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 . . .
Tilla, bastard of House Kent, has it made. Safe from her murderous father in the dazzling capital of Lightspire, 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.
But Tilla can't, won't, let it go. And the deeper she digs, the more questions she uncovers. How is the West beating the supposedly invincible Lightspire Mages in battle? Is it connected to the shadowy cult wreaking havoc in Lightspire? Nothing is as it seems in the glorious capital, and Tilla's presence might just be the spark that sets the Kingdom aflame.
These books were so freaking great! I loved reading them, I devoured them, and I can't wait to read War of the Bastards, and I'm kinda glad that I read them when I did, because it comes out in just a few months, yeah!
These books had strong world building with the magic and the politics and where they met in the middle. Tilla doesn't have magic, herself, but she quickly spends a lot of time with someone who does-Princess Lyriana. And it's only by chance that that comes about and changes Tilla's life forever.
All of these characters were great to read about. They had their quirks, like Zell who showed his brother mercy and it came back to haunt him. They all their issues to face, from their parentage, their birthright, and in the 2nd book, to being distrusted because they came from the west.
The first book was a journey, going from the west to the east. It changes them, and they're different in the 2nd book, where they've arrived at the capital. The 2nd book had both mysteries and politics, and it changed them some more. I can't wait to see what they're going to be like in War, which is going to happen after a time jump, I'm pretty sure.
These were such great reads, I enjoyed them so much, and I can't wait to read more!
Author: Andrew Shvarts
Series: Royal Bastards #1, 2
Read: March 25th, 26th, 2019
Reason Why: Sounded good, and they're Prequel & Sequel Challenge 2019 Books!
Published: May 30th 2017, June 5th 2018
City of Bastards: