Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Review: ROYAL BASTARDS by Andrew Shvarts

Review: ROYAL BASTARDS by Andrew Shvarts

"You're proud of me...because I defied you?"

"Yes. There's no greater courage than defying your own."


This book is so bad-ass. I said that when I was only 80 pages in and everything was going wrong and I was describing the book to a co-worker. I still say that now after finishing!

One of the reasons I was first intrigued by Andrew Shvarts' debut novel ROYAL BASTARDS was because it was comped to SIX OF CROWS by Leigh Bardugo. Okay, yes, sign me up!! When I finally sat down to start reading and read the summary again, I just couldn't see the comparison. That's because I was expecting it to comp in a heist sense. After reading this? Despite not seeming so in the summary, the books are DEFINITELY in the same wheelhouse. Both feature a group of teens on the run trying to save someone--and they all have bounties on their heads. Both have--tasks, for lack of a better world--that can upend the world if not carried out. And, of course, just the gritty feel to it all. So if you like SIX OF CROWS? Yeah, I think you're going to like ROYAL BASTARDS, too.

There's danger. Heartache. Betrayal. First love. Friendship. Questions of loyalty. So many good things that keep you reading!

The book kicks into high gear pretty fast. Tilla, a family friend, Miles, and a newcomer to the group, a dangerous Zitochi warrior named Zell are all sitting at the table designated for bastard children in the royal hall. When the visiting Princess Lyriana arrives, she opts not to sit with her uncle the Royal Archmagus or Tilla's father--the realm's king. Instead, she sits with the bastards despite the improperness of it. While there, she talks about a superstition that if you dip your feet into two different oceans, you'll have good luck. She laments the fact that her uncle won't let her stop to do this while she's visiting, and the group decide to sneak out in the evening to go to the ocean (after picking up Tilla's half-brother Jax, who is a stableboy).

However, while there, everything goes wrong. The group witnesses their parents murder the Royal Archmagus and find out that Zell's brother was sent to kill Lyriana. They're trying to revive a long-dead rebellion against Lyriana's father, the king of all the realms, and have figured out a way to torture mages, steal their rings, and use them as weapons. The bastards are discovered and the group must flee for their lives. If they can get Lyriana home, she can promise them safety...but does delivering her home mean betraying their families and realm?

So good. Sooo good. And no spoilers, of course, but a couple of these characters change so much and really surprise you! There's one character I'm completely obsessed with by the end because, again--super bad-ass things have scoped this person--but ahhh, the spoilers!!! I also liked the slower burn of the romance and the way it felt very natural.

At times, Shvarts made my skin crawl. He has creatures reminiscent of spiders--and deadly, too. Let me tell you, if I had a superpower, it would be an Empath. When I read, I pick up characteristics of the characters or world. Last week, I was reading about a paranoid character, so I was super paranoid and hearing things when there was nothing. After this scene?? When I got up to do laundry after reading that scene, I did NOT want to be alone in the dark basement. And when I was outside later that day on the patio, and I heard the drip, drip, drip of the air conditioners? Definitely still shivers!!! I skimmed past most of the scene's visuals, too, but it still traumatized me a bit. ^.~

At times, the book felt very modern. It may take place in modern times and not medieval times, despite the nature of the setting. The language was very modern, from words such as "the hottest couple" to the sneaky drinking games away from adult eyes to the frank talk of sex and not saving oneself. It just felt very "current" at times. Not that there's anything wrong with that! But it gave me pause as to when this was taking place. Now I'm really curious!

I really hope there's a sequel in the works. Everything is so open-ended that it almost feels as though there has to be, but nothing has been announced yet. But oh, I'm ready for more and can't say goodbye to this world just yet!

ROYAL BASTARDS was published on May 30, 2017 by Disney-Hyperion.

From This Author - Bonnie Lynn Wagner

Bonnie Lynn Wagner has been a reader for as long as she can remember. Friends frequently come to her for book recommendations, and eventually, she decided to start reviewing books in order to share... (read more about this author)

BWW Review: THE PRINCE AND THE DRESSMAKER by Jen Wang -- soon to be a movie musical from Robert Lopez & Kristen Anderson-Lopez!
February 21, 2020

Yesterday, Playbill broke the news that the critically acclaimed graphic novel THE PRINCE AND THE DRESSMAKER by Jen Wang will be the next project for husband-wife team Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, who previously worked together on the music for Disney's Frozen, Coco, and Frozen 2. Robert is a two-time EGOT winner -- he is the youngest to win the award, to have won it in the shortest amount of time, and to have won it more than once. He broken out with his work co-writing Avenue Q and The Book of Mormon.

VIDEO: Trailer Drops For Best Selling Romance Novel AFTER WE COLLIDED at Anna Todd
February 18, 2020

VIDEO: Official Movie Trailer for #1 New York Times Best Seller THE SECRET by Rhonda Byrne
February 17, 2020

THE SECRET turns 15 next year, and has sold over 30 million copies. It spawned more titles such as THE POWER and THE MAGIC, as well as daily Secret teachings and DVDs on the power of positive thinking. Now, it's about to be a movie from One Media starring Katie Holmes (Dawson's Creek) and Jerry O'Connell (Sliders, Stand By Me). The movie hits theaters on April 17th, and the first trailer just released.

BWW Review: CRAZY CUPID LOVE by Amanda Heger (Grab it FREE for a Limited Time!)
February 14, 2020

In a world where Cupids have been exposed and are frequently hired to make love matches, Eliza Herman feels extremely unlucky. She has more magic than any other Cupid, but she's a huge klutz and can't wield it. She was born on the most auspicious of all days, Valentine's Day, but doesn't believe in True Love with a Capital L. And to top it all off, she's unlucky. Her father just had a heart attack and the family business is in trouble, so Eliza has to get a provisional license to become a Cupid...which means asking Jake Sanders to be her mentor. Jake Sanders, her childhood best friend, her first crush, and now, the guy she accidentally enchanted into infatuation...

BWW Review: COME TUMBLING DOWN by Seanan McGuire
February 10, 2020

Seanan McGuire's award-winning series Wayward Children is one such series. Every book is a delight, something original to be cherished and held. Some are terrifying and bleak, while others are full of wonder and whimsy. Readers finish these books and wish there truly were other words to explore so they don't have to go back to the mundane.