Review: City of Bastards
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley.
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.
My Rating: 4 Stars
I truly enjoyed this sequel. After reading Royal Bastards, I wanted to see what happened to Tilla, Zell, and Lyriana. They escaped Lord Kent and this book starts six months later. Tilla and Lyriana are students at University and Zell is working as a Watchman. It seems as if everyone should be happy and thriving since they've finally made it to Lightspire where they were trying to get to right? But no, none of them have quite shed what happened to them in the West. The betrayal, the death, and all the lost they have suffered. But all of them are pretending to be okay and coping in their own separate ways. The story starts a bit slow but gets right into the action with the death of Tilla's friend and roommate. Tilla knows that it is not a suicide like the authorities are trying to say but she is still trying to make herself small and play by the rules that have been set because she truly thinks that her not doing so before is the reason she lost her brother so she goes along with the narrative the authorities are spinning. I understood why Tilla was behaving the way she was but I didn't like this Tilla. I wanted the spunky, fierce girl back who did what was right because it was right and not because she was trying to keep up this facade. But I also did not enjoy the Tilla that put herself into harms way the way she started doing towards the middle of the book. She was not making smart life choices at that point and I was frustrated with that. I was glad when she finally stopped doing that. She finally found herself again by the end of the book.
I thought the characters were well done in this book. I still enjoyed Tilla, Lyriana, and Zell immensely. I loved seeing more of Ellarion and learning that he was more than just a flirt and a drinker. I liked that Galen reappeared and is on their side. I also liked the introduction of some new characters such as Marlo and Garrus and Aurelia. I cannot wait to see these three play a bigger role in the third book. Just when I thought that Lord Kent and Miles could not get any worse, they do. The bad guys in this book make you feel as if there is no more hope and that is a true talent. The minor characters and the minor plots were well done as well.
I can usually predict what's going to happen next but this book actually surprised me. I did not see the plot twist in this one. I did not see it ending like that at all. It was so devastating and sad all that happened because of Lord Kent's bid for power. This book had me on the edge of my seat and I cannot wait for the third book to see how this all turns out. I will be not so patently waiting until 2019 for the third installment.