The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli

The Last Namsara

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...

Title:The Last Namsara
Author:
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The Last Namsara Reviews

  • Mic

    Meet your new fantasy obsession! Magical, enchanting, gut-wrenching, amazing, badass, inventive, dragon-y... :)

    This book will destroy you. Enjoy.

    *full review closer to release*

  • Tomi Adeyemi

    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.

    Her story and her words have so much beauty, and love, and passion, and adventure. By the end I gasped every 5-10 pages and got goosebumps every 10-20 pages.

    There are not many books I would say this for, but pre-order this now because your soul has been waiting for a story this beautiful.

  • Cait • A Page with a View

    2.5 stars. This one is kind of hard to review because I had a feeling the whole way through that it was a story I

    like and normally WOULD like, but just could

    get into it. And after 2 months of forcing myself to finish it, I'm just... confident that this was not really for me. That's not a judgement on the book itself or the author by any means! Just me.

    I think the author created a complex world and added a lot of elements I adored (like dragons, royalty,

    2.5 stars. This one is kind of hard to review because I had a feeling the whole way through that it was a story I

    like and normally WOULD like, but just could

    get into it. And after 2 months of forcing myself to finish it, I'm just... confident that this was not really for me. That's not a judgement on the book itself or the author by any means! Just me.

    I think the author created a complex world and added a lot of elements I adored (like dragons, royalty, adventure, and girls with swords). The idea of the main character being attracted to the slave of her betrothed was something that stood out more. So there were parts that kept me reading! But the worldbuilding seemed kind of sketchy or elusive in parts (or else turned into an infodump because I didn't care yet). Plus, the writing never grabbed me and other parts just felt... off. I mean, this is a story about DRAGONS and a badass princess on a quest for her freedom!! It should not be that hard for me to get into.

    So this didn't work for me in the end, buuut please don't take that as any sort of condemnation of this book. I can definitely see others liking it!

    Thank you to the publisher for sending me an ARC.

  • Crazy4Books

    I should have waited closer to publication day to read this but I was anticipating it too much to wait that long. Im always on the look out for great dragon books and the fact that this was also written by a Canadian author made it to the top of my TBR. I absolutely loved the little stories through out the book and the power they held. The concept was just amazing. Using stories to lure dragons was fascinating and the Old God plot line intrigued me. The last third of the book was definitely the

    I should have waited closer to publication day to read this but I was anticipating it too much to wait that long. Im always on the look out for great dragon books and the fact that this was also written by a Canadian author made it to the top of my TBR. I absolutely loved the little stories through out the book and the power they held. The concept was just amazing. Using stories to lure dragons was fascinating and the Old God plot line intrigued me. The last third of the book was definitely the best part and I absolutely love the dragons.

    I liked that the main character was kind of an antihero. I enjoyed the main character Ashas complexe relationship with her brother and cousin. I would have liked to see more of her relationship with her cousin. Her cousin could have been more developped, but the I thought the main character was well developped. I enjoyed the direction of her brothers plot line, but I wasnt impressed when he forbade her to do something. I thought the romance was cute. I even ended up liking Torwins character more than Ashas.  

    I felt like it would have simplified things if the obstacles had been dealt with differently. My main issue with this book was how Asha kept shrugging off important questions and not making the best decisions. Ashas naivety was frustrating to say the least, but I understand those stupid decisions were probably made so she could have some character developpement and to advance the plot. I just really wanted her to act against Jarek. If someone I cared about was missing I wouldnt be getting my dress fitted. By the end things start making more sense and the characters growth helped me overlook some of my earlier frustrations.

    The writing was alright but it didnt completely hook me. Since this is a debut I expect the author will get better with more experience. There was also some tropes like being betrothed to a monster and her thinking shes not pretty and getting mad when someone tells her she is, but to be fair she is scarred and I dont mind the betrothal trope. I ended up liking the authors twist on these tropes. I loved the world, the dragons and the power of storytelling. I really enjoyed the ending and I have high hopes for the sequel. Id recommend this if you like dragon books with a unique concept.

    *Id like to thank the publishers for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review*

  • Dannii Elle

    The book opened with the intriguing line,

    , and I was pretty much sold from this point forward.

    Asha is the daughter of The Dragon King. Responsible for the dragons that burned her city, murdered her mother, and left her with a disfiguring scar, she is both feared and loathed by her people. It is only her closeness to the throne that keeps her from becoming openly ridiculed, or worse. By once bringing the destruction of the dragons to her city, she now devotes

    The book opened with the intriguing line,

    , and I was pretty much sold from this point forward.

