Series Review: Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:


Synopsis for Royal Bastards (from Goodreads):

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 . . .


Author: Andrew Shvarts
Series: Royal Bastards
# of Books: 3 (Full Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Magic, Adventure, Action, Romance
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: May 2017 – June 2019
Source & Format: Scribd–Audiobook (#1-#2); Public Library–Audiobook (#3)


Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I thought this was a very cool idea when I saw this series on Scribd. I was looking for another audiobook series to start and had been having good luck with fantasy audiobooks. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get the 3rd book in before my Scribd trial ended so it was some time between (3 years) the time I read City of Bastards (#2) and War of the Bastards (#3).

The Concept / The World:

I’ll admit I’m not the biggest magic fan. I like logic and order and sometimes with magic there is always that “one exception”. The magic here made sense to me; it isn’t overly complicated.

The world overall is easy to follow along with. I liked that there were political elements too the story as well.

The Plot:

I enjoyed this, I just didn’t love it. Nothing really stood out even though we do have betrayals and fight scenes along the way. I felt like this series coasted for the most part, slowly building and laying down some foundations. I always hoped that the next sequel would be more exciting and use those building blocks more effectively, but it just never reached that peak for me.

The Characters:

I didn’t love Tilla but I didn’t hate her either. She has some learning and growing up to do but I think she does evolve as the story progresses. The rest of the group falls a little onto the cliché side but, again, they evolve from the situations they find themselves in and that’s all I can ask for. But I wouldn’t say they are overly complex or layered characters by any means.

The Romance:

A good romance or two can save a so-so plotline for me but nothing really captured my heart in this series.

My Audiobook Experience:

The production itself is good. It was an easy listen and I think part of the reason I ended up finishing the series was because it was easy to listen to. I’m not sure if reading the text would have captured my attention in the same way.

Series Rating: 3/5

Royal Bastards 3/5 | City of Bastards 3/5 | War of the Bastards 3/5


I think this series would be a great stepping stone for someone trying to get into the YA fantasy genre from a middle grade level. It isn’t an overly complicated series to follow along with and I think that will appeal to readers who want a straightforward story with a solid cast and plot line.

Read if You Like: like fantasy series
Avoid if You: want more action, want more romance

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