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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.
I read this eARC from May 26 - June 3, 2017 and my review is also on Goodreads. Royal Bastards was released May 30, 2017.