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 . . .
Overall, I enjoyed this book. Though at times I found it to be boring and it did fall into a few YA tropes that I find tiresome (see below). Tilla was a pretty cool character but I felt kind of… Meh about the whole book. I liked the conflict overall but while some parts dragged, others felt too rushed. Which is saying something because this book is on the smaller side.
I was sad that Tilla didn’t end up with the princess first and foremost. I thought that would have been a really awesome twist especially since, from the synopsis and my reading of Tilla, I thought this would be an LGBTQ+ read. It wasn’t and it fell into that YA love triangle trap where Tilla likes the ‘bad boy’ character and the ‘nerdy weak guy’ character gets butt hurt and turns against HIS FRIENDS. OVER A GIRL. Like wow ok… So boring and overused.
About the Author:
Andrew Shvarts is an author of novels and video games. He has a BA in English Literature and Russian from Vassar College. He works for Pixelberry Studios as a designer, making mobile games like High School Story, Choices, and more. Andrew lives in San Jose, California, with his wife, toddler, and two kittens.