The Last Namsara (Iskari, #1)
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 dark—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 hearing 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.

The Last Namsara (Iskari, #1) Details

TitleThe Last Namsara (Iskari, #1)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseOct 3rd, 2017
PublisherHarperTeen
ISBN-139780062567987
Rating
GenreFantasy, Young Adult, Dragons

The Last Namsara (Iskari, #1) Review

  • Lola Reviewer
    January 1, 1970
    3 1/2 stars. Finally, a dragon fantasy YA book that doesn’t s—smell bad. It does show that this is the author’s debut novel, from how careful she is being in her writing (take risks, madam!), but it’s a worthy debut. The idea of telling stories to dragons fascinated me. I mean, the dragons listen! They even speak. They have a brain, like there could be a whole community of them living next to the humans. Except Asha—the dragon slayer—wants them all to die. Indeed, if she destroys Kozu, they will 3 1/2 stars. Finally, a dragon fantasy YA book that doesn’t s—smell bad. It does show that this is the author’s debut novel, from how careful she is being in her writing (take risks, madam!), but it’s a worthy debut. The idea of telling stories to dragons fascinated me. I mean, the dragons listen! They even speak. They have a brain, like there could be a whole community of them living next to the humans. Except Asha—the dragon slayer—wants them all to die. Indeed, if she destroys Kozu, they will all die, and so will the Old One, which the dragon king (her father) despises. Most important of all, if she brings Kozu’s head to her father, she won’t have to marry jackass Jarek. You’ve seen it before: a girl of royal descent who wants to do everything possible to escape an arranged marriage. But what you haven’t seen as much is a princess falling in love with a slave. It’s always the contrary it seems: the powerless woman ends up with the all-mighty man. I enjoyed seeing their relationship evolve. He’s not even HER slave—he’s her betrothed’s. Asha has no intention of getting involved with him, but he proves himself to be valuable and loyal. The dragons play a huge part. They are not there for decoration alone. Sure they’re scary and mighty, but they are also surprisingly intelligent and non-bestial when not threatened. Any reader would be reminded of Khaleesi and her pet dragons. The secondary characters do not, however, play a grand part. My mind immediately goes to Safire, who only exists for Asha. She’s not technically a slave, and yet her freedom is limited. And she’s such a liability. Asha’s brother is mentioned multiple times, but he almost only appears when Asha is in trouble. I don’t feel like I know anything about him. Kristen Ciccarelli definitely needs to work on developing her characters, to make them more real to the reader. She’s done a good job of bringing the dragons to life, though, with a delicate, graceful writing style. Blog | Youtube | Twitter | Instagram | Google+ | Bloglovin’
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  • Tomi Adeyemi
    January 1, 1970
    The most simple thing I can say is this is the best book I have ever read and Kristen Ciccarelli is now my favorite author.Her story and her words have so much beauty, and love, and passion, and adventure. By the end I gasped every 5-10 pages and got goosebumps every 10-20 pages.There are not many books I would say this for, but pre-order this now because your soul has been waiting for a story this beautiful.
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  • Cait • A Page with a View
    January 1, 1970
    Release date: October 3, 20172.5 stars. This one is kind of hard to review because I had a feeling the whole way through that it was a story I should like and normally WOULD like, but just could not get into it. And after 2 months of forcing myself to finish it, I'm just... confident that this was not really for me. That's not a judgement on the book itself or the author by any means! Just me. I think the author created a complex world and added a lot of elements I adored (like dragons, royalty, Release date: October 3, 20172.5 stars. This one is kind of hard to review because I had a feeling the whole way through that it was a story I should like and normally WOULD like, but just could not get into it. And after 2 months of forcing myself to finish it, I'm just... confident that this was not really for me. That's not a judgement on the book itself or the author by any means! Just me. I think the author created a complex world and added a lot of elements I adored (like dragons, royalty, adventure, and girls with swords). The idea of the main character being attracted to the slave of her betrothed was something that stood out more. So there were parts that kept me reading! But the worldbuilding seemed kind of sketchy or elusive in parts (or else turned into an infodump because I didn't care yet). Plus, the writing never grabbed me and other parts just felt... off. I mean, this is a story about DRAGONS and a badass princess on a quest for her freedom!! It should not be that hard for me to get into. So this didn't work for me in the end, buuut please don't take that as any sort of condemnation of this book. I can definitely see others liking it!Thank you to the publisher for sending me an ARC.
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  • Mic
    January 1, 1970
    Meet your new fantasy obsession! Magical, enchanting, gut-wrenching, amazing, badass, inventive, dragon-y... :)This book will destroy you. Enjoy. *full review closer to release*
  • Nina (Every Word A Doorway)
    January 1, 1970
    I decided not to re-read the premise prior to picking up The Last Namsara but to go in completely blind, and it was the best decision I could've made. This debut took me by surprise in the way it drew me into its world of dragons, gods, and magic stories. I WAS SO DOWN FOR THE DRAGONS. I definitely got some How To Train Your Dragons vibes from this, guys. Move aside Eragon, The Last Namsara has come to claim your place.At first glance, The Last Namsara seems like your generic Young Adult fantasy I decided not to re-read the premise prior to picking up The Last Namsara but to go in completely blind, and it was the best decision I could've made. This debut took me by surprise in the way it drew me into its world of dragons, gods, and magic stories. I WAS SO DOWN FOR THE DRAGONS. I definitely got some How To Train Your Dragons vibes from this, guys. Move aside Eragon, The Last Namsara has come to claim your place.At first glance, The Last Namsara seems like your generic Young Adult fantasy, and I thought I'd grown tired of those. However, something about this book pulled me in. I was intrigued by the feisty but troubled main character, the character dynamics, the forbidden romance, and the gripping plot. Objectively, I could give a slightly lower rating due to the issues I had, but The Last Namsara had me so invested, racing through it within a couple of hours, that I cannot but give it 4 stars.➽ The first chapter had me doubt whether I'd like Asha – the heroine, princess, and dragon hunter – or not. She struck me as one of those bland special snowflakes that get on my last nerve. But I was wrong. Though Asha is treated as special, it is not because she is particularly adored. Rather, a dragon attack she provoked, which affected her township as well, has left her scarred, shunned, and feared. Asha's disfigurement – a burn scar running from her forehead down her left side – takes up a major part of her introspection, but more so does her belief that she is wicked. I really liked how the topic of self-love was handled; Asha wears her scar with a certain degree of pride but it also causes her a lot of vulnerability and self-consciousness. Further, she is treated like a cursed person – someone corrupted by the magic of ancient stories – and so she thinks of herself as one. Asha has never forgiven herself for costing people their lives in the dragon attack, and it made me warm up to her fairly quickly. The characters I wouldn't want to trade places with always grow on me. Her character development makes her all the more likeable. Like many spoiled princesses raised in a palace, Asha has little understanding of the disparities of her world. Throughout the book, Asha is challenged in her beliefs and starts developping a mind of her own. No one could know the truth: after all these years of trying to right her wrongs, Asha was still as corrupt as ever. If you opened her up and looked inside, you'd find a core that matched her scarred exterior. ➽ I was quite intrigued by the character dynamics. There's a web of interactions which are impacted by hierarchical rank, blood ties, and/or ethnicity. The side characters could have been more thoroughly characterised but they all had key roles in the plot. The icy relationship between Asha and her betrothed reminded me a lot of the movie Titanic, to be honest. This is certainly not the first fantasy in which a princess tried to get out of an arranged marriage but this one was interesting to watch, as her betrothed was a narcissist of the worst kind. Further, I quite liked Asha's bond with her half-cousin Safire which took up the spot of "female friendship" in this book. The romance commences swiftly after the beginning. It's not insta-love – or at least not on Asha's part – but it did irritate me a bit at the beginning. However, it later becomes clear how and why the romance developped the way it did. The chemistry between Asha and Torwin kept me at the edge of my seat. It is not a unique romantic subplot by any means but I'm a complete sucker for forbidden romance, ok? If you disliked Kestrel and Arin's relationship in The Winner's Curse, then you might find yourself opposed to Asha and Torwin's as well. Though this is not your typical master-slave-romance, since Torwin is her betrothed's slave (not hers), it does involve bridging a gap in the societal hierarchy.