The Last Namsara
By Kristen Ciccarelli
“The old heroes were called Namsara after a beloved god, he said. So she would be called Iskari, after a deadly one.”
From a young age Asha has been hated and feared by her people, called 'Iskari' and used by her own father to kill Dragons.
Asha lives a very lonely existance. She knows what people think of her and she knows deep down that she is wicked. After all Asha was the one who told the old stories and drew the First Dragon to the palace where he killed many people.
The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli is one of the best fantasy books I have read this year. There are no words to accurately describe how much I enjoyed this book.
From the first sentence of The Last Namsara I had a feeling it was going to be my kind of book:
“Asha lured the dragon with a story.”
Asha knows that she shouldn’t be telling the ancient stories, her own father, the king has banned them because of their deadly nature. Unfortunately, dragons have become scarce recently and the only way she knows to lure them is by telling the stories. Asha has never returned to The Dragon king without a kill and she doesn’t want to disappoint him by doing so now.
“Asha hasn’t been afraid of fire since the First Dragon himself left her with a vicious scar running down the right side of her body.”
When hunting Asha dresses herself from head to toe in armour made from the hides of the dragons she has slaughtered. On this particular hunt though Asha is distracted by the presence of her beloved cousin Safire. Safire has come to speak to her but is not wearing anything to protect her from the dragon if it breathes fire, so Asha lends her own gloves to Safire.
When the dragon appears, Asha comes to regret lending her gloves to Safire when the dragon’s fire burns her hand. Asha must hide her burn from the other’s in her party because the dragons stopped being able to breathe fire when the old stories stopped being told because the stories make dragons more powerful.
Asha knows she must act quickly to treat the burn as dragonfire is toxic if left untreated but when she returns to the castle she quickly realises she cannot easily treat the wound on her own. She doesn’t realise that there is a slave or Skral watching her. Not just any slave either it is Torwin, her fiancé Jarek’s slave.
Skral like Torwin and Safire are not allowed to touch or make direct eye contact with those they serve. So, in helping Asha he is breaking all the rules. In exchange for his silence over her burn he asks Asha to dance with him in a time and place of his choosing.
The story behind Asha becoming a dragon hunter went that as a child she was drawn to wicked things like the old stories and that in turn her wickedness drew dragons to her. She didn’t care until she drew the first dragon, Kozu to her,
the deadliest dragon of all. Kozu wanted her to tell stories to him all the time and when refused her burnt her and then took out his rage on her home.
Jarek was the one who saved her and as his reward the king decided they would be betrothed.
After the fire her own people despised and feared her and called her ‘Iskari’ after one of the old stories. Her father decided to use that name to create a title for her.
The old story went that in the beginning ‘The Old One’ was feeling lonely so he made two companions for himself.
The first companion was named ‘Namsara’ and was formed from sky and spirit. Namsara was
a golden child. When he laughed, stars shone out of his eyes. When he danced, wars ceased. When he sang, ailments healed. His very presence was a needle sewing the world together.
The second companion was name ‘Ikshari.’ Ikshari was formed of blood and moonlight.
Ikshari was a sorrowful child…Ikshari brought destruction and death. When Ikshari walked, people cowered in their homes. When she spoke, people wept. When she hunted she never missed her mark.
Ikshari hated her nature and pleased with the Old one to make her more like Namsara but The Old One refused stating that the world needed balance. In her anger Ikshari tried and failed to kill The Old One and for punishment was banished to wander lonely in the dessert. In the end she died of loneliness.
This was the legend Asha’s title was born from and like her namesake her title brings her a certain amount of loneliness.
The evening of the hunt Asha’s brother Dax returns from a diplomatic mission and brings ‘Scrublanders’ back with him much to everyone’s surprise.
“Enemies in the heart of the palace. In the home of the king they’d tried to kill on three separate occasions.
Dax as an heir was always causing scandals and was an embarrassment to the King so Asha and everyone else wonders why he has chosen to bring enemies to their home.
Later on, in the evening Asha passes out because of her wounds and Torwin catches her in front of everyone causing Jarek to sentence him to death.
Dax comes to Asha and begs her to use her charms on Jarek in order to save Torwin’s life but Asha is reluctant to intervene on behalf of a Skral.
Whilst Asha is passed out she receives a visit from a messenger of the old one named Elorma. Elorma gives her a gift of two blades curved like half-moons. In return for the sacred slayers she must follow Elorma’s command that they only be used to make a wrong right. She receives more gifts over the course of the story and each one comes with a command which Asha is reluctant to follow because she knows The Old One abandoned them when Kozu attacked the city.
This was a story of multiple of betrayals and many twists and turns.
As soon as I finished this book I immediately wanted to start reading it again. I loved the Old Stories mixed in to the book and learning about dragons.
I also liked that Asha was such a strong and fierce leading character but that she also had her imperfections.
I cannot wait to read the next book.
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