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 darkness—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 learning 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.
I read this book almost a month ago, and it has stuck with me ever since! This book was originally intended to be a Buddy Read, one that I read on a schedule with my dear friend Jenny O’, but that went straight out the window as soon as I started the book! 5 chapters quickly turned into 10. The night got darker and the hour got later, but I could not stop reading. THAT is how good this book is.
Asha was an interesting hero and I found myself fully invested in her future, right out the gate. Not only is Asha a badass dragon hunter, but she is a complex character. Asha’s family dynamic with her brother Dax and cousin Safire was really endearing, and Safire was a badass in her own right. The forbidden romance between Asha and Torwin, her betrothed’s slave, was hott and spicy!
Kristen Ciccarelli’s writing and world building felt effortless. Asha’s world is full of magic and myth, and it was glorious. I loved the back and forth between the main action in the chapters and the side-story/history chapters. It was an interesting way to build the world and continue moving the story forward. I particularly loved the folkloric elements of these side-story/history chapters. I absolutely cried when I read Willa’s Story, a tragic love story about a farmer’s daughter who was fated to be with the first Namsara:
“My love,” she whispered, “I’ll wait for you at Death’s gate.”
The wind carried her words to Elorma, who ran to the girl he loved. But before he could reach her, Willa’s heart stopped beating. Death, the thief, stole her away…
But when Willa arrived at Death’s gate, she planted her feet and looked back to the land of the living. Souls were not permitted to linger at the gate, so Death himself came out to sway her.
She was unmoved.
He sent a sweeping cold to freeze the love in her heart – but Willa didn’t budge.
He sent a raging fire to burn away her memories – but Willa held them fast.
He sent a wind as strong as the sea to force her through – but Willa grabbed hold of the bars and wouldn’t let go.
So Death gave up and left her alone, thinking time itself would wear her away. But Willa’s loyalty never wavered. She waited until Elorma himself stepped up to the gate, a lifetime later, and the moment he did, she let go of the bars.
“What took you so long?” she asked. And then, taking his hand in hers, Willa walked her beloved into death.
Please pick up this book and fall in love with it as much as I did! The Last Namsara is such an easy and entertaining read. Kristen Ciccarelli has carved out her own world and her own foothold in the fantasy genre. The Last Namsara is absolutely one of my favorite books of Fall!
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
Title: The Last Namsara (Iskari #1)
Publisher: HarperTeen (October 3, 2017)
Genre: Fantasy, Fairy Tales & Folklore, Young Adult, Magic, Teen, Romance, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Read… over the course of a weekend while… dreaming about dragons.
Purchase your copy here.
Author: Kristen Ciccarelli