➽ But now, let's talk about the dragons, shall we? I loved the idea for this story, being that dragons crave good storytelling and are able to tell stories themselves through images upon touch. The plot entails a lot of hunting dragons, fighting dragons, learning to understand dragons. Didn't I tell you this reminded me of How To Train Your Dragon? Hence, it didn't take me long to be pulled into the story, perhaps two chapters at best. The Last Namsara weaves together political intrigue, forbidden romance, and the storyline of Asha's personal growth. There's a certain predictability to the plot, of course, because we just know by now what course certain YA fantasy stories take. Nonetheless, it astounded me how tight I was in this book's grip. I literally had to force myself to put this book aside and go to sleep; it was that addictive.➽ One of the issues I had with The Last Namsara was its world-building. Though Ciccarelli had certainly put a lot of thought into it, I just couldn't get a proper sense of where I was when plunged into this world. I interpreted that Asha's kingdom was inspired by Viking culture (so, again, similar to How To Train Your Dragon), but there weren't a lot of other clues. On the contrary, her use of the word caftan for women's clothing confused me, as I had hitherto associated it with North African/Middle Eastern cultures. The clash between two ethnicities in this realm is important for the political subplot, but the kingdoms didn't seem distinctive enough. What I did love is the big role stories and the gods of old play in the book. There ware several stories written between chapters. They both give the reader a better idea of how those might have looked like but also filled in gaps in the kingdom's history. Some might find that info-dumpy but I thought it worked really well with the overall storyline.➽ Ok, so you probably know how much I loathe books in which heroes/heroines make stupid decisions in spite of their intelligence to drive the plot in a certain direction. At some point, Asha turns a blind eye to an obvious conspiracy in favour of the plot. It would've taken a different – or rather, a more abrupt – direction had she chosen to act on the apparent clues she had. She seemed suspicious but she didn't ponder over it which was weird. I just don't like it when that happens, I really don't.➽ Once or twice, small things in the plot didn't quite add up. In addition, the reader is sometimes given (hasty) explanations rather than having an epiphany of their own. A few times, this happens because Asha doesn't come to a realization and needs another character to open her eyes. Other times, it just seemed like information needed to be purposefully repeated in order for the reader to have an "Ohhh right" moment. I don't fault Ciccarelli for this, as this quality is perhaps something an author acquires with years of writing experience. Ideally, you'd do the kind of foreshadowing that doesn't necessitate info-dump later on to make the reader come to a crucial realization. For me, this point of criticism applies mostly to the ending.Overall, The Last Namsara was a pleasant, captivating read that kept me entertained, invested, and on my seat for several hours. I admit that my brain had been deprived of literature for longer than I would've liked, which may very well have influenced how much I enjoyed this book. Albeit not particularly original or outstanding, this dragon-featuring fantasy has a lot to offer in terms of entertainment, in my opinion, and I'm curious to see where Ciccarelli is heading with this series.**I received an eARC from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts are my own. Quotations may be subject to change in the final copy.**
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  • Crazy4Books
    January 1, 1970
    I should have waited closer to publication day to read this but I was anticipating it too much to wait that long. Im always on the look out for great dragon books and the fact that this was also written by a Canadian author made it to the top of my TBR. I absolutely loved the little stories through out the book and the power they held. The concept was just amazing. Using stories to lure dragons was fascinating and the Old God plot line intrigued me. The last third of the book was definitely the I should have waited closer to publication day to read this but I was anticipating it too much to wait that long. Im always on the look out for great dragon books and the fact that this was also written by a Canadian author made it to the top of my TBR. I absolutely loved the little stories through out the book and the power they held. The concept was just amazing. Using stories to lure dragons was fascinating and the Old God plot line intrigued me. The last third of the book was definitely the best part and I absolutely love the dragons.I liked that the main character was kind of an antihero. I enjoyed the main character Ashas complexe relationship with her brother and cousin. I would have liked to see more of her relationship with her cousin. Her cousin could have been more developped, but the I thought the main character was well developped. I enjoyed the direction of her brothers plot line, but I wasnt impressed when he forbade her to do something. I thought the romance was cute. I even ended up liking Torwins character more than Ashas.  I felt like it would have simplified things if the obstacles had been dealt with differently. My main issue with this book was how Asha kept shrugging off important questions and not making the best decisions. Ashas naivety was frustrating to say the least, but I understand those stupid decisions were probably made so she could have some character developpement and to advance the plot. I just really wanted her to act against Jarek. If someone I cared about was missing I wouldnt be getting my dress fitted. By the end things start making more sense and the characters growth helped me overlook some of my earlier frustrations.The writing was alright but it didnt completely hook me. Since this is a debut I expect the author will get better with more experience. There was also some tropes like being betrothed to a monster and her thinking shes not pretty and getting mad when someone tells her she is, but to be fair she is scarred and I dont mind the betrothal trope. I ended up liking the authors twist on these tropes. I loved the world, the dragons and the power of storytelling. I really enjoyed the ending and I have high hopes for the sequel. Id recommend this if you like dragon books with a unique concept.*Id like to thank the publishers for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review*
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  • Dannii Elle
    January 1, 1970
    The book opened with the intriguing line, "Asha lured the dragon with a story", and I was pretty much sold from this point forward.Asha is the daughter of The Dragon King. Responsible for the dragons that burned her city, murdered her mother, and left her with a disfiguring scar, she is both feared and loathed by her people. It is only her closeness to the throne that keeps her from becoming openly ridiculed, or worse. By once bringing the destruction of the dragons to her city, she now devotes The book opened with the intriguing line, "Asha lured the dragon with a story", and I was pretty much sold from this point forward.Asha is the daughter of The Dragon King. Responsible for the dragons that burned her city, murdered her mother, and left her with a disfiguring scar, she is both feared and loathed by her people. It is only her closeness to the throne that keeps her from becoming openly ridiculed, or worse. By once bringing the destruction of the dragons to her city, she now devotes her life to riding her lands of the ferocious and fearsome mythical beasts. And nothing can alter Asha from continuing on this quest. Not even her impending marriage to the cruel Jarek. Not even her brother who has returned to her waning from a mysterious illness. Not even an ancient prophecy that seems to be haunting both her dreams and nightmares. But maybe in the face of the slave who doesn't seem to know his place beneath her.I was never not going to be interested n a book about dragons! But what I didn't expect was how much more this book had to deliver. Whilst the dragons continued to play a major theme throughout this book, this fantasy also dwelt on the harsh treatment of the slaves who serve this story's focus. The slaves are subjected to both harsh cruelty and casual degradation, and the protagonist is provided with a steep learning curve of the equally as devastating effects of the two when confronted with one who will not conform to this treatment.Through the immersion of these deeper themes the reader is provided with a broader insight to these mystical lands, as all levels to the social hierarchy are covered and explored. This enhanced my understanding of these realm and added an authenticity to, what was clearly, a well-thought out and well-built world.The magic system used, in where words can summon myths and stories can drain a human of their health, I initially found a little overwhelming, however. I struggled to understand the particulars of this but, as the story progressed, all my questions were answered. It slowed my pace of reading during the first quarter, as I personally prefer my fantasies to have a solid foundation before the story advances, but didn't continue to impact my enjoyment once I realised all would be revealed in the book's own, sweet time.My only slight point of contention was with how large a part the budding romance, between Asha and her unintended, played in the story. I found Asha to be such an independent and feisty female who, in my opinion, could have remained just as strong without the additional complications of love. It wasn't an over-blown or hastily written romance, but a slow-building and believable one. But one, nevertheless, that added nothing much to the story for me, as sweet as it was.In all, this was a thrilling kingdom fantasy that provided a unique world, an intriguing magic system and a story-line I am interested in seeing continued in the series' following instalments. Now, if the romance would only take more of a back-seat to the action, this would become perfect!I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the author, Kristen Ciccarelli, and the publisher, Gollancz, for this opportunity.
