Thursday, 9 November 2017

The Last Namsara

The Last Namsara

by Kristen Ciccarelli

4 out of 5

A gripping YA crossover series from a spectacular new voice in the genre

Once there was a girl who was drawn to wicked things

Asha is a dragon-slayer. Reviled by the very people she's sworn to protect, she kills to atone for the wicked deed she committed as a child - one that almost destroyed her city, and left her with a terrible scar.

But protecting her father's kingdom is a lonely destiny: no matter how many dragons she kills, her people still think she's wicked.

Even worse, to unite the fractured kingdom she must marry Jarek, the cruel commandant. As the wedding day approaches, Asha longs for freedom.

Just when it seems her fate is sealed, the king offers her a way out: her freedom in exchange for the head of the most powerful dragon in Firgaard.

And the only person standing in her way is a defiant slave boy . . .

THE LAST NAMSARA is an extraordinary story about courage, loyalty and star-crossed love, set in a kingdom that trembles on the edge of war.

Asha is the Iskari - the dragon-slayer, death-bringer, and all-round wicked girl. She lives every day to prove herself to her people and her family.

I received a free ecopy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This story follows Asha, the daughter of the Dragon King. She is weighed down by the sins of her past, reviled by the general populace; blamed for the dragon attack that injured and killed many innocent people.
Her future is not a bright one. She hunts dragons, to gain redemption; and she has agreed to marry the violent and power-hungry Jarek, in a bid to keep him in check. then one day, her father offers her a way out - if she kills the first dragon, Kozu (the same dragon that had burned the city and scarred Asha for life) - there would be no need for Jarek in their lives.

I really enjoyed this. It had the warm feel of an old-fashioned story, a myth or legend that had been passed down; just like the stories that Asha loves to tell.
It has dragons, an old ally that is now their greatest enemy.
There are dragon hunters, and Asha drives herself to be the fiercest of them all.
There is a family that is royal, but still subject to pleasing the masses.
And there are betrayals and secrets.

Lots of betrayals...

I enjoyed the tension that rose every time Jarek steps into the room. He is a vile character, the head of the army; he is ever-ready to inflict punishment on anyone that steps out of line. He toys with Asha, threatening to punish anyone she ever gets close to, if she doesn't do as he says - or sometimes, if he feels like it. You get the inescapable sense that he wants to own Asha, and to control this fierce dragon-hunter. He can't wait until they are legally bound, so he can spend his time breaking her to his will.
I can't remember the last time I hated a character so strongly. I was really rooting for Asha to get out of marrying him.

Most of the plot focuses on Asha trying to complete the mission of killing Kozu, while the Old One (their half-ignored god) does everything possible to put hurdles and restrictions in her path.
She is so focused on this mission, Asha doesn't notice that her father's rule is on unsteady ground, and there are hints of rebellion in the air from the slaves, and the traditional Scrublander enemies.
On occasion, Asha did seem a little too oblivious to everything going on around her.

I found the romance between Asha and Torwin to be sweet and poignant and... also long-winded.
There are whole chapters dedicated to touching a wrist, or deciding whether or not to remove an item of clothing.
What can I say, I prefer dragons and battles to star-crossed lovers.

I really enjoyed this book, and would definitely continue with the series. I'm curious where it will go, as this book nicely rounds off Asha's story. 


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