The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli (Iskari: Book 1)

8/10 Fast paced, intriguing and it really, really makes me want to have a dragon to call my own

The Last Namsara is a story about discovering the truth when it comes to yourself and others, where learning to see things as they really are rather than how you have been told they are, can be the hardest lesson of all. The Last Namsara introduces us to Asha and the world she lives in. Asha is privileged, as the daughter of the king, yet the world Asha inhabits is full of harsh realities and power plays from the elite of Firgaard.

Asha is a dragon hunter, she is known in Firgaard as the Iskari, a title that shows that she is fierce and deadly. The original Iskari was a goddess that in old tales was destruction and death. Asha is despised and feared by those she strives to protect because of events that happened when she was a child. Asha is betrothed to the monstrous Jarek but her father gives her a way out, although it is a hard task, that she may not be able to win. Asha is caught between a rock and a hard place, knowing that this may be her only way to be able to live the life she loves, but more obstacles than she realised are about to be thrown in her way.

Asha is not the only child of the king, there is also her brother Dax, who has always been seen as weak and not a good heir to the throne. Asha does have a good relationship with him, even if she doesn’t understand him. There is also her cousin Safire, who is the child of a royal and a slave, so in the eyes of Firgaard should not even exist, and due to this Safire is treated badly by those around her. Which Asha tries to intervene in, but has been indoctrinated into following the rules placed on those who are slaves.

The Last Namsara, is very fast paced and is written in a way that brings a huge amount of back story that never slows the present story down. These are presented as alternative chapters to enrich Asha’s story, showing how easily the truth can be twisted. Asha’s story is a hard one as she navigates the fine line between what she thought she knew and working out how to handle these new revelations with strength and resilience that she didn’t know she had.

I really enjoyed this book, especially the parts with the dragons and what they stand for. I was completely undone by one part of the book, which really hit a nerve. There are a lot of really good set pieces that allow the story to never feel contrived. As the characters learn what freedom really means and that you may have to rely on other people, it really hits home how isolated most of the characters have been, allowing for a very strong start to this series.
Michelle Herbert, 8/10

As a child, Asha's mother told her ancient, forbidden stories to drive away her nightmares - and the telling of them killed her. And when Asha repeated those stories, they summoned an ancient dragon which almost destroyed her city and left Asha horribly scarred.

Ever since, she has protected her city and people (and tried to make amends) by dragon slaying. And now she may have a way to both atone for the deaths she caused and to escape an arranged marriage: her father will free her in exchange for the head of Kovu, the ancient dragon.

And the only obstacle in her path is a defiant slave boy...

I found this book while completing a “what kind of book should you read next”. I answered a few questions and the Dragon in this book, is the Dragon I should have. So, you can imagine my delight when I saw the book in store and ‘squealed’ my way home with it. I always thought story telling what an art and I was right. The tale takes us into the world of Asha, or Iskari as she’s referred to by some in the book. Asha thinks stories are bad, why wouldn’t she? She remembers how the one person she loved the most died from storytelling. She remembers how the ones she loves now are haunted by the memories of the stories told and the importance of her storytelling abilities. Brought up by her father, the King of Firgaard, Asha must tell the last story to save her kingdom and her remaining loved ones; but there’s always a truth that needs to be discovered, and Asha is on the brink of finding out the answer. How bad could telling a story really be? An intriguing tale of love, faith, dragons and the power words have to create or destroy worlds and people. I read the book within a day. It’s fast paced, intriguing and it really, really makes me want to have a dragon to call my own. The tale of discovery and betrayal lies within the words and the stories we tell ourselves and the ones we love. The question is, how good of a storyteller are you? Asha finds out that those closest to her are great storytellers, but she’s even better. After all, she is the last one, or so she believes.
Snjezana Bobic, 8/10

Reviews by and Snjezana Bobic

1 positive reader review(s) for The Last Namsara

1 positive reader review(s) in total for the Iskari series


Kristen Ciccarelli's Iskari series

The Last Namsara

Iskari: Book 1

The Caged Queen

Iskari: Book 2

The Sky Weaver

Iskari: Book 4

The Last Namsara reader reviews

from UK

Can we just appreciate how B-E-A-UTIFUL this cover is? The edition that arrived in the FairyLoot box actually had some exclusive silver foiling - see my instagram photo at the bottom of this review for a peek at that edition! But I absolutely adore this cover. Asha is the daughter of the Dragon King, and her mission is to hunt and kill all dragons into extinction - why would the Dragon King want to kill all dragons? A few years previously, the first dragon, oldest of all the dragons, burned their home of Firgaarrd. Asha is given the title of Iskari; from the old stories, the character who brings about destruction. Fantasy books are my thing, completely - and having read the synopsis of this book, and hearing so much about it, it really had a lot to live up to! The plot itself I found almost to be coming to a conclusion around 60% of the way into the book, but then... plot twist! Yayyy!! This book contains many issues affecting both modern-day and historical lives; where Skral are enslaved by the Draksors, and our protagonist; thanks to her upbringing, seems to believe that a slave should not be able to look a Draksor in the eye, nor should they have the same rights - however there are moments within this book where cracks begin to appear. Her brother Dax, and the very forward and rebellious slave, Torwin, begin to question her beliefs, and Asha wonders what her brother's recent trip to the Scrublands was really to do with. I always worry when I come across another book with Dragons in, but Ciccarelli is able to add her own original twist to the creatures which makes the book a lot more refreshing. There are some cliché themes running through the book, the forbidden and expected love, the thinking-she-is-bad-when-really-she-is-good. There were huge and exciting plot twists which rescued this and ensured that the book remained engaging and captivating. In some places some of the characters fell a little flat in my opinion, but the majority are rich, complex, and diverse. Dax was probably one of my favourites, despite his quiet nature, and withdrawn stance for much of the story, when he does come into his own he is loyal, and willing to do anything for the good of the realm. Asha's betrothed - Jarrik - is a tyrant, but this does not stop Dax from stepping up to protect his sister when necessary, despite his sister being feared across Firgaard. This book makes an amazing and magical debut novel, with a diverse cast, and exciting plotlines running through the book. My one criticism is that I felt like the plot was ending long before the end of the book - causing my attention to falter a bit; though the plot twist did redeem this! The characters are mostly vibrant and provide entertainment and action keeping the story going at a nice pace throughout the book. Overall I am awarding this book 9*/10. I really enjoyed the originality the author used with the dragons to take the creatures we love to have in our fantasy stories, and make them her own whilst not taking away from their familiarity. It was an action packed story, with lots of mysterious twists and turns. I would recommend this to fans of the Snow Like Ashes series, and Throne of Glass.

8.5/10 from 2 reviews

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