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Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts

Royal Bastards follows a bastard born Tilla, who finds herself witnessing a brutal crime for which, along with her companions, she is accused of. This unforeseeable event forces her to go on the run with her brother, best friend, the visiting princess and a ruthless Zitochi warrior. As rebellion and civil war begin to brew, it is up to them to warn the King, but first they have to survive the journey. With magic and dangerous beasts on every corner, this is a new fantasy series that is bound to enchant you.

Genre: Fantasy 
Ideal for Fans of: Game Of Thrones, Reign
Themes: Magic, Power, Family, Betrayal
POV: Single

Upon hearing this premise I didn't have to think twice about reading it, it simply had to happen. I have somewhat of an *obsessive* history with bastards, as the concept of illegitimate children of royals is so damn intriguing. Jon Snow and Bash from Reign, need I say more? 

The world building is incredible, I felt as though I was reading a future installment of an already established setting, let alone a debut book. A lot of fantasy books fall victim to overbearing explanations and too much world building. Yet, instead of endless pages of 'information dumping' as I like to call it, we learn snippets throughout the book and only begin to fully understand it by the end, keeping the mystery throughout. 

At the start of the story we meet an array of very dynamic characters, whom all add to the edgy feel of the novel and I was most impressed by the way they were all developed. The contrasting personalities of each member of the gang also allows you to find someone to relate to throughout the story. All these characters have incredibly intricate back stories, trust me when I tell you will be floored. The first impressions of each character are so deceitful! 

  • First, we have Tilla- the daughter of the Lord of the Western Province, who is a very realistic protagonist and her constant yearning to prove to her father that she is just as worthy as his legitimate children made a great addition to the overall plot. 
  • Jax- Tilla's brother, is the dream literary sibling we all aspire to have. He works at the castle stables and has the most well timed one liners ever, he's so charming, I couldn't handle it. 
  • Miles- Tilla's childhood friend, the smart one of the group.
  • Zell- a seemingly cold-hearted fighter with no remorse who is outcast by his family. He is hands down the most complicated character in the book, the reasoning behind his cautious personality HAD ME IN PIECES. 
A key point that will make you devour this book is that it's hilarious. It being a fantasy, I wasn't expecting so much banter! The amount of friendly shade being thrown totally enthralled me as being fluent in sass myself, I was having the best time. I mean, Jax actually says to Zell "You basically don't have emotions between 'gotta kill' and 'yay, I killed'. HOW does that not make you spit out your coffee?! 

What I appreciated the most was how progressive the plot was. Most of the characters have only just met, meaning they are unsure as to  how to act around each other or whether they can even be trusted after being forced to stick together. This comes across really well as you begin to notice their familiarity with each other increase. It is a common book trope for characters to instantly act as thought they have been drinking buddies for the past fifty years, there is none of that nonsense in Royal Bastards.

As a final point I'd like to mention the feels that will ultimately break your soul in half and send it down to hell for processing. As insane as this sounds, I became so attached to all these characters that all the plot twists and betrayals completely unhinged me. It is definitely an adventure novel as the plot focuses heavily on getting a message to the king, meaning we encounter gruesome monsters and foreign villages, the action never ends!

I cannot recommend this book enough, make sure to add it to your tbr pile and buy it here, Book Depository have free delivery. 


  1. Oh I got sent this and I am so excited to finally read it!

  2. Saw this on your book haul video and figured it was a must read, your review has convinced me I need it now!

    1. YES! I'm so happy, I hope you get a chance to read it!

  3. I was very happy with this book too! My heart goes to each and every character, and who wouldn't? They were really well fleshed-out, and their camaraderie didn't feel "forced" despite their circumstances. And Tilla is an exemplary heroine. I love her even though she hasn't got any magical powers, and the fact that she isn't special at all makes her all the more endearing. Royal Bastards is so good, I wasn't expecting it to become one of my favorites either!

    1. I agree with everything! Tilla is also very realistic, I love her! My heart absolutely broke at the end, all the twists were so clever and I need the sequel right now :)


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