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  • Sabrina
    January 1, 1970
    This is everything I want in a book and more. I love this.My fiery queen, Asha.An asshat (putting it nicely), Jarek.And my smol cinnamon roll, Torwin. - - - - - Checkout more reviews on my blog! https://omgbooksandmorebooks.blogspot...This book is everything I want in a book and more. We have a MC who is strong, fearless, unemotional, hard set in her ways but she meets someone who shows her the truth of the world she lives in. She slowly breaks down her own walls and becomes self aware of the ho This is everything I want in a book and more. I love this.My fiery queen, Asha.An asshat (putting it nicely), Jarek.And my smol cinnamon roll, Torwin. - - - - - Checkout more reviews on my blog! https://omgbooksandmorebooks.blogspot...This book is everything I want in a book and more. We have a MC who is strong, fearless, unemotional, hard set in her ways but she meets someone who shows her the truth of the world she lives in. She slowly breaks down her own walls and becomes self aware of the horrors around her. Asha doesn't care about looks or charms, she wants to fight, she wants to prove her self as being called the Iskari. Yet when a dark truth is revealed, she questions her loyalties and her whole existence. I also came across a character that I feel a strong hate for, Jarek. A twisted self centered controlling character to be who will do anything to keep Asha within his controls. He may be beautiful but his character is anything but beautiful.Then we have Torwin, my sweet smol cinnamon roll Torwin. He shows what it means to live and what it means to know your truth. I wish there are more Torwin's in YA. He brings out the light in those who have gone too dark. The plot has small anecdotes and present day interwoven throughout the novel. These small anecdotes are important for the overall progression and "realizations" in the novel. I had certain expectations about this book but I was completely blown away. I loved the dragons. They have life. Let me explain, in other YA novels dragons are just there, symbolically and physically but that's it. But the dragons in this novel make or break certain things. Their significance is known throughout the novel. This is a wonderful and complex world of dragons, deception, royalty and more. I can't wait for book 2.
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  • Sheila {ShesGoingBookCrazy.com}
    January 1, 1970
    I received this copy from the publisher via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!WOW WOW WOW!!!!!!! What a gorgeous story!!! This book immediately is one of my top picks for 2017! Review to come.
  • Aneta Bak
    January 1, 1970
    The Last Namsara is absolutely fantastic. Amazing characters, tons of action and dragons! Its perfect for all YA fans.As a little girl, Asha was burned by the first dragon. Now she's made it her mission to slay all the dragons in her land, including the one thats burned her. The only way the King will let Asha annul her marriage to Jarek, the man that saved her life, but has continued to make it miserable every day since, is if she kills the first dragon, and brings his head before him. But when The Last Namsara is absolutely fantastic. Amazing characters, tons of action and dragons! Its perfect for all YA fans.As a little girl, Asha was burned by the first dragon. Now she's made it her mission to slay all the dragons in her land, including the one thats burned her. The only way the King will let Asha annul her marriage to Jarek, the man that saved her life, but has continued to make it miserable every day since, is if she kills the first dragon, and brings his head before him. But when Asha's brother asks her to save the life of a slave, and an ancient god visits Asha and gives her gifts, along with special tasks to complete, Asha is running out on time to kill the dragon.. Will she face the wrath of the gods, or will she save herself from a terrible marriage.Asha is such an amazing main character. She is strong, intelligent, sassy and a badass. I instantly fell in love with her from the beginning of the book, and her character development made me love her even more. She has a very strong and determine attitude, and will definitely follow her heart and do something, even though she may be hated for it, or face a prison sentence for breaking the law. It was definitely hard for me to say goodbye to her at the end of the book.There were other fantastic characters, such as her brother, her cousin, and the slave. Every character was so unique, yet crucial to the story. Its not often that secondary characters go through a really impressive character development, but surprisingly a great deal of secondary characters in this book did. I was really impressed with the character development of everyone.As soon as I heard this book had dragons in it, I knew I had to have it. While the dragons definitely made the story better, the fantasy aspect of the story was really well written as well. The whole plot line was so creative, and the addition of the old gods, as well having royals vs slaves, it was all so creative. It's been a while since I've read a book that has incorporated slavery and shown just how horrible it really is, the author did such an amazing job in making it sound realistic, great job.I loved every single aspect of this book, the only thing I would change would be to add a bit more surprises to the story, it was just a tad too predictable. Overall I still really enjoyed it and I can't wait to continue this series.Happy Reading,Aneta
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  • Joanne Harris
    January 1, 1970
    An accomplished fantasy novel, of the kind I think of as "royal palace shenanigans", raised above the commonplace by one marvellous central premise - the idea that dragons are the custodians of the old tale, and that their fire is actually generated by the telling of stories - a premise that reads as an extended metaphor about imagination, stories and their power to change the world. It's the first of a series. I'll definitely be looking out for the next one...
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  • Cookie
    January 1, 1970
    you can read this & other reviews on my blog!---So. This book. Wow, I am blown away. Ciccarelli really has beautiful writing. And the romance? So, so good. Sort of slow burn, but full of the best interactions. I am 100% trash for it already.The dragons are some of the best part of this book, which might seem a bit weird, considering the main character is a dragon hunter. But fret not, I don't think many will anticipate the direction this book goes in, which makes it such a great fantasy nove you can read this & other reviews on my blog!---So. This book. Wow, I am blown away. Ciccarelli really has beautiful writing. And the romance? So, so good. Sort of slow burn, but full of the best interactions. I am 100% trash for it already.The dragons are some of the best part of this book, which might seem a bit weird, considering the main character is a dragon hunter. But fret not, I don't think many will anticipate the direction this book goes in, which makes it such a great fantasy novel. Speaking of the main character, Asha was something else. Fierce and brave, she didn't back down from a challenge or a dragon. I loved her from the first chapter and her change throughout the book was beautifully and believably done, and it just made her all the more amazing in my eyes.The romance was both a subtle yet glaringly there sort of thing, if that makes sense? Whatever, I just know I loved it. Ciccarelli did a wonderful job with it and the interactions between Asha and her love interest were so cute, I was always just hoping for more!The world this is set in seems so intricate and well written. I was keen on the whole old story aspect of the book and how it played with dragons. I really can't wait for book 2 and explore more of it!Overall: add this to your TBR list. It's so worth it.---This one is slow, but it had the perfect blend of beautiful writing, wonderful buildup to romance, and dragons! I can't believe I held this off for so long.
