Author: Andrew Shvarts
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Series: Royal Bastards # 2
Hardcover, 320 Pages
Publication: June 5, 2018 by Disney-Hyperion
Source: I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for a honest review.
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 treaso
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.
There are plenty of books featuring princesses, princes, villains and lost heirs. And that’s all great stuff, but sometimes don’t you just find the side-background characters of a story more interesting? Like Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter or Mr. Tumnus from The Lion, Witch and The Wardrobe…what if they were the main character of the story? I think some of the most fascinating characters are the one that are normally overlooked, which is why Shvarts’s series stands out in a sea of Young Adult Fantasy. The book is centered on the nobility’s bastard children. When I first heard about Royal Bastards, the first book in the series..I thought “that is brilliant!”. It was fresh, new…something that hasn’t been done before (or at least something I’ve never read before). I read and enjoyed Royal Bastards last year and Shvarts’s second installment, City of Bastards is no exception. It was another fun and action-packed novel that is just as good, if not better than its predecessor.
City of Bastards takes place a few weeks after the events of Royal Bastards, Tilla and Co have brought Princess Lyriana safely home to LightSpire and has the protection/sanctuary of King Leopold as thanks. It has always been Tilla’s dream to see the city of LightSpire, to dine in the banquet hall and to dress up in the resplendent dresses. But LightSpire wasn’t anything like Tilla pictured with danger around every corner; not to mention the rumors beyond the wall of her father’s troop making their way towards Lightspire with an arsenal of their own apostate mages in tow.
If you read Royal Bastards last year, you knew how explosive and game-changing the ending was. I didn’t think Shvarts could top that but I was so wrong because Shvarts upped the stakes in City of Bastards and the ending…the ending was a…Total. Crazy. Game. Changer. I loved the surprises and unexpectedness of it all. But don’t worry the trademark humor found in the first book is in abundance and action, so much action. Readers will never be bored because there was so much to see and learn and the action and mystery will have you at the edge of your seat as Tilla, Lyriana, and Zell search for a killer and prevent an assassination attempt.
Overall, City of Bastards was an solid and great follow-up to Royal Bastards. I loved that we got to be in a different city and to learn more about the world and politics. As I mentioned earlier, the ending changes everything for the characters and I can’t wait to see what Shvarts has planned for the series. And if these two books are anything to go buy, I know it’s going to be shocking and phenomenal. Just how I like it! I highly recommend the Royal Bastards series, if you’re looking for a fun, high-octane book to get lost in, this series is the answer.