This review is based on a complimentary book I received from Edelweiss+. It is an honest and voluntary review. The complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli
Series: Iskari #1
Genres: Fantasy, young adult
Release Date: October 3, 2017
Format: ARC, E-book
Length: 10 hours
Purchase at: Amazon ◊ Barnes & Noble ◊ Book Depository ◊ Google Play ◊ Kobo ◊ IndieBound ◊ Books-A-Million ◊ iBooks ◊ Audible
In the beginning, there was the Namsara: the child of sky and spirit, who carried love and laughter wherever he went. But where there is light, there must be dark—and so there was also the Iskari. The child of blood and moonlight. The destroyer. The death bringer.
These are the legends that Asha, daughter of the king of Firgaard, has grown up hearing in hushed whispers, drawn to the forbidden figures of the past. But it isn’t until she becomes the fiercest, most feared dragon slayer in the land that she takes on the role of the next Iskari—a lonely destiny that leaves her feeling more like a weapon than a girl.
Asha conquers each dragon and brings its head to the king, but no kill can free her from the shackles that await at home: her betrothal to the cruel commandant, a man who holds the truth about her nature in his palm. When she’s offered the chance to gain her freedom in exchange for the life of the most powerful dragon in Firgaard, she finds that there may be more truth to the ancient stories than she ever could have expected. With the help of a secret friend—a slave boy from her betrothed’s household—Asha must shed the layers of her Iskari bondage and open her heart to love, light, and a truth that has been kept from her.
The Story behind The Last Namsara
Asha lured the dragon with a story
In The Last Namsara, the main character Asha grew up being hated by her people. She was the daughter of the Dragon King, a princess, but it also was because of her that her city was burned, her mother was killed, and she was disfigured. It was because of her that the telling of stories became forbidden. For to tell a dragon a story gave it the power of fire, without the stories dragons were left without dragonfire. Asha had spoken stories to the Dragons and this folly, that was since outlawed, brought on all the destruction. Or so she was told. Her recollection of the events that took place are fuzzy in her memories. What she clearly remembers is the burning of her flesh and her barely surviving the poisoning she received from the dragonfire. Although she survived, she was left with a reminder, a burn scar that started from her forehead and ran all the way down her left side.
I really enjoyed the story of how this world was created and how Namsara and Iskari came to be. It is beautiful and tragic. In this world, there needed to be balance. So, in the beginning the Old One created Namsara, beloved by all, who brought laughter and love. He also created Iskari who brought only destruction, death, and life taker. Or so the legend goes. After being badly burned and barely surviving, Asha received the moniker of Iskari and has spent a better part of her life trying to right her wrongs. Over time, Asha took strength from the citizens hate. She was the Iskari – she owned it and makes no apologies. Unfortunately, she made no apologies because she had come to believe that she was corrupt, hideous and horrible.
Asha thought she was wicked and no one had killed as many dragons as she had. She thought that killing the dragons was a way to show the people that she was sorry, but no matter how many she killed it never made a difference to them. Asha was reviled by all but her cousin and brother and even they were not allowed to interact with her that often. The only person who dared openly touch her was her betrothed, Jarek, and he was a real piece of work. I loathe this character entirely! Asha’s marriage to Jarek was impending and she wanted nothing more than to be freed from her contract with him.
It was the desire to escape her soon-to-be marriage that made Asha desperate enough to take on a task that was suicidal. If she was successful in her quest then there was a chance that she could escape marriage to Jarek and to Asha that itself was worth all the risks. It was no easy task though and her chances seemed doomed from the start. Nothing went the way Asha had anticipated and soon she found that she had an unlikely friend, someone with whom she should have never had any type of relationship with, a slave from her betrothed’s household. When it seemed as if nothing was going to plan and the odds were stacked against her, Asha found the courage to face the truth of her past. A truth that would change everything that Asha believed to be right and with this knowledge she would change the course of history.
The Last Namsara is a thrilling fantasy filled with dragons, political subterfuge, slavery, and a budding romance. The romance was more like a sweet little puppy dog romance, nothing too in-depth. Honestly, I could have done without it, but it was nice nonetheless. There were prophecies that came into play and I always enjoy that. I loved the dragons throughout this story. Amazing! It was not just that there were dragons but that they were an integral part to the story and their part was written so well. Age-old stories played a big role and speaking the stories out loud lured the dragons while giving them the power of dragonfire. So very cool! The magic system in this world is also fabulous, it revolves around the power of words and stories, what bibliophile doesn’t love that?! The ending of this story was emotional and at the same time was out of this world and I cannot wait for the next installment in this series! All I can say about this debut novel is whoooo hooooooooo!!
*Thank you to Edelweiss+ & HarperTeen for this eARC of The Last Namsara*
*The quote above was taken from an ARC and is subject to change upon publication.