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.
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What do you do when you've been lied to your entire life?
Kristen Ciccarelli's "The Last Namsara" tells the story of Asha, the formidable dragon hunting princess of Firgaard. Asha became the embodiment of Iskari, the feared god of destruction and death, following a gruesome dragon attack at a young age that left her horribly scarred and filled her with anger toward all dragons. Asha learned at this young age that storytelling was evil, as was her mother for sharing them with her, and the Old One for creating them (since they attracted dragons who also had stories to share). She grew up desiring to be her father's Iskari by killing dragons and everything that was reminiscent of the old ways. Asha learned to hate herself, skrals (Firgaard's slaves), scrublanders (a desert tribe), and her beloved cousin (a mixed race child). The Old One suddenly enters her life bearing gifts with strings attached should she not use them correctly. These gifts go against every fiber of her being, but the Old One's consequences cannot be ignored. As Asha is forced to confront her entire identity and worldview with these gifts, she begins to discover her entire world is built on numerous layers of deceit.
I enjoyed "The Last Namsara" from beginning to end and found Asha to be a relatable character. (Lets face it, we all have things we don't like about ourselves.) Asha's entire worldview (and her personal identity) was challenged by the very god her father, the Dragon King, desperately wanted her to eradicate. I loved the inserted stories throughout; they explain so much but would be hard to introduce into the storyline by themselves. I can't wait until the next book comes out ("The Caged Queen")!
My opinion is solely my own, but I do want to thank Goodreads, HarperTeen, and Kristen Ciccarelli for a copy.