Monday, October 2, 2017

The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli

Title: The Last Namsara
Author: Kristen Ciccarelli
Genre: Young Adult, High Fantasy
Source: HarperTeen via Edelweiss

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.
Review by Nara

The Last Namsara is Kristen Ciccarelli's debut YA novel, and I have to say, she has done a pretty good job. With solid world building, fast paced and engaging plot and a cute (and not overly dominating) romance, The Last Namsara has a lot of things going for it.

Throughout the novel are several stories/legends which were excellent in aiding the world building. In the book, these stories are forbidden and speaking them is said to bring chaos/sickness upon those who speak them. I really liked reading these stories, and would actually like it if a separate novella collecting them together was released.

Probably the only major criticism would be to do with the characters. They were all a bit stock standard, fitting moulds that have been seen before in YA fantasy. The villain especially was a bit typical, which for some reason seems to be a running thing with many of the YA novels I've read recently.

Other than that though, I really liked the book overall. It fit that niche of YA high fantasy + dragons that I was craving, and the plot was fast paced and action packed. While the plot overall followed a predictable arc, there were bits and pieces here and there that didn't necessarily follow the basic linear plotline.

As good as The Last Namsara was, I'm quite sure that the sequel will be even better. This novel took its time setting up the world and characters, and I'm sure we'll see even more action in further books.

Really liked it
Overall: 8/10
Plot: 4/5
Romance: 3.5/5
Writing: 4/5
World Building: 4/5
Characters: 3.5/5
Cover: 3/5