The Last Namsara: Iskari Book One Paperback – 11 December 2017
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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. (Joanne Harris)
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. (Tomi Adeyemi, author of Children of Blood and Bone)
A grand endeavour where prejudice and abuse are faced with passion and loyalty creating a tale where you care about the characters and the world they live in. (TERROR TREE)
It was a fantastic read and I highly recommend it if you enjoy fantasy, particularly strong female leads, lots of action, oral storytelling and lots of twists and turns. (SF CROWSNEST)
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- Item Weight : 440 g
- Paperback : 432 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1473218136
- ISBN-13 : 978-1473218130
- Product Dimensions : 14 x 3.2 x 21.8 cm
- Publisher : Gollancz (11 December 2017)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #356,795 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book with dragons and this book had me captivated from the very beginning. I had this on my TBR for a year and I can’t believe that I had waited this long to finally pick it up. It was an entertaining read throughout. I loved the way the author weaved this story and I absolutely fell in love with the narrative style. The characters were interesting including the dragons. The world building was great, and the plot was engaging. For a debut, I think it was a great start. If you’re looking for a YA Fantasy that has dragons, forbidden tales, magic, and a dash of forbidden romance then you’re in for a treat.
The story follows Asha princess of Firgaard who’s also the most feared dragon slayer, and an Iskari. In her kingdom, the old tales were forbidden to speak because people believe they bring nothing but death and destruction, but Asha uses them as a bait to lure the dragons because it gives them power they couldn’t resist. When she learns about her betrothal to a cruel commandant, Asha’s whole world turns upside down. To gain her freedom, she must slay the most dangerous dragon of their kingdom which could free them forever from the danger of old myths and tales. With the help of her betrothed’s slave boy, Asha sets on a journey to hunt the dragon, but during their journey so many hidden secrets and her true destiny is finally unveiled.
Asha was a strong, complex, and a brave heroine who’s addicted to old forbidden tales and is proud being a ruthless dragon slayer. She always wanted to prove herself to her father and her kingdom because of her past mistake which killed a lot of people. I really liked Asha’s character even though she seemed a bit arrogant sometimes. I enjoyed her character growth throughout. Torwin was an interesting character. I’m so glad that he wasn’t a total submissive slave and will not be afraid to fight for what he wants. The slow burning romance between Asha and Torwin was very well done and I can’t wait to know how their relationship develops further. I also liked Safire, Asha’s cousin. She was another strong badass girl in this series. Despite the abuse, she always stood strong. I really enjoyed the friendship between Asha and Safire, and how they’re protective of each other. Asha’s brother Dax, heir to the kingdom of Firgaard is quite opposite to Asha’s brutal strength, but they both deeply care about each other. I loved their sibling relationship. Jarek was pretty much a Jerk and I didn’t like him. There’s also another interesting character named ROA who didn’t have much part in this book but she’s going to be the main character in the next book.
The plot was entertaining and engaging. I was hooked to the story right from the very start. I loved the concept of The Namsara and The Iskari. The forbidden tales between the chapters brought more intrigue to the plot. The pacing was perfect and I loved the surprising twists. The writing was one of the best things I loved about this book. The beautiful prose isn’t too heavy and I loved the way the author narrated the story. It felt like reading a fairy tale. The book was written in third person pov. I loved the world building. It gave me some middle east and vikings vibes. The dragons and their connection to the old tales was quite fascinating. I absolutely loved Kozu!
Overall, I loved this book! It was a good YA fantasy filled with adventure, action, romance, magic, and dragons. There’s no heavy cliffhanger at the end but I’m still excited to get my hands on the next book.
Kristen Ciccarelli, a Canadian author, has penned a delightful debut YA fantasy novel called, The Last Namsara that is the first book in a duology named, Iskari and this revolves around a king's daughter, who was born with the power to destroy and kill lives, who embarks on a quest to kill the first dragon of her land that took away her mother and left her scarred for life, in order to save herself from getting married to a cruel commandant as per her father's deal, and this is no easy task, when she is the one responsible for destroying and burning down her kingdom when she was a little girl by summoning the first dragon all by herself. And now it is time to pay for her sins.
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.
The Iskari, who can bring death, is also a princess of the land, Firgaard and is known by the name of Asha. True to her nature and bondage to being a deadly goddess, Asha has forever payed for her childhood sins, when she summoned the first dragon named, Kozu by telling him ancient and forbidden stories, that came and destroyed her kingdom, leaving her scarred for the rest of her life. Owning to her painful past and her mistakes, she has shut the window to her emotional heart, and hence to save herself from getting married to a brutal commandant as per her father's wishes, she embarks upon a path to kill Kozu all by herself. But surprisingly, her would-be-husband's slave, is turning out to be a thorn in her way, who is constantly challenging her to open up her heart to love and kindness. And little did Asha knew the conspiracy and the hidden truth behind her real nature and truest identity, can she save herself as well as her kingdom while restoring peace among various divisions of people?
