From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—As the bastard daughter of Lord Kent of the Western Province, Tillandra has always lived between two worlds, that of the nobility, where she strives for recognition and acceptance, and that of her stablehand half brother Jax, where she is free to swill wine and run wild. When Princess Lyriana, daughter of the royal family to whom Tilla's father was forced to swear allegiance, disregards social etiquette by sitting at the Bastards Table during a banquet to honor her visit, Tilla is thrown into the company of the model of a perfect royal daughter, along with fellow bastards Zell, a barbarian Zitochi warrior from the north country, and bookish Miles. When this ragtag group of misfits encounter a sinister plot to overthrow the royal family, they are catapulted into a life-and-death mission to save Princess Lyriana, as well as themselves, and rescue the kingdom from an inevitable and bloody civil war. Elements such as magic and deadly mythical creatures will be familiar to fans of the fantasy genre, but the book's hurried plot and crass language paint a confused picture and give the narrative a disjointed feel. The result is a novel that strives to include every possible element of the genre, rather than a captivating fantasy adventure. VERDICT A strictly additional purchase.—Sarah Lorraine, J. Sterling Morton High School, Cicero, IL
"A solid, refreshingly diverse fantasy adventure."
"Shvarts creates a diverse world with distinct geography and subcultures for this series opener Adventure-loving fantasy readers will eat it up."
"Shvart's action-packed debut champions diversity, counsels perseverance, and highlights the human cost of war. The pace is zippy, Shvart's mythology is rich, and...the conclusion packs thrills and a serious emotional wallop."―Publisher's Weekly
"Jon Snow won't be the only 'bastard' whose name readers will remember."
"Engrossing. The characters are well drawn, and the action moves quickly and with plenty of twists and turns."
"We cannot wait for this high-stakes, edge of your seat fantasy."