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The Kings And Queens Of Promise

Andrew Shvarts’s bastard heroes are back in City of Bastards, the second book in his Royal Bastards series.

The Kings And Queens Of Promise

BOOK REPORT for City of Bastards (Royal Bastards #2) by Andrew Shvarts

Cover Story: Eye in the Sky
BFF Charm: Meh
Swoonworthy Scale: 4
Talky Talk: More1, More2, More3
Bonus Factor: Found Family
Anti-Bonus Factor: Bridge Book-ish
Relationship Status: Still Better as Friends

Danger, Will Robinson! City of Bastards is the second book in the Royal Bastards series. If you have not read the first book—Royal Bastards—turn away now. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. If you have read the books, however, feel free to continue below.

Cover Story: Eye in the Sky

I know this isn’t Mordor, but it’s like Sauron’s slightly less evil cousin took over this city’s tallest tower and tried to follow in Sauron’s footsteps.

The Deal:

After thwarting her traitorous father, Tilla, bastard-born daughter of Lord Kent, and the remaining members of her merry band of outcasts—Princess Lyriana, Zell, and Lyriana’s cousin Ellarion—head to Lightspire, the seat of royalty in their country. Tilla’s worried about how she’ll be received, considering who her father is and what he’s done, but the king is willing to overlook her parentage thanks to her friendship with Lyriana. (The rest of the city will just have to deal, although some of them deal more quietly than others.)

Tilla thinks they’re safe inside the city’s gates, that life has finally become everything she always longed for as a child. But rebellions aren’t always easy to quell, and even the most secure of cities have their weak spots.

BFF Charm: Meh

The fact that Tilla blows off class to drink and goof off rubbed me the wrong way in Royal Bastards, and although she grew on me by the end of the novel, she starts City of Bastards seemingly having fallen back into old ways. I would have liked to see a bit more growth, character-wise. She’s a strong, capable young woman with a lot to offer, and it’s a bit frustrating that she never lives up to her potential.

Swoonworthy Scale: 4

Tilla and Zell really hit it off in Royal Bastards, and they were going strong at the beginning of City of Bastards. But they both go through some serious life changes in the second book, and what seemed like a strong foundation began to show some wear and tear.

Talky Talk: More1, More2, More3

City of Bastards is a quick, entertaining read that answers some of the questions we readers were left with at the end of Royal Bastards—but also introduces more1. I appreciate that Shvarts included more2 world-building in this sequel, but am still much more fascinated about the history of the world than the current rebellion. I would also have appreciated more3 character growth, but this is a second book in what I assume will be a trilogy (see Anti-Bonus Factor: Bridge Book below).

Bonus Factor: Found Family

Thanks to her upbringing, Tilla never really knew what it was like to have a true family. When the group arrives in Lightspire, she finally begins to understand what’s so special about families. Her found family is night and day better than any real one she ever might have glimpsed as a child.

Anti-Bonus Factor: Bridge Book-ish

We definitely got more world-building elements in City of Bastards, but the plot still felt a little like it was only leading from Royal Bastards to whatever the third book will be called.

Relationship Status: Still Better as Friends

Although our second date went much better than the first, Book, I still felt a lack of swoony chemistry. I honestly think we’re better off as friends, and I’m not just saying that to get rid of you.

Literary Matchmaking:

  

● Obviously, if you haven’t read Royal Bastards, the first book in this series, you need to do so.

● Another fantasy series that mixes elements of modernity with old-fashioned themes is Mary E. Pearson’s Remnant Chronicles, starting with The Kiss of Deception.

● And if you like your fantasies featuring found families and rebellions, check out Alwyn Hamilton’s Rebel of the Sands, the first in the Rebel of the Sands trilogy.

 

FTC Full Disclosure: I got a copy of this book from Disney-Hyperion, but received neither a private dance party with Tom Hiddleston nor money in exchange for this review. City of Bastards is available now.

Mandy Curtis's photo About the Author: Mandy is a small town girl living in a nerdy world, or—if you want to get literal—an editor/writer living in Austin, TX. In addition to yearning for YA books—the more dystopian or fantastical, the better—she can also be found swooning over superheroes, dreaming of The Doctor and grinning at GIFs.
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