    Asha is the daughter of The Dragon King. Responsible for the dragons that burned her city, murdered her mother, and left her with a disfiguring scar, she is both feared and loathed by her people. It is only her closeness to the throne that keeps her from becoming openly ridiculed, or worse. By once bringing the destruction of the dragons to her city, she now devotes her life to riding her lands of the ferocious and fearsome mythical beasts. And nothing can alter Asha from continuing on this quest. Not even her impending marriage to the cruel Jarek. Not even her brother who has returned to her waning from a mysterious illness. Not even an ancient prophecy that seems to be haunting both her dreams and nightmares. But maybe in the face of the slave who doesn't seem to know his place beneath her.

    I was never not going to be interested n a book about dragons! But what I didn't expect was how much more this book had to deliver. Whilst the dragons continued to play a major theme throughout this book, this fantasy also dwelt on the harsh treatment of the slaves who serve this story's focus. The slaves are subjected to both harsh cruelty and casual degradation, and the protagonist is provided with a steep learning curve of the equally as devastating effects of the two when confronted with one who will not conform to this treatment.

    Through the immersion of these deeper themes the reader is provided with a broader insight to these mystical lands, as all levels to the social hierarchy are covered and explored. This enhanced my understanding of these realm and added an authenticity to, what was clearly, a well-thought out and well-built world.

    The magic system used, in where words can summon myths and stories can drain a human of their health, I initially found a little overwhelming, however. I struggled to understand the particulars of this but, as the story progressed, all my questions were answered. It slowed my pace of reading during the first quarter, as I personally prefer my fantasies to have a solid foundation before the story advances, but didn't continue to impact my enjoyment once I realised all would be revealed in the book's own, sweet time.

    My only slight point of contention was with how large a part the budding romance, between Asha and her unintended, played in the story. I found Asha to be such an independent and feisty female who, in my opinion, could have remained just as strong without the additional complications of love. It wasn't an over-blown or hastily written romance, but a slow-building and believable one. But one, nevertheless, that added nothing much to the story for me, as sweet as it was.

    In all, this was a thrilling kingdom fantasy that provided a unique world, an intriguing magic system and a story-line I am interested in seeing continued in the series' following instalments. Now, if the romance would only take more of a back-seat to the action, this would become perfect!

    I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the author, Kristen Ciccarelli, and the publisher, Gollancz, for this opportunity.

  • Nina (Every Word A Doorway)

    I decided not to re-read the premise prior to picking up

    but to go in completely blind, and it was the best decision I could've made. This debut took me by surprise in the way it drew me into its world of dragons, gods, and magic stories. I WAS SO DOWN FOR THE DRAGONS. I definitely got some

    vibes from this, guys. Move aside

    ,

    has come to claim your place.

    I decided not to re-read the premise prior to picking up

    but to go in completely blind, and it was the best decision I could've made. This debut took me by surprise in the way it drew me into its world of dragons, gods, and magic stories. I WAS SO DOWN FOR THE DRAGONS. I definitely got some

    vibes from this, guys. Move aside

    ,

    has come to claim your place.

    Objectively, I could give a slightly lower rating due to the issues I had, but

    had me so invested, racing through it within a couple of hours, that I cannot but give it 4 stars.

    ➽ The first chapter had me doubt whether I'd like Asha – the heroine, princess, and dragon hunter – or not. She struck me as one of those bland special snowflakes that get on my last nerve. But I was wrong. Though Asha is treated as special, it is not because she is particularly adored. Rather, a dragon attack she provoked, which affected her township as well, has left her scarred, shunned, and feared.

    I really liked how the topic of self-love was handled; Asha wears her scar with a certain degree of pride but it also causes her a lot of vulnerability and self-consciousness. Further, she is treated like a cursed person – someone corrupted by the magic of ancient stories – and so she thinks of herself as one. Asha has never forgiven herself for costing people their lives in the dragon attack, and it made me warm up to her fairly quickly. The characters I wouldn't want to trade places with always grow on me.

    Like many spoiled princesses raised in a palace, Asha has little understanding of the disparities of her world. Throughout the book, Asha is challenged in her beliefs and starts developping a mind of her own.

    ➽ I was quite intrigued by the character dynamics. There's a web of interactions which are impacted by hierarchical rank, blood ties, and/or ethnicity.

    The icy relationship between Asha and her betrothed reminded me a lot of the movie

    , to be honest. This is certainly not the first fantasy in which a princess tried to get out of an arranged marriage but this one was interesting to watch, as her betrothed was a narcissist of the worst kind. Further, I quite liked Asha's bond with her half-cousin Safire which took up the spot of "female friendship" in this book. The romance commences swiftly after the beginning.

    However, it later becomes clear how and why the romance developped the way it did.

    It is not a unique romantic subplot by any means but I'm a complete sucker for forbidden romance, ok?