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  • Kamerhe
    January 1, 1970
    It took maybe a page and half for me to know this book would be a blockbuster! It's got everything I love in fantasy: lush writing, rich world-building, and politics and action with just the right amount of forbidden romance 😍 I'm warning you: don't start reading unless you're prepared for THE LAST NAMSARA to steal your heart, your breath, your whole afternoon as you speed through the pages! And then it leaves you gasping for more, namely the sequel... where is it?! I WANT IT NOW!Kristen Ciccare It took maybe a page and half for me to know this book would be a blockbuster! It's got everything I love in fantasy: lush writing, rich world-building, and politics and action with just the right amount of forbidden romance 😍 I'm warning you: don't start reading unless you're prepared for THE LAST NAMSARA to steal your heart, your breath, your whole afternoon as you speed through the pages! And then it leaves you gasping for more, namely the sequel... where is it?! I WANT IT NOW!Kristen Ciccarelli--I bow down to you. (Now, about that sequel... 😏)
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  • Edward's Ghost Engine (also known as.......... Jinky Spring)
    January 1, 1970
    Review also found on my blogThis is one of those books that started off very strong but dragged on from the middle to the end. There was an unremarkable plot matched with unremarkable characters not to mention the “reveals” about Asha’s past weren’t hard to see coming.I will give the author credit for the world building and pacing as these moved along nicely and set up the scene really well. I also liked the dark feel surrounding the whole plot but will add that I think there was a lot of waste Review also found on my blogThis is one of those books that started off very strong but dragged on from the middle to the end. There was an unremarkable plot matched with unremarkable characters not to mention the “reveals” about Asha’s past weren’t hard to see coming.I will give the author credit for the world building and pacing as these moved along nicely and set up the scene really well. I also liked the dark feel surrounding the whole plot but will add that I think there was a lot of wasted potential here.Let’s start with the characters, I could hardly ever emphasise with any of them and felt there was no chemistry in Asha and Torwin’s relationship. I mean one minute she saw him as a mere slave the next they were swooning over each other 😛 there was just no build-up to that first kiss… The author did try to make a badass character out of Asha but she ended up just feeling average and nothing special. Well to me anyway. Torwin also had a lot of potential but once again he rather felt like a random man who had just been plucked off the street rather than an epic fantasy hero.Then there were the dragons. Yeah, they for the most part acted like puppies rather than ferocious killers. I mean they were supposed to have been hunted to near extinction yet they immediately trust any human who can tell the old stories? Forgive me if I don’t find this story or characters believable or easy to emphasise with.Despite me not enjoying this as much as I thought I would, it could have been much worse. It could have been boring and slow-paced yet it wasn’t and it could have featured insufferable characters but it didn’t. Just unremarkable ones. I don’t know whether I’ll give the next book a go or not because I was a little relieved to finish this one yet I still am a little curious as to what is going to happen to Asha’s world… Oh well 😛
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  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    WOW. This book reminds me of the epic fantasies I loved growing up. The ones that have detailed mythology, gasp-worthy moments, and the type of hero I crave: realistically flawed, achingly vulnerable and utterly brave.BONUS: Thar be dragons. And not just some slight mention - it's the real deal. And that's as specific as I can get :)If you love adventure, romance, dragons and rich, beautiful fantasy, then this is the book for YOU. Highly recommended.
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  • Isabel
    January 1, 1970
    This is an INCREDIBLE book. It has everything my heart wants: adventure, strong heroine who learns how to be comfortable in her skin, dragons, the sweetest romance (forbidden!) and incredibly writing. I highly recommend it!!!!!!
  • Nadine
    January 1, 1970
    Full spoiler-free review now on my blogWith her debut novel The Last Namsara Kristen Ciccarelli manages to create a story that takes a step beyond the usual generic YA fantasy story, but hasn't completely grown out of it.Apart from Asha, who is portrayed really well and has a depth to her, there were a lot of interesting characters. We have Dax, Asha's brother, who is the heir to the throne and has lived a long time in the enemy kingdom. Then there's Jarek, Asha's betrothed and commandant of the Full spoiler-free review now on my blogWith her debut novel The Last Namsara Kristen Ciccarelli manages to create a story that takes a step beyond the usual generic YA fantasy story, but hasn't completely grown out of it.Apart from Asha, who is portrayed really well and has a depth to her, there were a lot of interesting characters. We have Dax, Asha's brother, who is the heir to the throne and has lived a long time in the enemy kingdom. Then there's Jarek, Asha's betrothed and commandant of the city guard, who is a kind of villain in this story. But even tough I found these characters to be really interesting, we don't get to see enough of their thoughts and motives for my liking.I'm always a little hesitant about the romance in Ya fantasies because they take away a lot of the focus and sometimes the plot suffers as a result. And that's how I felt about the romance here as well. The romance takes up a lot of space and I would have liked more focus on the dragons and the characters.So in my opinion, there are still some typical YA elements in this book like the classic romance and a basic world building. However, I see a lot of potential in the characters and the story that just need to surface. I'm really curious how the story will continue and I can really recommend this book if you are looking for a magical fantasy book with dragons.I'd like to thank Netgalley and the Orion Publishing Group for providing me with an early copy of this book.
