I originally looked at getting this when it first came out but I didn’t. Then I started hearing a lot of good stuff about it. And still didn’t pick it up! Now a year later, just before book 2 comes out, I’ve finally managed to pick it up.
Let’s see what I thought of it.
The Last Namsara
by Kristin Ciccarelli
Synopsis by GoodReads
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.
Stories within stories
This was an interesting, fast-paced YA fantasy featuring badass women and dragons, but at the same time, it felt a bit like a standardised YA fantasy. It’s clearly a debut novel but with a well-developed world and religion.
The story follows Asha, the Iskari, dragon hunter, daughter of the dragon king, corrupted princess, she has many names because she is fierce and feared. She hunts dragons by day and dreams by night. But no matter how big and scary the dragon is her biggest threat is her arranged marriage to her father’s second in command. The story takes several twists and turns, as it follows Asha as she tried to get out of the arrangement.
I really liked Asha’s voice and the dragons and their ability to make stories too.
There were, unfortunately, several plot holes left in the road which made me question too many things at the end. Several of those plot points had a heavy focus one part of the book and then just dropped, and I wonder about the point of it all. Why waste my time as a reader with dead-end subplots?
Another thing which annoyed me was how fast she would recover from a wound. She gets slashed one day and walking around a few hours later as if nothing happened even though her bandages are bloodsoaked… Or she burns her whole hand but can still hold a knife the next day.
Is it too much to ask for some realistic healing time unless the character has special healing powers? Or has it become a standard (maybe a trope?) that all YA MCs can heal fast and without much pain? Maybe I’m the only one who gets annoyed at this…
The story is wrapped within a rich and deep world that made me feel as if the dragons carved it with their breath. And I loved the dragons! I wish the story were more about them and not the arranged marriage.
The dragons and the stories have a type of magic, but it’s also a religion. I’m unsure of the boundary between the two, or if there is any.
Asha is strong, badass female lead without many emotions. She feels herself being unworthy and corrupted of anyone and doesn’t let anyone close enough to her. She develops slowly throughout the story.
Asha’s cousin, Saphire, is a love child and not worthy of anything or anyone. To me, she started off being that annoying side character who always got in the way or did the wrong things, but ended up probably being my favourite character.
Of the two male main characters, they were two polar opposite but very typical YA male side characters. One was power hungry and sexist, and one was soft and caring. I think I was meant to fear one and love the other. But I didn’t. Instead of getting scared like the MC did in the story I just got pissed off. Like really pissed off! The amount of times I beheaded the character in my mind … The other one, I felt as if he just got in the way most of the time.
The romance was not as much of an instalove as I expected, which is good, but it was still there. I’m not a fan of instalove. There were other tropes as well… forbidden love and a love triangle. The triangle is luckily not two guys wanting one girl and she has to choose, but one forbidden love and one forced marriage. Though I’m not sure if it’s better or worse 🤔
The writing was smooth and easy to read. The pacing was fast and suited the story. I had no issues with the writing.
Enjoyable and rich, but too many tropes and an annoying male character. Don’t get me wrong it’s good and entertaining, but the negatives were just too much and too many for me. I hope the second one is better.
As a side note, I’m getting a bit fed up with all these YA stories of with violence against women as a heavy element and the main source of friction in the story. Probably doesn’t help that I’m reading Fight Like A Girl (a feminist manifesto) while reading all these YA stories… Anyone else?
Have you read this? What did you think?