Kristen Ciccarelli’s debut fantasy explores an intricately woven world of deception, inner darkness, and dragons that fantasy fans won’t be able to resist. 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.
Delicious slow burn!
This book was such a slow burn it was agonizingly delicious. I was impatient for the story as well as Asha’s and Torwin’s relationship to progress but at the same time I never wanted it to end. This is the first book where I have actually liked and appreciated how long it took these characters to accomplish something because we had to see their character development happen before they could start to exact some change in the storyline.
I loved the stories that explain the past, explain the history of his world. It was like getting little insights into unspoken part of this world. It was especially precious because of the importance that stories play into this fantasy world. Stories are forbidden because they corrupt souls and destroy people so it was like I was sharing a secret with the book.
I feel like Asha was the only character that was truly fleshed out in this book.The only thing I disliked about Asha is the fact that she is so small minded for lack of a better word. She blindly believes and thinks it is right to believe in the old ways and everything that has come before. It is wonderful to watch her change as she grows to care about a certain few. So while I liked how badass Asha was at the beginning, I much preferred the person she became by the end.
I thought the book was going to end on a cliffhanger but it ended quite nicely. I’m almost worried at how well it ended… I don’t quite know where the story is going to go from here because there is so much possibility. There are so many questions that I need answered and so many more kisses that I need to read!
So overall I really liked this book and I will definitely be picking up The Caged Queen when it come out. I can’t wait to see where the story goes and if the theories I have are correct. If you love YA fantasy, magic, dragons, stories and a badass female character then you definitely have to check out this book.