The Last Namsara is easily one of my favourite fantasy books of this year.
The Last Namsara is easily one of my favourite fantasy books of this year. I mean, a princess who slays dragons, dark forbidden fairy tales and romance? I was pretty much hooked from the very first line….
“Asha lured the dragon with a story.”
The story begins with Asha killing a dragon, she hunts dragons religiously to make up for a terrible mistake she made as a child that resulted in her city being destroyed. Asha is reviled by her people for her past and now must marry the much-loved commandant Jarek, to appease her city. However Asha is given a chance to gain her freedom, she must hunt down the First Dragon who burned her city and left half her body scarred and she will stop at nothing until she’s free.
"Once there was a girl who was drawn to wicked things. Things like forbidden, ancient stories. It didn’t matter that the old stories killed her mother. It didn’t matter that they’d killed many more before her. The girl let the old stories in. She let them eat away at her heart and turn her wicked. Her wickedness drew dragons. The same dragons that burned her ancestor’s homes and slaughtered their families. Poisonous, fire-breathing dragons. The girl didn’t care."
Asha is a fierce, determined and all round badass heroine. However what I loved about her most was her personal growth, at the beginning she’s completely flawed; she’s rude, arrogant, condescending, spoiled but the character arc is truly wonderful. As the book progresses Asha’s evolves as a character, everything that comes with being a pampered princess is completely broken down and she evolves fiercer than ever with sound morals and beliefs. She learns from her mistakes, she’s able to see how narrow-minded she was and actually grow as a person. I went from being really dubious of Asha to ultimately being her high-school cheerleader. ha!
“The old heroes were called Namsara after a beloved god, he said. So she would be called Iskari, after a deadly one.”
The story is told from Asha’s point of view in the present but there are a few chapters along the way that show you glimpses of the past such as Asha’s childhood, how she lured dragons and my favourite: the tales of Figaard’s myths and legends and of course the history of dragons. As Asha’s journey leads her far from palace life and deep into the woods, she uncovers devastating secrets that will change everything.
"No one could know the truth: after all these years of trying to right her wrongs, Asha was still as corrupt as ever. If you opened her up and looked inside, you'd find a core that matched her scarred exterior."
In addition to truly enchanting story telling, there was a slow-burn romance that you can’t help but get on board with. Torwin is the slave of Jarek, Asha’s devious furture-husband. Torwin was such an interesting character and I’m looking forward to learning more about him in book two, his story and history is one I can’t wait to explore. So clearly this romance is completely forbidden, Torwin will literally lose his head, which only makes me ship it all the more; I’m such a sucker for forbidden romances. However the slow-burn route Ciccarelli took was utterly brilliant and addictive in its small doses. Both characters had chemistry, there was suspense and I love how Torwin actually challenged Asha so she would finally open her eyes.
"The dragon came, slithering out of the red-gold silt like the treacherous thing it was. Sand cascaded down its body, shimmering like water...while it's slitted gaze fixed on the girl who summoned it. The girl who'd tricked it with stories."
The Last Namsara is a stunning debut to a fantastic fantasy series. It’s fast-paced, action packed, filled with a diverse cast, dangerous legends and of course dragons! There’s political intrigue, a hidden rebellion and a consuming romance that will keep readers on the edge of their seat and reading long into the night. Fans of An Ember in the Ashes, Seven Realms and the Shattered Realms series with devour this.