It seems appropriate that the last book I read this year was one of my most anticipated reads! After reading the synopsis for The Last Namsara, I was hooked: a fierce woman bound by duty to her father and her kingdom, dragons and those who seek to slay them, a mysterious destiny, and old, forbidden stories… Yes, please! ❤️ Instead of making the same mistake I made while reading Tower of Dawn — switching back and forth between the hardcover, the Kindle edition, and the audiobook 😵 — I decided to listen exclusively to the audiobook. Pearl Mackie is a fantastic narrator, and I think she captured each character’s distinct mannerisms and personality perfectly.
Not sure what this book is about? You can find a short synopsis here! 🙂
What I Liked: This book has one of my very favorite opening lines. It’s short, but it definitely draws the reader in: “Asha lured the dragon with a story.” I fell in love with the idea that dragons were drawn to stories, and that they could share their own stories in return. It’s a unique kind of magic with which anyone who loves books is familiar — the power of words, strung together to create something that can be passed on through generations. That detail, along with the world-building, helped to establish the setting and make the world seem more real to me. I really like that, initially, Asha isn’t a very likeable character. She’s terse, with a fiery temper and a stubborn independence that sets her apart from others. This comes with being the Iskari, the fated bringer of death, and in her case, the king’s personal dragon slayer. I enjoyed seeing her journey unfold and watching her change because of it. And of course I loved the dragons! 🐉 Since this is the first book in a trilogy, I’m hoping to see more of them in the second and third books. I’m particularly intrigued by the bonding that occurs between a rider and their dragon, and I’d be excited to learn more about different types. I also want to see more of the scrublands. Roa was one of my favorite characters (I mean, she has a hawk, guys 🤷🏻♀️), so it would be interesting to see the place she calls home.
What I Disliked: Something about the pacing felt slightly off, especially around the halfway point. Everything seemed purposeful and eventually helped to set the events at the end of the book in motion. But there were times when I felt my attention drifting away from the action of the story. 🙁 I personally could have done with less romance. It’s one of those situations where the protagonist is fated and/or determined to accomplish something huge and world-changing… and yet there’s still enough time to fall in love. (I’m not saying it can’t happen. But it’s a trope that I wouldn’t mind seeing less of.) And even though I realize that we’re meant to hate him, I hate Jarek SO MUCH. Having listened to the audiobook, I can say with confidence that Mackie does an amazing job of reading his dialogue in the most disdainful, rude, and downright slimy voice. I found myself scowling every time he showed up. 😒 I think he’s a necessary character in this book, but I did wish on more than one occasion that Kozu would just eat him and be done with it…
Overall, I think this is a unique and beautifully written story that reads like a myth made real. I’m excited to see where Ciccarelli takes Asha in the second book, because (without spoiling anything) by the end of this one, I have a few ideas, but there’s huge potential for brand new adventures, characters, and challenges!
About the Author: Kristen Ciccarelli
I can’t believe it’s almost 2018! Are there any books you’re trying to finish before the new year? Any big New Year’s Eve plans? 😁 Be on the lookout for a few more blog posts from me over the next few days, including a December Wrap-Up, a 2017 Year-End Wrap-Up, 2018 Bookish Resolutions, and my January TBR! Happy New Year, and happy reading!