Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Blog Tour: Review of The Last Namsara by by Kristen Ciccarelli

Hi everyone! Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Last Namsara. The Last Namsara is a debut fantasy novel by Kristen Ciccarelli and it's about - wait for it - dragons. If you know me at all, you know I love dragons, and The Last Namsara did not disappoint. Please see my review below.


The Last Namsara (Iskari #1) by Kristen Ciccarelli
Publisher: Gollancz
Released: 12th October 2017
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Find on Goodreads
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 dark—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 hearing 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.
(from Goodreads)

I knew I was going to like this book from the very first chapter. The book opened right in the middle of an action scene – I thought I would have to wait a while to see any dragons, but nope, they were there from the very beginning, and I was so grateful there was no faffing around with long introductions. I wanted dragons and I got dragons – but also so much more.

Asha, daughter of the Dragon King, was the Iskari, a title named after a goddess of old, known mostly for her destruction and chaos. As a young girl, Asha was responsible for an incident which caused the death and collapse of an entire town, and has been trying to pay penance ever since. Tasked with killing every dragon until none remained, Asha was a fierce hunter. But no matter how many dragons she killed or how many people she saved, she was still feared and reviled by her people. To start with, Asha was incredibly stubborn and narrow-minded, unwilling to think outside of the teachings she had followed her entire life. She was, however, incredibly focused and determined – once she set her mind upon a task, she would carry it out at all costs. I really enjoyed seeing from Asha’s perspective; her relationships with other characters were very interesting and very telling of what she prioritised in life. I especially liked seeing how she got on with her brother and the way their relationship changed throughout the book. Asha’s connection with the dragons was another one of my favourite parts, and I only wish we could have found out more about the dragons and where they came from.

Torwin was the slave of Asha’s betrothed and he started off quite a mysterious character. He seemed to know Asha somehow, or was at least more familiar with her than he should have been, and he was strangely important to several people with stations far above his own. I liked Torwin; I liked the way he seemed to be able to get people on his side and I’m really interested to find out more about him. To be honest, however, I didn’t fully buy the romance. This was mostly because Asha and Torwin barely spent any time together and it just seemed a bit rushed – some bits were pretty cliché and I couldn’t really believe how fast their feelings developed. I absolutely hated Jarek, Asha’s fiancé, though – he was one of the most awful people I’ve read about in a while. He was just sadistic the worst thing was there was really nothing else to him other than his love of making people suffer – I spent half the book hoping he’d fall off a cliff.

Plot-wise, I loved the dragon mythology in this book, especially the stories which drew dragons out and made them stronger. I do wish we had learnt more about the stories and how it was that they had such an effect on dragons, but I loved reading them and learning more about the histories of the Namsara. I also loved all the scenes where dragons appeared (can you tell that I really like dragons) and the tasks Asha had to carry out. I did find some parts of this book to be a bit predictable and saw some of the twists coming, but overall, it didn’t really affect my enjoyment of the story. I think some parts could also have been developed more – e.g. Asha’s feelings on dragons after learning more about them and how she now viewed her past actions.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. A promising start to a new fantasy series – highly recommended (especially if you like dragons!).


Kristen Ciccarelli hails from Ontario’s Niagara Peninsula where she grew up on her grandfather’s grape farm. She spent her childhood running wild with her cousins, adventuring in the woods, building forts in the barn, and obsessing over books, dragons, and girls wielding really cool weapons. She wrote The Last Namsara for the girl she used to be (and sometimes still is).

Website: https://www.kristenciccarelli.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SheLuresDragons
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kristenciccarelli/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKristenCiccarelli/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15428577.Kristen_Ciccarelli

Many thanks to Stevie and Gollancz for letting me take part in this blog tour! Make sure to visit the next stops at A City of Books and YA Under My Skin tomorrow.