The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli
Series: Iskari #1
Published: October 3, 2017
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 really enjoyed this book, and think that this is a promising debut from Ciccarelli. I mean, DRAGONS!!! It’s been a while since I’ve read a solid book featuring some of my favorite creatures. The world-building was wonderful and unique, with the stories and lore intertwined into the text. I agree with some other reviews I’ve seen that the backstory located within chapters, especially towards the beginning, seemed a bit clunky. There are only so many times a girl can “get distracted while staring into space and thinking about things that happened in the past” before it’s too much.
The love interest in the book was refreshing, even if it took Asha a long time to realize it was romance when it’s pretty obvious from the beginning. Torwin was a strong character by himself, without detracting from the strength and fearlessness of Asha herself. I love the high lady falling in love with a slave/guard trope. There is a lot of room for their relationship to develop in the future as the “big reveal” at the end can change a lot of their dynamic.
I definitely will be picking up the other books in this series when they come out. I’m excited to see where Asha’s journey takes her as she works to bring the stories back to Firgaard.