    Though this is not your typical master-slave-romance, since Torwin is her betrothed's slave (not hers), it does involve bridging a gap in the societal hierarchy.

    ➽ But now, let's talk about the dragons, shall we? I loved the idea for this story, being that dragons crave good storytelling and are able to tell stories themselves through images upon touch.

    Didn't I tell you this reminded me of

    ? Hence, it didn't take me long to be pulled into the story, perhaps two chapters at best.

    There's a certain

    to the plot, of course, because we just know by now what course certain YA fantasy stories take. Nonetheless, it astounded me how tight I was in this book's grip. I literally had to force myself to put this book aside and go to sleep; it was

    addictive.

    Though Ciccarelli had certainly put a lot of thought into it, I just couldn't get a proper sense of where I was when plunged into this world. I interpreted that Asha's kingdom was inspired by Viking culture (so, again, similar to

    ), but there weren't a lot of other clues. On the contrary, her use of the word

    for women's clothing confused me, as I had hitherto associated it with North African/Middle Eastern cultures. The clash between two ethnicities in this realm is important for the political subplot, but the kingdoms didn't seem distinctive enough.

    There ware several stories written between chapters. They both give the reader a better idea of how those might have looked like but also filled in gaps in the kingdom's history. Some might find that info-dumpy but I thought it worked really well with the overall storyline.

    ➽ Ok, so you probably know how much I loathe books in which heroes/heroines make stupid decisions in spite of their intelligence to drive the plot in a certain direction.

    It would've taken a different – or rather, a more abrupt – direction had she chosen to act on the apparent clues she had. She seemed suspicious but she didn't ponder over it which was weird. I just don't like it when that happens, I really don't.

    In addition, the reader is sometimes given (hasty) explanations rather than having an epiphany of their own. A few times, this happens because Asha doesn't come to a realization and needs another character to open her eyes. Other times, it just seemed like information needed to be purposefully repeated in order for the reader to have an "Ohhh right" moment. I don't fault Ciccarelli for this, as this quality is perhaps something an author acquires with years of writing experience.

    For me, this point of criticism applies mostly to the ending.

  • Lola  Reviewer

    3 1/2 stars. Finally, a dragon fantasy YA book that doesn’t s—smell bad. It does show that this is the author’s debut novel, from how careful she is being in her writing (take risks, madam!), but it’s a worthy debut.

    The idea of telling stories to dragons fascinated me. I mean, the dragons listen! They even speak. They have a brain, like there could be a whole community of them living next to the humans.

    Except Asha—the dragon slayer—wants them all to die. Indeed, if she destroys Kozu, they will

    3 1/2 stars. Finally, a dragon fantasy YA book that doesn’t s—smell bad. It does show that this is the author’s debut novel, from how careful she is being in her writing (take risks, madam!), but it’s a worthy debut.

    The idea of telling stories to dragons fascinated me. I mean, the dragons listen! They even speak. They have a brain, like there could be a whole community of them living next to the humans.

    Except Asha—the dragon slayer—wants them all to die. Indeed, if she destroys Kozu, they will all die, and so will the Old One, which the dragon king (her father) despises. Most important of all, if she brings Kozu’s head to her father, she won’t have to marry jackass Jarek.

    You’ve seen it before: a girl of royal descent who wants to do everything possible to escape an arranged marriage. But what you haven’t seen as much is a princess falling in love with a slave. It’s always the contrary it seems: the powerless woman ends up with the all-mighty man.

    I enjoyed seeing their relationship evolve. He’s not even HER slave—he’s her betrothed’s. Asha has no intention of getting involved with him, but he proves himself to be valuable and loyal.

    The dragons play a huge part. They are not there for decoration alone. Sure they’re scary and mighty, but they are also surprisingly intelligent and non-bestial when not threatened. Any reader would be reminded of Khaleesi and her pet dragons.

    The secondary characters do not, however, play a grand part. My mind immediately goes to Safire, who only exists for Asha. She’s not technically a slave, and yet her freedom is limited. And she’s such a liability. Asha’s brother is mentioned multiple times, but he almost only appears when Asha is in trouble. I don’t feel like I know anything about him.

    Kristen Ciccarelli definitely needs to work on developing her characters, to make them more real to the reader. She’s done a good job of bringing the dragons to life, though, with a delicate, graceful writing style.

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  • Sabrina

    Checkout my full review on my blog!!

    This book is everything I want in a book and more. We have a MC who is strong, fearless, unemotional, hard set in her ways but she meets someone who shows her the truth of the world she lives in. She slowly breaks down her own walls and becomes self aware of the horrors around her. Asha doesn't care about looks or charms, she wants to fight, she wants to prove her self as being called the Iskari. Yet when a dark truth i

    Checkout my full review on my blog!!

