The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli

LastNamsara_jktcover.jpgTitle: The Last Namsara (Iskari #1)

Author: Kristen Ciccarelli

Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.25 Stars)

Release Date: October 3, 2017

“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 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, the daughter of the Dragon King of Firgaard. Asha is known as 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 role 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 rulings. I always like a healthy 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.

2 thoughts on “The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli

  1. vicariouslyvoraciously says:

    Great review! The first few sentences of your review basically describes me and my love for dragons.

    I have been looking forward to this book for a while, and now I am EXTRA excited.

    Liked by 1 person

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