Published by Disney-Hyperion on May 30th 2017
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 . . .
“Game of Thrones meets Six of Crows” is the tagline for this particular book. High praise, and sadly an expectation that it cannot meet. The thing I love most about both of those books is how unpredictable they are. They keep you guessing the whole time, killing characters and making you love/hate others. This book isn’t like those. I could predict not only the big reveals but also even the smallest directions the books would turn. It completely ruined any sense of suspense, being able to tell exactly what would happen next.
See, I’m a fan of fantasies where the main characters make you feel things. Books where you start yelling at them for their decisions or squeeing when something good happens are half of the reason I love reading. This was not one of them. Beside the fact that I could predict every move NONE of these characters made an impression, made me love them like I wanted to. None of them made me care about them. Vague interest was about as far as it went.
The one thing that did make an impression was the world. I really wish there had been more detail but it seems like there may be more coming in the next book. However, I did really enjoy what I got from it and I hope there’s much more to come. The world is interesting enough to hold my attention for most of the book and probably enough to get me to read the next one even if I don’t think I would buy it.
So overall I’d give the book a big Meh. It was a mediocre fantasy trying very hard to be a stand out and failing. I enjoyed it for the world and I’d probably read another one but it won’t be finding a home on my shelves and I doubt I’ll give it a second thought. Utterly forgettable.
Thought? Feelings? Feel free to share them in the comments.
From my shelf to yours,