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  • Minx -The Genre Minx Book Reviews
    January 1, 1970
    True Rating 4.5 stars!!In The Last Namsara, the main character Asha grew up being hated by her people. She was the daughter of the Dragon King, a princess, but it also was because of her that her city was burned, her mother was killed, and she was disfigured. It was because of her that the telling of stories became forbidden. For to tell a dragon a story gave it the power of fire, without the stories dragons were left without dragonfire. Asha had spoken stories to the Dragons and this folly, tha True Rating 4.5 stars!!In The Last Namsara, the main character Asha grew up being hated by her people. She was the daughter of the Dragon King, a princess, but it also was because of her that her city was burned, her mother was killed, and she was disfigured. It was because of her that the telling of stories became forbidden. For to tell a dragon a story gave it the power of fire, without the stories dragons were left without dragonfire. Asha had spoken stories to the Dragons and this folly, that was since outlawed, brought on all the destruction. Or so she was told. Her recollection of the events that took place are fuzzy in her memories. What she clearly remembers is the burning of her flesh and her barely surviving the poisoning she received from the dragonfire. Although she survived, she was left with a reminder, a burn scar that started from her forehead and ran all the way down her left side.I really enjoyed the story of how this world was created and how Namsara and Iskari came to be. It is beautiful and tragic. In this world, there needed to be balance. So, in the beginning the Old One created Namsara, beloved by all, who brought laughter and love. He also created Iskari who brought only destruction, death, and life taker. Or so the legend goes. After being badly burned and barely surviving, Asha received the moniker of Iskari and has spent a better part of her life trying to right her wrongs. Over time, Asha took strength from the citizens hate. She was the Iskari – she owned it and makes no apologies. Unfortunately, she made no apologies because she had come to believe that she was corrupt, hideous and horrible.Asha thought she was wicked and no one had killed as many dragons as she had. She thought that killing the dragons was a way to show the people that she was sorry, but no matter how many she killed it never made a difference to them. Asha was reviled by all but her cousin and brother and even they were not allowed to interact with her that often. The only person who dared openly touch her was her betrothed, Jarek, and he was a real piece of work. I loathe this character entirely! Asha’s marriage to Jarek was impending and she wanted nothing more than to be freed from her contract with him.It was the desire to escape her soon-to-be marriage that made Asha desperate enough to take on a task that was suicidal. If she was successful in her quest then there was a chance that she could escape marriage to Jarek and to Asha that itself was worth all the risks. It was no easy task though and her chances seemed doomed from the start. Nothing went the way Asha had anticipated and soon she found that she had an unlikely friend, someone with whom she should have never had any type of relationship with, a slave from her betrothed’s household. When it seemed as if nothing was going to plan and the odds were stacked against her, Asha found the courage to face the truth of her past. A truth that would change everything that Asha believed to be right and with this knowledge she would change the course of history.The Last Namsara is a thrilling fantasy filled with dragons, political subterfuge, slavery, and a budding romance. The romance was more like a sweet little puppy dog romance, nothing too in-depth. Honestly, I could have done without it, but it was nice nonetheless. There were prophecies that came into play and I always enjoy that. I loved the dragons throughout this story. Amazing! It was not just that there were dragons but that they were an integral part to the story and their part was written so well. Age-old stories played a big role and speaking the stories out loud lured the dragons while giving them the power of dragonfire. So very cool! The magic system in this world is also fabulous, it revolves around the power of words and stories, what bibliophile doesn’t love that?! The ending of this story was emotional and at the same time was out of this world and I cannot wait for the next installment in this series! All I can say about this debut novel is whoooo hooooooooo!!This review is based on a complimentary book I received from Edelweiss+. It is an honest and voluntary review. The complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.Find this review and more at The Genre Minx Book Reviews
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  • Aentee
    January 1, 1970
    Fantasy worlds are particularly obsessed with the notion of dichotomy, of division and contrast, of the delineation between light and darkness. The Last Namsara explores these ideas in a particularly compelling way through its protagonist, Asha. Named by her father as the world’s next Iskari, death bringer and destroyer, Asha is widely feared and isolated from the people of Figaard. As the readers watch her whisper forbidden tales and hunt mythical dragons, we also see her reconcile with her dar Fantasy worlds are particularly obsessed with the notion of dichotomy, of division and contrast, of the delineation between light and darkness. The Last Namsara explores these ideas in a particularly compelling way through its protagonist, Asha. Named by her father as the world’s next Iskari, death bringer and destroyer, Asha is widely feared and isolated from the people of Figaard. As the readers watch her whisper forbidden tales and hunt mythical dragons, we also see her reconcile with her dark destiny and claim her identity for herself. As the kingdom’s most feared dragon slayer and a princess of the realm, Asha has to guard numerous secrets. In her world, the things we dream and love such as stories and dragons are considered taboo and wicked. Yet, Asha is drawn to tales, she’s enchanted by the way these stories grant literal power to fire-breathing beasts. Her life has been irreparably changed by her addiction to forbidden tales long ago, and she fights to keep her self-control from slipping daily. Stories are dangerous, this is a fact we know from our own world – but it was very interesting to see The Last Namsara explore a world where stories held the power to destroy.The aspect I enjoyed most in The Last Namsara was the rich tapestry of the world’s own mythology and tales. Along with the events of Asha’s present life, the readers are also shown glimpses of the past through a series of tales that are reminiscent of storybook of old. There are tales about the creation of this world and the original Namsara and Iskari. There are forbidden tales of love and loss, of queens who defied death and kings corrupted by the promise of power. They interweaved beautifully with the main narrative and served to underline the immense power of stories within this world. I felt that the writing in the novel shined brightest during these interludes.I have mixed feelings regarding the romance within The Last Namsara. As a romance reader, I prefer balanced relationships, and the master-slave dynamic is always a hard sell for me. Asha’s reluctance to use Torwin’s name for most of the novel also added to my unease when it came to their relationship – let’s just say that it’s difficult to root for a couple when one side of the pair constantly refers to her love interest as ‘the slave’. The explanation for her aversion to using his first name is given in the latter half of the novel, but it did little to erase my initial discomfort. I also found the romance to be poorly developed, especially the transition from their interest in one another into love.Aside from Torwin, I enjoyed reading about the other side characters within this novel. The female characters in this book are especially complex and distinctive, I especially wish that we got to see more of Safire and her story. I also loved seeing Asha’s relationship with her brother, who was the Namsara to her Iskari. However, I can’t help but feel that Asha did not have as much agency in her own story, especially when compared to the side characters. She was continually kept in the dark, for reasons that do not extend far beyond Plot Necessity. The antagonists within The Last Namsara were also very one-dimensional, especially Jarek – the cruel commandant of Figaard and Asha’s betrothed. While I enjoyed the themes of the power of stories within The Last Namsara, the way it dealt with other major topics left me unsatisfied. One of the persisting commentary within The Last Namsara was on slavery and the way the oppressor dehumanises the oppressed. I felt the book would have been better served if it was more inclusive of the views of the skrals. The Last Namsara was more interested in telling a story of realisation from the point of view of an oppressor, and I personally felt it lacked the nuance to do the topic justice.Overall, I thought The Last Namsara was an enjoyable and ambitious debut, and I will be looking forward to reading more of the author’s future novels. I hope to see an expansion of world building and character development in future books, along with a greater exploration of the themes introduced in this novel.
