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 lie 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.
Genre: YA Epic Fantasy
Title: City of Bastards
Series: Royal Bastards #2
Author: Andrew Shvarts
This was not an easy read to get into in the beginning. It starts off where we’d left our bastard heroes, clinging to hope and struggling to get over the massive loss they suffered in the kingdom they now flee from. Princess Lyriana takes them in, and as her savior, the king openly welcomes Tilla. Our heroine’s pain was palpable, but she hides it away and decides to live in denial that everything is fine. It was hard for me to swallow at first because she pretty much checked out, and her boyfriend was a very proud warrior whose people had yet to fall under the foot of Lyriana’s father, but I really didn’t like seeing her ask him to bend the knee or look the other way. Like, if she wants to pretend everything was fine and turn into the little princess her bastard status never allowed her, then fine, but did she really have to make Zell do it, too? I didn’t think that was right. It’s no wonder he went crazy (just kidding, but still).
The writing was pretty good, the obvious YA-style that lets you know what genre you’re reading at any given time. I liked that it was easy to take in and follow, and I thought the action scenes were great. The plot felt a little slow in the beginning because of Tilla’s constant worrying about the judgmental people she felt stuck with, but by the near end, I was thoroughly entertained. I thought it was a great way to end the installment. As an epic fantasy, I thought the book did pretty good, but the romance bit was a little wobbly for me. They say there’s always one person who will be in love more than the other, and that totally popped up in my head when I read this. It’s obvious Zell loves her more than she loves him, but I can’t fully judge her on it just yet, considering how much of a bleeding wound she was in this thing. Overall, I thought it was a good YA epic that a younger audience could enjoy for all its emotional angst and action.