Book: The Last Namsara (Iskari 1) by Kristen Ciccarelli
Release Date: October 3rd 2017
Tags: Young Adult / High Fantasy / Fantasy / Dragons
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
I received a copy through Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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.
I heard about The Last Namsara when the Dutch Publisher Blossom Books let known that they would be translating and publishing this book around the same time as the English release. It has dragons. When I saw the book on Netgalley after that, I just had to request it.
While I do think this book has its flaws, overall I really enjoyed it. One of the reasons for this was the world. I loved the idea and the building of it. The stories that were told after each story were not boring to read and added to the world building and the plot of the story. It gave us an idea of the background of the current world. It did slightly pull the pace out of the story when it was a longer one, but overall the book wasn’t super fast to begin with so that didn’t bother me as much.
Of course dragons is what drew me to this book initially. I love dragons. And I especially love fierce dragons. There are some fierce dragons in this. But I needed more dragons. More fierceness. I think the start up of the dragons was good. But as the plot turned a bit too much towards the romance in the end, the dragons fell a bit away. Scenes that I was expecting to see regarding dragon calling and training to ride dragons were casually mentioned. After everything these dragons went through I can’t imagine that they would be so meek to the humans. I at least expected someone’s hand to be bitten off. At the very least.
As mentioned the book had a good start and while I do not dislike the ending, I do think that it went too much towards the romance. I don’t dislike the pairing in this book, at all, but I think it could have slowed down a bit more or could have given more room to the dragons incorporated into the plot.
Having said that, I did truly enjoy the characters. There is something about Asha that instantly appealed to me. She has a strength of character, and despite what has happened, she has accepted what she needs to do. She tries to harden herself but can’t quite deny that she has feelings for a slave. It is a shame though that she refers to him as slave for most of the book while she knew his name. I understand why but it gives a bit of a skewed feeling towards their romance. Torwin as a character was a great asset. But I also really liked Asha’s brother who was being underestimated by even his own sister.
Overall I think The Last Namsara is a good start to a fantasy series and of a debut author with a story and a world that has a lot of room to grow into something great.