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  • Danielle
    January 1, 1970
    “Once there was a girl who was drawn to wicked things.Things like forbidden, ancient stories.It didn’t matter that the old stories killed her mother. It didn’t matter that they’d killed many before her. The girl let the old stories in. She let them in eat away at her heart and turn her wicked.” I came for the dragons, I stayed for the story. I’m not going to lie, the promise of dragons is what immediately drew me into the story. But, I really fell in love with the storytelling and the world t “Once there was a girl who was drawn to wicked things.Things like forbidden, ancient stories.It didn’t matter that the old stories killed her mother. It didn’t matter that they’d killed many before her. The girl let the old stories in. She let them in eat away at her heart and turn her wicked.” I came for the dragons, I stayed for the story. I’m not going to lie, the promise of dragons is what immediately drew me into the story. But, I really fell in love with the storytelling and the world that Kristen Ciccarelli created. The Last Namsara follows Asha, daughter of the Dragon King of Firgaard and the Iskari, a wicked person with destructiveness in their soul, born from forbidden ancient stories. Determined to get out of her arranged marriage, Asha must use her experience as the kingdom’s most feared dragon slayer to kill the First Dragon. Along the way, Asha discovers truths she never expected about herself and the kingdom. Things I Liked My absolute favorite part of the book was the part that stories play in this world. Stories have this mythic power that is destructive and seductive all at the same time; the stories foster wickedness, but also draw dragons to the storyteller. We get stories interwoven between chapters that help worldbuilding and mythology and gives us a lot of history without ever feeling like an info dump. The stories and their power created this grand epicness that immediately drew me in and captivated me. This quote and it's epicness: The old heroes were called Namsara after a beloved god, he said. So she would be called Iskari, after a deadly one.I am a total sucker for dragons. They are these incredibly fantastic magical creatures who are complex and intriguing. And I really love them in The Last Namsara! We get to see how the people of Firgaard’s relationship with dragons have changed and see some great one-on-one interactions. I really found myself drawn into the writing in this book. It was alluring and enchanting and wrapped around you like one of the forbidden stories. It just really worked well with me as a reader, and I want more.I actually liked Torwin quite a bit. I loved that he wasn’t afraid to call Asha out on her privilege and inexperience with politics. He was a character who knew what they wanted and fought for it - it made him admirable and easy to connect with. I have some mixed feeling about Asha. I found her to be kinda unlikeable in beginning. She was incredibly naive about her place of privilege. BUT she does grow to realizes the privilege and power she comes from and starts to challenge her longheld beliefs. It is a process though, so it takes a little bit of time. She also has some really nice self-acceptance about her role as the Iskari, it’s expectations, and who she wants to be as a person. Things I Didn’t Like I was a little disappointed with the lack of diversity in the story. The worldbuilding and setting kind of allude to diversity, but it’s never explicit. Characters are very loosely described - hair and eye color only - and there’s only one vague reference to a group of people’s skin tone in the story. I feel like it might have been purposefully vague to not bring assumptions with the master-slave dichotomy, but it just felt kind of weird.I also would have liked a little more from side characters, especially Dax, Safire, and Rao. They all had specific roles and they filled them perfectly, but I wanted to know more about them as people, not just pieces of the story. I was in the mood for a fantasy story and this one delivered. I loved the world and it’s history - the magic of stories and the relationships with dragons. I really enjoyed the battle between the old ways and the new regarding power and ruling. Because I always like a health dose of political intrigue in my fantasy stories. And I can’t wait to see where the series is headed! The Last Namsara is an alluring world of action, discovery, and acceptance that you won’t want to miss.I received a copy of the book from HarperTeen via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Emily May
    January 1, 1970
    Tried to read this three times and it isn't holding my attention.
  • Cynthia
    January 1, 1970
    This book is magic. The writing is as nuanced as Marie Rutkoski's, the characters as endearing as Leigh Bardugo's, and the emotions as well drawn as Laini Taylor's. The world is lush yet raw, and love and brutality are rendered unflinchingly. ALL THE STARSSSSSSS. Also, A+ couple. And complex dragon and human relationships <333
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  • Heather Meloche
    January 1, 1970
    As a contemporary fiction writer, I love reading YA fantasy for the escape to new and magical worlds. So The Last Namsara, the first in Kristen Ciccarelli’s Iskari trilogy, tops my list for must-read 2017 debuts. Releasing in the U.S. in Fall by Harper Teen – though it’s already contracted to release in 10 other countries worldwide – The Last Namsara follows Asha, who, as a young girl, spoke aloud age-old stories with the power to summon the fiercest of dragons that nearly destroyed her city and As a contemporary fiction writer, I love reading YA fantasy for the escape to new and magical worlds. So The Last Namsara, the first in Kristen Ciccarelli’s Iskari trilogy, tops my list for must-read 2017 debuts. Releasing in the U.S. in Fall by Harper Teen – though it’s already contracted to release in 10 other countries worldwide – The Last Namsara follows Asha, who, as a young girl, spoke aloud age-old stories with the power to summon the fiercest of dragons that nearly destroyed her city and almost killed her. Older now and famous for her dragon kills, Asha sets out to right her past wrongs and secure her future by hunting down Kozu, the dragon who wreaked havoc on her and her people. With lush description of a rich, complex world, a forbidden romance, and heart-pounding, dragon-slaying action, Ciccarelli weaves a stunning story sure to be a YA fantasy favorite.
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  • Lisa (ohthenargles)
    January 1, 1970
    I got sent this book for free by the lovely Stevie Finegan over at Gollancz (Orion Publishing). It's an uncorrected manuscript proof. I got it for free and I read it for free. This is my part of the generous exchange: a review. Boy, oh boy. This book. I have a hard time figuring out how I can explain what I feel and why I feel it. This book is good but not amazing. It's clearly a debut novel which has both pros and cons. About 90 pages into the story I started to highlight and annotate in the bo I got sent this book for free by the lovely Stevie Finegan over at Gollancz (Orion Publishing). It's an uncorrected manuscript proof. I got it for free and I read it for free. This is my part of the generous exchange: a review. Boy, oh boy. This book. I have a hard time figuring out how I can explain what I feel and why I feel it. This book is good but not amazing. It's clearly a debut novel which has both pros and cons. About 90 pages into the story I started to highlight and annotate in the book to immediately write down my thoughts as I was having a lot of them.The Last Namsara tells the story of Asha, dragon-killer extraordinaire, daughter of the dragon king and betrothed to Jarek (aka Jarek the Jerk. I love his name since it's a play on the word JERK. Hence Jarek the Jerk or just Jerk from now on), who's some sort of general who climbed his way up to social ladder due to his charm *cough* blackmail. Asha was burned severely by the First Dragon when she was quite young, leaving her with the right side of her body scarred. She is about to marry Jerk w which obviously she doesn't want to, but her father gives her a way out. This is a chance she's willing to take even if it means her life.Let me start by saying that this story really intrigued me. A female dragon hunter who bows down to no-one (except her father and Jerk). Her character developed nicely. She shed her past, learning that there is more to life than dragon killing and being her father's weapon. However, I do have some problems with her. Asha is supposed to be an amazing hunter having killed a lot of dragon. Hunters/warriors always know what weapons they are carrying and where they are strapped to their bodies. Asha more than once forgets that she's not carrying her slayers or axe. She reaches for them and then doesn't even remember where she left them. This might be a small thing and most people won't even notice, but as reader of lots of hunter/warrior stories, I find it annoying and bad character portrayal. A real hunter wouldn't do this, just saying. But Asha is a strong character who grows a lot in the book, which is something I highly appreciate. There are a few more little things that annoyed me about her but I can't write that her because they apply to the story. The budding romance *eye roll* was predictable and not even necessary. The boy has BEAUTIFUL COLLARBONES *double eye roll*. Collarbones are just bones that stick out a little. Nothing beautiful about them. Moving on, the boy smiled a CROOKED SMILE *infinity eye roll*. Why does every boy character in YA have a crooked smile?! What's so endearing about them? I don't get it especially when everyone uses it. It has lost it's charm, I'd rather see a boy smile with his entire face. Moving on: SHE LET OUT THE BREATH SHE DIDN'T KNOW SHE WAS HOLDING *eternal eye roll*. Can y'all stop it with this sentence? Another overused YA trait. There are a few parts in this book that don't flow together. A few times it seems like a chapter or a scene was cut from the manuscript without making the story flow again. Maybe that's only in the ARC copy hopefully, because it hinders the progress of the story. Besides the original story, there were some developments that were quite obvious and I saw them coming from a mile away. Points for originality but -points for obvious choices.To conclude: besides the small annoying traits (which a probably only an annoyance for me) the story is fabulous with great characters and a good development. I highly recommend it anyone who likes YA, fantasy and strong female characters. I give this book a 3.5 stars, rounding it up to a 4 star rating.