    This book is everything I want in a book and more. We have a MC who is strong, fearless, unemotional, hard set in her ways but she meets someone who shows her the truth of the world she lives in. She slowly breaks down her own walls and becomes self aware of the horrors around her. Asha doesn't care about looks or charms, she wants to fight, she wants to prove her self as being called the Iskari. Yet when a dark truth is revealed, she questions her loyalties and her whole existence.

    I also came across a character that I feel a strong hate for, Jarek. A twisted self centered controlling character to be who will do anything to keep Asha within his controls. He may be beautiful but his character is anything but beautiful.

    Then we have Torwin, my sweet smol cinnamon roll Torwin. He shows what it means to live and what it means to know your truth. I wish there are more Torwin's in YA. He brings out the light in those who have gone too dark.

    The plot has small anecdotes and present day interwoven throughout the novel. These small anecdotes are important for the overall progression and "realizations" in the novel. I had certain expectations about this book but I was completely blown away. I loved the dragons. They have life. Let me explain, in other YA novels dragons are just there, symbolically and physically but that's it. But the dragons in this novel make or break certain things. Their significance is known throughout the novel.

    This is a wonderful and complex world of dragons, deception, royalty and more. I can't wait for book 2.

    - - - - -

    This is everything I want in a book and more. I love this.

    My fiery queen, Asha.

    An asshat (putting it nicely), Jarek.

    And my smol cinnamon roll, Torwin.

  • Sara

    I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

    Once there was a girl who was drawn to wicked things...

    I ended up really, really enjoying this. The Last Namsara follows Asha - the daughter of the dragon king of Firgaard, as she tries to atone for her sins of the past and embrace the role of dragon slayer, warrior and weapon. The Iskari. Betrothed to the high commander, trapped in a cycle of death and hate from all around her, when she's offered the chance of freedom by destroying

    I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

    Once there was a girl who was drawn to wicked things...

    I ended up really, really enjoying this. The Last Namsara follows Asha - the daughter of the dragon king of Firgaard, as she tries to atone for her sins of the past and embrace the role of dragon slayer, warrior and weapon. The Iskari. Betrothed to the high commander, trapped in a cycle of death and hate from all around her, when she's offered the chance of freedom by destroying the First Dragon Kozu, Asha seizes the opportunity. Forming an unlikely bond with her commander's slave, Asha comes face to face with the beast that haunts her dreams, and uncovers some truths along the way.

    At first glance this seems like a straight forward fantasy YA novel with dragons, but on reading it's so much more than that. At the heart it's about a girl overcoming the beliefs and prejudices instilled in her by her father, and a fight for the rights of the slaves and people of her county. It's really about freedom.

    Interlaced with this plot is a magical world and a mythology that is well crafted and detailed. The idea that speaking old stories can draw dragons and power to the wielder is a rather unique and a wonderful idea. I loved the interjections of the old stories throughout the text which interweave and support the main story. They felt almost lyrical in their presentation, and I was actually craving for more of them. The dragons themselves also have wonderful personalities, and I really felt a bond with them - especially Shadow. Asha's relationship with them is also great to see unfold - from her initial mistrust (mutual) and her growing love and respect for them. I did cry at one point.

    Asha, The Iskari, was a wonderful main character. She's feisty, and powerful yet vulnerable to the men who ultimately hold her in their power. It's her journey that really makes her character so strong however. She starts the novel as a hated warrior, feared by all with no love for anything besides her brother and cousin. She has no respect for the dragons or slaves, yet as we progress we see her begin to warm to others and realize that she might have more in common with these people and creatures than she first thinks.

    Jarek is a wonderfully mean character. He's loathsome, mean spirited and resentful with a lust for power and domination over Asha. This is displayed perfectly in the passages about Asha's wedding gown, which Jarek has designed so that she can't get out of it herself and must resort to having someone else do it for her - an ultimate act of submission and humiliation for Asha.

    I felt the only weak link in the story was Asha's love interest. It starts out strong, with a 'forbidden love' element that builds slowly, but as the story progresses it becomes a little bit cumbersome to the plot and slows down the pace as we spend time with Asha mooning over him and repeatedly stating that she needs to keep away from him 'for his own good' and 'to keep him safe'. Many times I just wanted her to realise that he could look after himself and get on with the adventure.

    I really believe this is a wonderful fantasy novel, with generally good pacing and plenty of action. I look forward to the next installment.

  • Jodi Meadows

    I'll admit, I went in hopeful but skeptical. But within a few chapters, this book really won me over and I ended up really enjoying it. Definitely recommended for people who like face pacing, forbidden romances, and sweet puppydragons.

    Though I read the ARC, I'm absolutely going to buy a finished copy of this for my collection.


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