Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts
Release date: May 30, 2017
An e-galley was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for review consideration.
Summary: 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 . . .
When did I stop reading?: After chapter 4, about 45 pages in.
Why did I stop reading?: There were too many problems.
The Long(er) Review: Right from the start, I noticed how modern the language sounded for a book set in a fantasy world. Of course fantasy worlds can be equivalent to ours in technological, linguistic, and temporal advancement, but most aren't (primarily because to make something a fantasy, it needs to be removed and different enough from our world). Character said things like, "Nope," "do our thing," "ugh," and "sis."
In addition, when Lyriana made her appearance, her dialogue sounded so fake. She sounded like some guy's idea of what a cheerful, kind teenage girl would sound like.
I wasn't invested enough in Tilla and Jax to want to ignore these problems and keep reading. So not worth your time.