Review of The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli

Where the Namsara brings life the Iskari brings death.  Asha is the Iskari, death bringer and dragon hunter. Cursed with a lifetime of knowing it was her fault that dragons had come to ransack her town when she was a child, she is feared and reviled.  It was her mother telling her the Old Stories of dragons that brought them, a balm to her nightmares with horrendous consequences.  Asha has dedicated her young life to slaying the dragons, although now with them dwindling in numbers she must take drastic action to ensure a successful hunt. Asha must tell the outlawed Old Stories again.

The last Namsara is very much a book of revelations for Asha.  The dragon attack when she was a child left her without a mother and also horrible scarred from the burns she suffered.  Having to not only live with the fact that she is hated she also has to deal with the stares associated with her disfigurement, the armour she wears is both necessary for her hunt and for her emotional wellbeing.  When her secret is out following an accident during a hunt, she is tended to by Torwin, her betrothed’s slave, who seemingly is willing to keep her secret, but at what cost to both of them?  

Through a series of cruel acts she finds herself visited by the first Namsara who starts her on a path that will not only unravel the truth about what happened the day of the dragon attack, but also a much deeper and long running deception. Asha must therefore right the wrongs.

I very much liked Asha as a character, I found that she was written with both strength and vulnerability, she has always been the Iskari and that has given her an opportunity to hide behind a persona.  She is however still a teenager and she has the same hopes and fears as everyone, but her hardened act is thankfully easy to scratch beyond the surface of.  The book was an easy flowing read and I particularly liked how the Old Stories were interwoven into the pages, completing parts of the story and acting almost like a running prologue.  It was a great way of explaining a complicated back story without being an info dump on the reader. I also found that there was a great deal of realism about the aftermaths of events, the fact that laws can’t be changed to suit the sovereign and that one persons change for the better will always be anothers change for the worse.  It didn’t shy away from the ugly side of things and that always gets good marks from me.

That being said, I found the Last Namsara lacked a certain spark.  I enjoyed reading it very much don’t get me wrong,  but it didn’t have my pulse racing and I found it easy to put down of an evening.  I would still recommend this to anyone who is a fan of dragons and kick ass female protagonists as it really does have a lot to like.

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