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  • Lori (Pure Imagination)
    January 1, 1970
    DNF at 30%. I was so so sooooo excited about this book. DRAGONS! Who doesn’t love dragons?! No one, that’s who! I read some reviews for this one that made me so anxious to read it. I bumped it straight to the top of my huge TBR and was untimely disappointed. This is one of those fantasy novels that just drops you in the middle of a story and only explains things in little bits and pieces. I’ve read and loved many books that do this, but I could not get into this one. It was too full of unlikable DNF at 30%. I was so so sooooo excited about this book. DRAGONS! Who doesn’t love dragons?! No one, that’s who! I read some reviews for this one that made me so anxious to read it. I bumped it straight to the top of my huge TBR and was untimely disappointed. This is one of those fantasy novels that just drops you in the middle of a story and only explains things in little bits and pieces. I’ve read and loved many books that do this, but I could not get into this one. It was too full of unlikable or uninteresting characters. The way certain characters and the dragons were treated was infuriating. I had no motivation to pick the book up.
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  • Vippi
    January 1, 1970
    *ARC kindly provided by Netgalley and the Publisher in exchage of my honest review* As his eyes closed, she told him one last story. The story of a girl who hunted dragons to soothe the hurt in her heart. The story of the dragon who changed her. This book lured my interest thanks to its gorgeous cover, an interesting premise, and the promise of dragon & storytelling – honestly, a match too captivating for me to resist.It was a fast reading that kept me totally hooked despite this book was f *ARC kindly provided by Netgalley and the Publisher in exchage of my honest review* As his eyes closed, she told him one last story. The story of a girl who hunted dragons to soothe the hurt in her heart. The story of the dragon who changed her. This book lured my interest thanks to its gorgeous cover, an interesting premise, and the promise of dragon & storytelling – honestly, a match too captivating for me to resist.It was a fast reading that kept me totally hooked despite this book was far from perfect.Considering that the author was on her debut, she crafted an original story, full with action and twists, that moreover had a delightful magical, dreamy touch. I loved the idea of the Old Stories (especially the one about Iskari and Namsara that gives the title to the book), and of dragons as storytellers themselves. I liked the complex political situation and the (forbidden) romance between Asha and her betrothal’s slave, Torwin.But…But despite the great job done by the author, you can feel that she lacks a bit of experience – and I say this in the most non-judgmental way – that would have probably helped her fixing some issues.First of all, characters are not described in depth. Let’s take Jarek, Asha’s hideous betrothal. He was depicted as pure evil (cruel, fierce, plotting against the king…) and with a wicked, possessive desire for Asha. However, he felt too flat, one-dimensional, (view spoiler)[especially considering that he was just another puppet in the king’s hands, (hide spoiler)] and his real motives were never explored (for instance, why he was so infatuated with Asha). The same goes for Dax, Asha’s brother: he was nothing more than a list of adjectives, (view spoiler)[ that moreover did not capture his nature at all considering the major part he had in the rebellion, (hide spoiler)] but his feeling and his thoughts were never expressed. Even about Torwin, IMO the (potentially) most interesting character in the whole book, I felt as if the author just scratched the surface, showing us only the tip of the iceberg, leaving the most, maybe the best, underneath.Maybe all those flaws related to Asha: although her character was the best-portrayed, seeing the story only through her eyes meant that whenever she dropped some important question for later (and invariably never asked it) or did not give importance to some not-so-minor-issues/details, we inevitably missed a deeper insight in the story (for instance, (view spoiler)[how Dax became friend with Torwin, or how Dax and Roa planned the rebellion (hide spoiler)]) having the unpleasant feeling that too much was happening beyond the screens.Also the dragons remained on the sidelines, playing only a limited part in the story, when they should have been instead one of the hinges around which it all revolved.Also the complex relationship among draksors, scrublanders and skral could have been explained more in detailed to offer a more articulated, complete picture of the political background.The romance was interesting, but also a bit infuriating (view spoiler)[(even if at the end we finally got our agonized happy ending!) (hide spoiler)] and often it reminded me of the famous quote from Manzoni’s The betrothed: ‘“Mark well,” said the bravo in a lower voice, but with a solemn tone of command, "this love story is not to be performed, not tomorrow, nor ever."All in all, despite those flaws annoyed me a little bit, I got attached to this story and I will keep an eye on the next instalments.
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  • Kate
    January 1, 1970
    Guys, DO YOURSELVES A FAVOUR and add this to your to read shelves now. This book is fucking mint, I'm so surprised by it. The last dragon book I read made me cringe so hard I almost dropped my Kindle, so I've been wary of dragon books ever since. But I'm SO pleased I requested this oh my god.The Namsara is a child of light and life; the Iskari is a child of dark and death. Asha is the king's daughter, and his most fearsome dragon hunter. She is feared and hated by the people of Firgaard, assumin Guys, DO YOURSELVES A FAVOUR and add this to your to read shelves now. This book is fucking mint, I'm so surprised by it. The last dragon book I read made me cringe so hard I almost dropped my Kindle, so I've been wary of dragon books ever since. But I'm SO pleased I requested this oh my god.The Namsara is a child of light and life; the Iskari is a child of dark and death. Asha is the king's daughter, and his most fearsome dragon hunter. She is feared and hated by the people of Firgaard, assuming the role of the next Iskari after being severely burned by a dragon, which then went on to burn down a city. Stories play a huge part in The Last Namsara, and at the beginning of the book every chapter ends with one of the old stories, which I loved. It helped to learn more about the history of the land without having any info dump. I also loved the idea of telling the old stories to the dragons as a way of luring them in, and then also having them tell a story in return. And later on in the book, the dragons totally reminded me of Toothless from How To Train Your Dragon! I loved Asha, too. She is unapologetically brutal, and owns her title of Iskari. She never once feels sorry for herself, instead taking steps to right the wrongs of years ago. I loved her, but I also loved seeing a certain slave bring her walls down. I can't recommend this book enough! Thank you so much to NetGalley and the publisher for giving me the chance to read it!
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  • Anna Priemaza
    January 1, 1970
    I'm so madly in love with this book. So so so in love.Asha is the Iskari, the deathbringer. It's her job to fight dragons and to bring their heads before her father, the king. It's a dangerous life; if she survives the poison of a dragon's fire, she still has to face the leeching power of the forbidden old stories she tells and the choking hands of her jerkface betrothed.It's a world where there are no good and bad choices, only hard and harder ones. A world where power comes from stories--the p I'm so madly in love with this book. So so so in love.Asha is the Iskari, the deathbringer. It's her job to fight dragons and to bring their heads before her father, the king. It's a dangerous life; if she survives the poison of a dragon's fire, she still has to face the leeching power of the forbidden old stories she tells and the choking hands of her jerkface betrothed.It's a world where there are no good and bad choices, only hard and harder ones. A world where power comes from stories--the power to control, to lure, to manipulate... and to inspire change. And the whole book reads like it's one of those old stories, like we've all gathered around a campfire to hear THE LAST NAMSARA told in hushed tones, as images of dragons and battles and dancing paint themselves into the smoke and the stars.I'm so in love with this book that I just want to clutch it to my heart and never let it go.
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  • Lauren
    January 1, 1970
    I liked a lot about this book. Dragons are hot right now and this was another exciting read featuring them. More review to come. No love triangle. A settled ending, which surprised me a little bit, because this is supposed to be part of a series. I'm curious what that will entail.
