Monday, January 15, 2018

Review: The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli

Title: The Last Namsara  
Author: Kristen Ciccarelli
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: October 3, 2017
Format: Hardcover 

Page Count: 432


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. (taken from

Once there was a girl who was drawn to wicked things. Things like forbidden, ancient stories. 

Gah, that ending was just lovely. If you enjoyed the How to Train Your Dragon movies and The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh, then you simply must give this book a chance because it's a fascinating combination of the two.

Asha has spent her life hunting down dragons ever since the greatest of them all permanently scarred her body and face with his toxic flames. She knows everyone in her city blames her for the destruction the First Dragon caused when he attacked, and she's used to it. Kind of. However, when she's coerced into marriage with a ruthless brute, things start to unravel. There are more secrets lying in her father's palace than she ever dreamed.

Alright, so we have (a) dragons, (b) a badass princess, (c) forbidden romance, and (d) political intrigue. What's not to love about this plot?

The worldbuilding is such fun. I had no idea The Last Namsara took place in a Middle-Eastern inspired land, and I had a great time learning about the culture and history of Asha's realm. Filled to the brim with ancient lore, this novel is far from lacking in the imagination department. Plus, did I mention DRAGONS.

The characters are equally as strong. Asha did rub me the wrong way at first with her backward ideas about slaves and killing, but as the story progresses, her character blossoms wonderfully. At 432 pages, this novel is no short read, so keep that in mind as you start it. There's so much more around the corner if you just keep chugging through the slower parts. I definitely enjoyed the latter half of the story much more than the first.

The storyline might not be packed with shocking plot twists, but it is thoroughly entertaining. You'll get a kick out of Asha's spunk, her attraction to Torwin (a slave from her bethrothed's household), and of course the dragons she is so desperate to destroy.

If you're in need of a quality fantasy read, I'd highly recommend you give this one a shot. There are lots of great ideas in The Last Namsara, so even if you find parts of the story lacking, you'll have a fun ride anyway.

Then I'm there.