I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Disney Hyperion on June 5, 2018
Source: the publisher
Tilla, bastard of House Kent, has it made. Safe from her murderous father in the dazzling capital of Lightspire, she lives a life of luxury under the protection of the Volaris King, alongside her boyfriend Zell and best friend, Princess Lyriana.
So why isn’t she happy? Maybe it’s the whispers and stares that follow her wherever she goes, as the daughter of the traitor waging war against Lightspire. Or maybe it’s the memories of her beloved brother, Jax, who lies cold in his grave even as she tries to settle into a life in the city's prestigious University.
Then, Tilla stumbles upon the body of a classmate, a friend. The authorities are quick to rule it a suicide and sweep it under the rug, but when Tilla herself is attacked by a mysterious man with terrifying powers, she’s convinced of a conspiracy. Her friends beg her to stay silent; what she's suggesting is impossible... and treasonous.
But Tilla can't, won't, let it go. And the deeper she digs, the more questions she uncovers. How is the West beating the supposedly invincible Lightspire Mages in battle? Is it connected to the shadowy cult wreaking havoc in Lightspire? Nothing is as it seems in the glorious capital, and Tilla’s presence might just be the spark that sets the Kingdom aflame.
CITY OF BASTARDS GETS ALL THE STARS!!!!!! SO MANY STARS!!!!!! SO GOOD!!!!!! WHAT EVEN JUST HAPPENED HOLY CRAP!!!!!!!!!!
This was my immediate reaction on Twitter upon finishing City of Bastards. And then this happened:
I just finished this book a few days ago and…. Yeah, I still haven’t processed everything that happened and I’m still in shock and I truly don’t know if I can articulate my feelings in regards to this book. So bear with me!
I really loved Royal Bastards, so I had high hopes for this one, but I was also cautious going into it because I didn’t know if this was meant to be a duology or a trilogy, and I feared Second Book Syndrome. After finishing the book, I discovered it’s going to be a trilogy; however, there isn’t a single trace of Second Book Syndrome in this book. It exceeded my expectations and was EVEN BETTER than Royal Bastards! The writing was epic, the characters had awesome stories and growth, and the world building was incredible.
I absolutely adore Tilla. She’s come so far, yet has so far to go. I liked that she was so conflicted over being in Lightspire – she wanted to enjoy it, yet she missed home. It felt realistic. Through it all, she stayed true to herself and trusted her instincts. I really liked Ellarion and the easy friendship (maybe more?) he and Tilla formed. He was funny, sarcastic and strong. The way his story ended was heartbreaking, though… I’m anxious to see what it means for him in the third and final book.
I wasn’t as big a fan of Zell this book, and I’m not sure why. I think it was a combination of things, some of which I can’t discuss because spoilers. Maybe part of it was because I liked Ellarion so much and kind of shipped him and Tilla instead.
Lyriana probably had the most character development/growth out of everyone because of everything she went through. My heart broke for her throughout the book, but especially at the end. Like with Ellarion, I’m anxious to see what it will mean for her in book three.
Right off the bat, I REALLY like Markiska. Everything about her friendship with Tilla broke a lot of YA stereotypes and it was just epic. She was also such a badass! And then… The way her story ended… Grrr!!!
I also want to mention Marlo, because I adored him and Garrus. Also, Marlo reminded me of someone from the Karen Chance/Cassie Palmer books, and I can’t quite put my finger on who now… Or maybe he reminds me of Willy the Snitch from Buffy, except more badass… Still trying to figure this one out! Either way, I loved his character and the way his story ended!
I don’t know why, but I had major The Magicians vibes while reading this. I haven’t read the books, and only watched part of season one, but the comparison kept popping into my head – something about the “University” kept triggering the comparison. I’m still confused by this, but I’ll throw it out there for anyone who DOES like The Magicians – this book may interest you because of that!
The ending of this book was… I just… I can’t. I have no words. It was… explosive (hahaha). It was epic. It was crazy and insane. It was shocking and jaw-dropping… I just can’t. I can’t think of a better way to explain it. It was just… Whoa. And I REALLY NEED BOOK THREE RIGHT NOW PLEASE AND THANK YOU!!!!! I seriously don’t know if I can wait until 2019!!! *SOBS!!!!!!*
Overall, I really, really, REALLY enjoyed this book. It was even better than book one, and exceeded my expectations. It was more intense with higher stakes, and each character had more to lose. Highly recommend this for fans of Royal Bastards (you’re gonna LOVE IT even more than book one), The Magicians (still not sure about this comparison, but I’m still mentioning it), and fans of royalty, court life, magical universities and mystery/intrigue.