Published by HarperTeen on October 3rd 2017
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.
When Aly couldn’t stop flailing about The Last Namsara, I knew I had to get a copy for myself. It sounded amazing – fantasy has always been my favourite genre, and the blurb made this sound like a thrilling tale with lots of dragons. It delivered on all accounts.
First of all, our main character is absolutely badass. Asha is the most famous dragon slayer of her age. Daughter of the dragon king, she is feared among all the land, but this awe comes at a price. She has become quite heartless, and as a child, she was burned by the First Dragon, leaving her with great scars.
Asha starts out with an inbred prejudice against many races, including the skral. It is when she might be falling in love with one of these skral that she is forced to open her eyes and see how she was raised around lies. The book handles many problematic issues such as slavery and racism. Asha’s point of view is very limiting, though; it would have been really interesting to read things from a skral’s point of view.
This romance, our second point, was a really big part of Asha’s character development. I guess I should hate that “it took a guy for her to open her eyes”, but in this setting I found it well done and very natural. Despite a very rocky start, their budding relationship was very slow and gorgeous, and I could really root for them. But her friendships with her brother and cousin were also detriment to her evolution and I really enjoyed that.
The villain, Jarek, was completely and utterly despicable, and therefore he was awesome. He was possessive, brutal, and cruel. I loved to hate him, and found it incredibly frustrating whenever he had the upper hand. Absolutely loathsome. Well done. Dolores Umbridge would totally fancy him.
I have to be honest – the best part? Totally the dragons. Asha both lures the dragons and gives them power through the telling of old stories, which I really enjoyed.
All in all, I cannot recommend The Last Namsara enough. It is so much more intricate and beautiful and badass than I can make it out to be.
Thank you to Edelweiss and HarperCollins for providing me with a copy