fantasy · review · young adult

The Last Namsara – Kristen Ciccarelli

“Once there was a girl who was drawn to wicked thing. Things like forbidden, ancient stories.”

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Blurb: “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.”

The story follows a dragon slayer called Asha who is an Iskari; a child of destruction. This fact doesn’t stop her facing a betrothal she doesn’t want, but when the King offers her a deal – kill the oldest dragon and rid the world of the dragon age forever – she is all too quick to accept.

The Last Namsara was another book that I decided to pick up on audiobook and I am so glad that I did. Pearl Mackie just added a whole new level of pure magic to the tale – it felt like I was listening to someone sitting around a roaring fire while telling a story from long ago in our history. She just had the perfect voice and she had me waiting on every single word and pause as the story progressed.

The story is broken up by current events and history which helps build up the world but also manages to avoid info-dumping which is too common in fantasy stories. The transitions between the action and historical elements did well to contextualise the universe and I felt that this aspect was really well done.

I am a sucker for political intrigue and adored how things unfolded throughout the plot as Asha’s main focus became doing everything she could to avoid her betrothal.  She had some hard choices to make but inevitably did what she felt was better for the bigger picture, not just herself.

My absolute favourite part was the use of stories which have a paramount importance in this world. When someone speaks an old story aloud, it lures a dragon out of hiding but also makes them stronger; makes them able to breathe fire. I just loved the connotations it gave of stories having power and the importance of our words.

I will admit, my attention did waver for the last quarter of this book. Partly because it felt like it was setting up for the sequel and partly because I was listening to it more sporadically due to my life getting busier so I don’t feel it’s fair to entirely judge it on that.

The Last Namsara is a fantastical story sure to fill the dragon shaped hole in your life.

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