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  • Dani - Perspective of a Writer
    January 1, 1970
    Check out more reviews @ Perspective of a Writer...Asha is the Iskari, an infamous dragon killer, who detests the power hungry commandant to whom she is betrothed. As the daughter of the king of Firgaard she must make up for her mistakes and part of her punishment will be to become his bride... unless she can bring her father the head of Kuzo the most powerful dragon in the land. As an ancient God interferes in her plans she must also deal with a rogue slave and protect her rash brother.From the Check out more reviews @ Perspective of a Writer...Asha is the Iskari, an infamous dragon killer, who detests the power hungry commandant to whom she is betrothed. As the daughter of the king of Firgaard she must make up for her mistakes and part of her punishment will be to become his bride... unless she can bring her father the head of Kuzo the most powerful dragon in the land. As an ancient God interferes in her plans she must also deal with a rogue slave and protect her rash brother.From the blurb you get the essence of the story while really knowing NOTHING of what you are getting in for and THAT IS FOR THE BEST! If the story simply followed the blurb it wouldn't be as compelling when you read it. There are some of the typical tropes like rebels and rebellions, forbidden love and casting off a child's eyes, but the world building works those known qualities into a compelling story...WORLD BUILDING#1 - Dragons!The dragons are a MAJOR part of the world building. I liked that. It was all kind of randomly touched on but all decently developed! All I will say is that these are NOT your typical dragons. It's all connected to stories... forbidden stories that Asha goes off alone to speak so that they won't lay low anyone else but her. We meet two dragons but that was enough for me and actually makes me excited for the next book... I LOVE Shadow!! LOVE HIM!!! I can start to see the culture that will develop around this initial setup of the dragons and the bonds they will start to have with humans.#2 - The importance of Stories!Another huge part of the WB are the stories. It's a little clumsy to just tell the stories in between chapters but I kind of LOVED it and actually wish they had continued longer. I wanted to hear ALL the stories that Asha's mother told to her... This is the neatest part of the dragons and I won't say much about it except if you are a fan of bookworm protagonists then you are in for a treat with this aspect of the story!#3 - An all powerful GOD...GOD was another HUGE part of the WB. Religion based around the dragons was part of the politics that were tearing the country apart. It's not overtly religious but a higher power is talked about and made a large part of the story. Contrasted to this idea of a god was Asha being rather harsh toward the race her family has enslaved to this day. Her "racist elitist" struggles actually quite balanced this part of the story and kept it from getting overtly goody, goody. #4 - Byzantine Empire CultureThe culture of the world felt like a mixture of the middle east and medieval Europe. Probably a sort of Byzantine empire knock off would be the best way to describe it. It's the most non-specific part of the world building and while I didn't hate it by any means I feel like you need to know about history to some extent to NOT feel like it is disjointed, because the Byzantine empire is not used in popular culture often. Overall the world building was developed well and felt like a specific place and time. I would have preferred less politics and more dragons but that is because I LOVE dragons and dislike intensely politics... really it was quite well balanced. You could tell this was a debut book world but one quite well put together for all that!CHARACTERSAsha was quite a trip. I thought she was bull headed to a fault and she made me groan at her inconsistencies at times. She made frankly inexperienced choices in things she was supposed to be an expert in. And she believed things that never made sense for the LONGEST times! (This smacks of contrivance and storytelling and development problems.) Yet I didn't hate her and found myself quite compelled for almost every page of the book! It's quite a dichotomy but speaks to an author that CARED about her characters journey and thus I as a reader cared too. Lack of experience caused her to make her MC a swing character instead of her side characters (which would have been more believable!)* For all her faults Asha reminded me of Lada in And I Darken but more approachable! They make totally different decisions being in almost opposite circumstances but they could be sisters...I really liked the secondary characters and the villains. They weren't a terribly large part of the story (really they needed to be woven in better/more) BUT what they did do is show Asha as an incredibly human person. Safire is perhaps my favorite and the more traditional warrior girl. I'm totally for her place in the palace in the end and look forward to where she goes in book 2... Dax her brother made me understand their father the king... and I actually kind of agree with the kind to a point about him but I still really liked the guy and felt like he was on his own journey. I suspected Jarek's place in the story from the beginning but I always wondered WHY Asha had such a problem with him? She wanted to atone! It seemed an odd point to take from the very beginning and would have served better as a conclusion she came to after what happened with Torwin.TORWIN! This guy marches to the beat of a different drummer... His motivations are obviously different from Asha but also ALL to do about Asha. It's intriguing and makes for a believable romance. Something really horrible happens and yet we get ZERO reaction from Torwin and this really PISSED ME OFF! I don't want to spoil anything but yeah, it upset me and tarnished Torwin for me a little. I wasn't surprised by how things turned out with him but it was all a little muddled with western thinking.That is what I ENJOYED about ALL the characters... they felt like they were their own people with their own agendas and their own paths. No one was there just to agree with Asha and be a stand in for a plot point. I LOVE a book with character motivations!!WRITINGIt took me a couple chapters to get used to the prose but even while in the setup I started to really love the prose. It was rich without being heavy which is quite difficult to carry off. The descriptions were of fine quality and while the storytelling was a little hit or miss I believe this author will only get better with each book (that is my hope for book 2!) Here is a really great first description: "Asha looked up into a long, narrow face full of freckles. Freckles as numerous as stars in the night sky. He stood so close, she could feel the heat of him. So close, she could smell the salt on his skin."In any case I was quite taken in by the way the back history is told through the stories being shared. Quite, quite, quite! When the dragons came onto the scene @ 40% I was TOTALLY taken in! So really you are beginning to see that this really is quite a compelling book with some creativity... I'll say that I really believe reading it would be a great thing because book 2 (if things continue upwards) will be an even greater book!DRAGONS, BETRAYAL and GIFTS, OH MY!The plot was quite good. I got caught up in what was happening despite the occasional character plips that would throw me off. I mean QUITE GOOD! The dragons were a mega part to me, GAH I can't say ANYTHING or I'd ruin it... Dax and Torwin and their connection... Jarek and the king... the god's meddling! Events were a little easy in the end but satisfying too... While I can't really imagine what book 2 is about I AM TOTALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO The Caged Queen!There are a couple covers for this book so look at them both because you may have seen or heard of the book before and not realize it. I prefer this newer cover even though it really gives zero away about the story and just gives you a glimpse of what to expect with Asha. The title is almost TOO revealing as it really gives away everything about the plot. So yeah the cover and title make for an odd combo. I highly recommend you reading this book... it's a compelling world if you give it a chance to be built up through the entirety of The Last Namsara. The plot is strong and you'll have fun reading it... it'll feel familiar, or comfortable if you will, while also taking you on a journey that sets you up for what could be as deep and blue as the skies that dragons fly through...⋆ ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Premise & World Building⋆ ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Cover & Title⋆ ⋆ ⭐⭐⭐ Development & Storycraft⋆ ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Writing & Narrative⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Plot & Pacing⋆ ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Relationships⋆ ⭐⭐⭐⭐ FeelingsBOTTOM LINE: A new compelling DRAGON WORLD!______________________You can find this review and many others on my book blog @ Perspective of a Writer. See my special perspective at the bottom of my reviews under the typewriter...
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