrates the series and does a great job with the various voices of the group. She uses accents, tone and expression to make these stories exciting to listen to.
Join an epic, action-packed magical adventure, full of conspiracies and danger, in the Royal Bastards fantasy series.
About Royal Bastards: 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 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. 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….
I really liked the characters in this book. Tilla was amazing. She was a good person and had values and morals, but was able to do what she needed to do to save the kingdom. She loved her father and just wanted him to recognize her, but that was not to be. She was only 17, but when she falls for Zell, she falls hard. She is also smart, focused, loyal and someone I would want by my side if the world was in danger of a full scale war. Lyriana is the princess and future queen, but ends up on the run with Tilla, Zell, Miles and Jax. They have some unbelievable adventures.
I am not a fantasy aficionado, but I liked this story. There was some world building that left me with a few questions, but not enough to spoil the book. The author did an excellent job of developing the characters that enabled me to connect to them. And then there was the action, it was pretty much non-stop. This band of Bastards and misfits had one situation after another that they had to deal with and get through. There was also magic, but not everyone had it, and it was hard to determine who did. Of course it comes in handy a few times, but also ends up causing problems for our band at others. When there is a fantasy that involves war and uprising, you know there are going to be some traitors to deal with, some mercenaries that are pretty brutal, and some surprises along the way which were all included in this story. I do not want to spoil this book for anyone, so you will have to read it to see what happens, but I will say that as soon as I finished listening to this one, I started on City of Bastards, book #2.
About City of Bastards: Tilla is safe from her murderous father in the dazzling capital of Lightspire, where she lives a life of luxury under the protection of the Volaris King, alongside her boyfriend, Zell, and best friend, Princess Lyriana. So why isn’t she happy? Maybe it’s the whispers and stares that follow her wherever she goes, as the daughter of the traitor waging war against Lightspire. Or maybe it’s the memories of her beloved brother, Jax, who lies cold in his grave even as she tries to settle into a life in the city’s prestigious University. Then Tilla stumbles upon the body of a classmate—a friend. The authorities are quick to rule it a suicide and sweep it under the rug, but when Tilla herself is attacked by a mysterious man with terrifying powers, she’s convinced of a conspiracy. Her friends beg her to stay silent; what she’s suggesting is impossible…and treasonous. The deeper she digs, the more questions she uncovers….
4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Book two in the Royal Bastards series picks up where the first book ends. Tilla, Lyriana, and Zell are now living in the capital of Lightspire. Tilla and Lyriana are going to University and Zell is part of the city guard. Lyriana is lost without Jax, and is taking a lot of chances. Tilla knows something is wrong and is worried about Zell’s disappearances. As the war continues, Tilla wants to know how her father’s armies can beat the Mages who are supposed to be invincible. What she discovers is horrifying and puts them all at risk. Once again, the band of Bastards and their new friends are on the run.
I liked that the world building continued in this book, and a lot of the questions that I had left over from the first book were answered in this one. I enjoyed learning more about the magic and how it worked, as well as how it could be corrupted. The one thing that makes me a bit squeamish are the graphic and gory fight scenes. I know they are a large part of the story, so I am okay with them being there, but that is my one disappointment. The beginning of the book was a bit slow compared to the first book, but the second half of this book was action packed. Believe it or not, there are a lot of values and political ideas discussed and demonstrated in this book. Tilla keeps track of any deaths by her hand as she does not want to become callused. There is a lot of the plot dealing with classes, financial equality and fairness to all citizens. I like this part of the story, but it is not preachy, it fits in very well with the story. I enjoyed this one as much as I did the first one. If you plan to pick these books up, you MUST read them in order.
About War of the Bastards: A year has passed since the fall of Lightspire. The Inquisitor Miles Hampstedt rules Noveris with a blood-soaked iron fist. Tilla and her friends have become hardened rebels in the Unbroken, a band of guerilla fighters hiding out on the fringes of the Kingdom protecting the true queen, Lyriana Volaris. Even as they fight, they know their cause is doomed—that with every passing day Miles’s army of Bloodmages spreads across the continent. But at least they have each other…and some halfway-decent drinks. With Miles’s forces closing in, a ragtag team sets out on an eleventh-hour mission: form an alliance with Syan’s people that could turn the tide of the war. But what they discover in the Red Wastes changes everything, including their very understanding of the magic that runs through Noveris. In the heart-pounding conclusion to the Royal Bastards trilogy, Tilla faces an impossible choice: unthinkable destruction in the name of peace…or an uncertain future that means confronting a terrible past.
4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
I grabbed this book right after finishing City of Bastards because I couldn’t wait to find out what happens to Tilla and her band of rebels. This story picks up one year after the fall of Lightspire. Miles, the Inquisitor, has control of the Bloodmages, and he is destroying the city and anyone who opposes him. What we don’t know is that Lord Elric Kent, Tilla’s father, is just a figurehead. With the rebels growing their ranks and the citizens in the south now waging war, the bloodmages and Lightspire’s troops are split. Is this the time for the rebels to attack and take back the city?
There are new characters in this story alongside the familiar ones. Tilla, Lyriana and some of the others are tired of waging these battles, they want to make a big move. The addition of Syan took the story in a new direction. We find out more about the Titans from her story. She has a totally different kind of magic that was interesting, but her people were not very nice and she did get a bit annoying at times. I was not enamored or her relationship with Lyriana, but that is a small niggle. With this being the finale of the series, I was expecting big things. There were a lot of plot twists, some battles, although not as big as in previous books, and some huge surprises that kept me listening non-stop. This book also included some descriptions that had me picturing a totally different part of the world that had been forgotten, which certainly added another dimension to the world building. If you are looking for a huge battle and war, based on the title, you won’t find that here, but you will find a satisfying conclusion to this series that left me happy with the way this series pulls everything together. Once again, I will say that it is a MUST to read this series in order.
About the Author: Andrew Shvarts is an author of novels and video games. He has a BA in English Literature and Russian from Vassar College. He works for Pixelberry Studios, making mobile games like Choices, High School Story, and more. Andrew lives in San Jose, California, with his wife, son, and two cats.
A Few Fun Facts from his Website:
- Andrew was born in the Soviet Union, but immigrated to the US when he was four years old. He doesn’t remember much of life there, but has retained a love for weird Russian cartoons and a total indifference to being cold.
- Andrew’s passion has always been storytelling, in all its forms: fiction, cinema, narrative video games, and long, rambling, frequently-exaggerated anecdotes. He spent his childhood devouring books, and his adolescence watching straight-to-DVD horror movies and playing jRPGS.
- Andrew is both color-blind and tone-deaf, which probably means he has some latent superpowers he just hasn’t discovered.