The Last Namsara (Iskari #1) by Kristen Ciccarelli



Kristen Ciccarelli hails from Ontario’s Niagara Peninsula where she grew up on her grandfather’s grape farm. She spent her childhood running wild with her cousins, adventuring in the woods, building forts in the barn, and obsessing over books, dragons, and girls wielding really cool weapons. Visit her at


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.


The fantasy devouring creature that I am was overly excited when I saw this title on Edelweiss. I went straight to ordering it from Netgalley. I just couldn’t keep calm until I finally had it on my Kindle ready to read.

The first couple of paragraphs hooked me to reading more, but as I continued I felt less and less engaged. The whole idea behind the novel is so brilliant, yet the execution of it fell flat.  I was haunted by a feeling of feebleness at every sentence. The main character as strong as she might seem at first sight, lacked depth and behaved like a spoiled teenage girl. Which when you think of it she is , yet she was trained to be a warrior, which automatically should put an end to all childish behavior and present the reader with a well strained and serious human being.

I continue to argue with myself on this matter. It is, after all, a YA novel, but should we underestimate young adults by giving them poor examples to follow? I think NOT! In my teen years (here I freely admit the geekness in my own upbringing) I read more serious literature than I should have, but overall I believe I mostly merited from it. Being raised by Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Kafka and Kerouac, one builds up a view of life that demands reason and a sense of reality that comes in handy later in life. While by relying on weak, indecisive, prone to women nature leading figure, I think, one should be prepared to fail.

I do admit the read was enjoyable. One could even dare to call it adventurous and ingenious that is of course, if you are a weak reader, but I kept expecting more. The most jarring thing was that The Last Namsara managed to impress me right after I’ve finished 2/3 of it. And believe me to wait for most of the novel to finish, so that you see what you knew the author was capable of from the start was…. For lack of better words: GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!

This is without a doubt one of the books that has confused me the most. It had a brilliant idea behind it, but it was poorly executed. At all times I felt like the author was holding back… As if she were floating on top of the story afraid to dig in. I understand it is a YA novel but it left me feeling underestimated as a reader. And dragons behaving like dogs were a bit of a downfall to me. On the other hand the story evolved in a smooth manner, which made it enjoyable to read. I have to admit that the last 50 pages showed better writing than the whole book.




A potato with a book. Screams German words when angry. Known as the Mid-night Chocolate Thief. Breathes to write and mingle. Observes and remembers. Pokes you when you least expect it. Can be put on a stand by mode with a cup of coffee/ tea.

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