Read a riveting YA fantasy after a very long time, and thankfully, I found this book in the November BooksNBeyond book box. Free of any tired tropes, this book has an extremely promising and a satisfying plot, that is bound to take the readers to unique places. Hats off to the author for using her brilliant imaginative skill to pen this fantastical story about a female teenager and deadly dragons (No its nothing like Dany and her baby dragons from the Game of Thrones ) each wanting to overpower one another in a mystical kingdom. Laced with ancient and alluring folklore in between the chapters, this book is perfect for any YA fantasy story fans.
The author's writing style is really articulate and eloquent enough to keep the readers hooked onto the story line till the very end. Also it is laced with enough depth and emotions to make the plot absolutely arresting and realistic enough for the young readers. The story has many elements and angles that make it look interesting enough for the readers. The narrative is engaging, alas, I found flaw there, since the characters don't have much voice all through-out the story. The pacing is really fast, as there are enough adrenaline rushing moments to keep the readers glued, and not to mention, the unforeseeable cliffhanger is definitely going to make the readers begging for the next book in the series right after reading this book.
The world-building is good, sadly some fatal flaws steal away the limelight from such an intricate world building done by the author. The world created by the author is apt and valid with full of logic, back story and reason, and is vividly beautiful enough to make the readers fall for a world filled with dragons, gods, folklore and slaves, that might anger some, as slaves in a society and their need and presence is shown as justified by the author, but, the author has given a heroic role to a slave who is a main character in the story.
The characters are poorly crafted from rough, except the main character, Asha, who despite of having flaws, will come across as someone very relatable and realistic in the eyes of the young readers. Sadly this story too follows the same old pattern of cheesy teenage romance between a princess and a slave, which will make some readers cringe over it, but others might find it cute. The secondary characters do not have any voice or lacks character development thoroughly and hence this is where the readers are going to lose their interest from the story. All through out the story line, I hoped to know more about Asha's closest friend and confidant as well as about her brother, sadly, I found them incomplete.
In a nutshell, this is a promising book that is going to rule the literary world of teenage fantasy for a while, after all, who doesn't love a good fantasy story about dragons and their fire.
This follows this girl Asha who is known by the name of Iskari, death-bringer because she hunts down the dragons.
In her childhood, she was almost burnt to death by the first dragon and the whole kingdom look upon her the reason for the destruction that the dragon caused in the city. From then she has a complete hatred for the Dragons and she decided to hunt down all the dragons.
But in the path of her is a slave boy.
I absolutely loved the story. This was fast-paced with slow-burning romance. Asha was brave.
and the dragons were completely awesome.
Top reviews from other countries
Asha (daughter of the King of Firgaard) is the Iskari, a legendary dragon slayer, feared by everyone who encounters her. The Legend of the Iskari is that she is a child of blood and moonlight, the bringer of death and destruction. She is due to marry Jarek, but her father offers her another option: bring him the head of the first dragon and he will release her from her promise. This leads Asha on a journey of discovery as she endeavours to fulfil her father’s wish and free herself from her fate.
So why didn’t I love it? I found it a slow story. It wasn’t as fast paced as I expected from the blurb and there are times when a lot of storytelling is devoted to not a lot happening. I didn’t like Asha. I found her moody, elitist and often unlikable. I found that her moods and position changed so much that it made me uncomfortable.I didn’t find the romance between Asha and Torwin believable at first. I couldn’t see why he was so attracted to her (early Asha is vile to him).
That out of the way, The Last Namsara, had some excellent features.
The stories of the Dragons and the old magic were brilliantly written. I adored Kozu as a character and I wanted to see more of him and his interactions with Asha. The addition of storytelling as a powerful, old magic was wonderful; the stories were beautiful in their concept and the way they were written. The legend of the Namsara and the Iskari was a highlight of the novel for me.
Part of the ending I guessed at but part was a complete surprise and left the story in an excellent place for the second book, which I will read because I do want to know how this story continues, I just hope the pacing of the second book is a little more exciting.
I haven't fallen so hard for a book in a long time. Everything about it was perfection from start to finish and I devoured it so quickly that I am now suffering the biggest book hangover. The world was so well thought out, and the characters...Asha has stolen a fierce place in my heart, and I will forever be in love with Torwin's freckles.
I raged. I laughed. I cried (thanks for THAT SCENE, Kristen). If this book makes you do anything, it makes you feel. Asha's journey is one I was so pleased to get to witness.
I'm gonna keep this spoiler free, but I'll say with ease that The Last Namsara is definitely one of my favourite reads of this year...and of all time. I can't wait to read more of Kristen's work, because she is, at heart, a true storyteller <3
There are so many twists and turns as the story unfolds, it had me guessing right until the end.