The Last Namsara
She is feared by everyone, called the Iskari, bringer of death and destruction. Her only solace is in hunting the dragons that earned her the name in the first place.
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But Asha, as a person, is so much more. Her fears and doubts are laid out across the pages for anyone to see, and we learn that she's just one girl, like any other one. Of course, she's engaged to a betrothal that she desperately wants to escape, and a boy forbidden to her captures her heart.
That's not even compared to what happens when she learns that she is not the Iskari, and her life has been a lie. A backstabbing father and finace, and the truth nearly destroys her. I thought the concept of dragons being fascinating. Unlike most books, dragons in this are protectors of the realm, who keep their people safe and equal.
On a whole, I'd this book as a 4/5, because even though the plot is enriching, it really could be more. Other than Asha, her dragons, and her lover, none of the other characters seem to have a life. Safire, an illegitimate child, is usually a burden, an annoyance, and doesn't seem to really have a purpose. We know very little about her other than what we can learn from her actions. Her brother, heir to the throne, is a mystery as well. Of course, the main character is Asha and the book should follow her, but there could be more to the other characters as well. But I'd recommend this book to anyone 6th grade and up, since it is a really good and wonderful novel.
Review by Maggie L.
The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli
This book is set in a fantasy landscape, created by a god known as the "old one". He created dragons to rule the land and gifted many people known as Namsaras with special powers to protect the world from evil. Over time, he and his Namsaras faded into legend in the land of Firgaard, with only story tellers telling the old stories. Dragons are also active and desire stories, so they often interacted with the storytellers. Two generations before the main story starts, a "dragon queen" in Firgaard defeats and enslaves the outside invaders known as skrals with the help of a Namsara. However, around this time, many of the storytellers begin dying of a strange sickness, getting sicker and sicker the more stories they tell. Stories are then banned from the kingdom and dragons are to be hunted down.
At the beginning of the story, a girl named Asha is the daughter of the king, and is the best dragon hunter in the realm. Her mother told the old stories to her and she uses them to bait the dragons out. However, when she tells the story to the ancient father of dragons, he accidentally burns down a city. When she gets stuck in a arranged marriage to someone she hates, Asha decides to steal their slave and set them free. However during this process, she realizes how evil her to-be husband is, the evils of slavery, and uncovers a stunning revelation about the old stories when she is recruited by the old one as the next Namsara.
Rating: 5/5 stars
Review by Joshua Y.
Here there be dragons… but not if Asha has anything to say about that. As the Iskari, the destroyer and death bringer in contrast to the peaceful Namsara, Asha’s role is that of the fiercest, most feared dragon slayer. Trapped in an unwanted marriage to the cruel commandant Jarek, she takes the chance her father, the king, gives her: if she kills the most powerful dragon in Firgaard, freeing the world of the ‘old stories’, she will be set free of her marriage. The ‘old stories’ harm those who speak them, and are forbidden as a result. Yet that is the main character’s deadly secret- she knows and tells the stories that led to the death of her own mothers to lure the dragons that she kills. Yet life is complicated, as always, and leads to the many interesting plot twists within the book. It’s always a surprise, yet makes sense when you think back to what happened and see how it all works together (hindsight 20/20 as usual). However, where this book both shines and stumbles is with its integration- the old stories sprinkled throughout the book are interesting and refreshing, but the lore connected with them makes it confusing. Don’t expect to understand the title for a very long time, and sometimes you just have to go with the flow, things will make more sense as they go on. It may be just another fantasy novel based on a powerful dragon hunter, but the fascinating society and complex characters make it an interesting read.
Review by: Lucas H.