The Last Namsara is a teen fantasy novel about a girl named Asha, the daughter of the king of Firgaard. But people call her the Iskari, not the princess. You cannot make eye contact with the Iskari, you cannot touch the Iskari, and being seen with the Iskari is frowned upon. When she was a girl she lured out the most powerful dragon, who consequently destroyed more than half their kingdom with fire. Since, she's been blamed and shamed by her people and goes out to hunt dragons to win back the people's respect.
The world set up around Asha is so cool. They live in a world where stories are forbidden to be written or told; not only do the stories lure dragons, but telling stories makes the teller sick. There is also war brewing on the horizon, one that everyone is just waiting for. The geography is well set up, too. The book takes place mostly in Firgaard and the Rift, but we know of the people and lands beyond these settings, and it's explained so well that it's obvious the author has it all mapped out.
Since the incident, Asha is left with a burn scar covering half her body, she's trying to hunt dragons to extinction, and she's betrothed to the commandant of her father's army (who's awful, btw). Her brother is supposed to be next in line, but he's not very political or the leader type. Asha is favoured by her father and she favours him.
Asha is such a strong female character. I mention this in my Goodreads review, but Asha kinda squashes the trope of a "strong female character" whos actually a coldhearted bitch. She's definitely an antihero, and not at all perfect, but that's what character development is for. There's also a sense of major self-consciousness from Asha in the beginning. Asha knows the stories that are forbidden, and because she hunts dragons, she uses the stories to lure them to her so she can slay them. For some reason, the sickness never claims her, but she's ashamed of the stories, and of her scar.
There's actually a particular in scene in which she's kinda reflecting on these insecurities, and the way it was written in her antihero perspective just really hit me hard. It made me really emotional for a hot minute. You know, when the tears are a'flowing and you have to stop reading cause your vision is all blurry? Yeah, that was me.
The plot of this novel begins when Asha is caught between her father (*cough*cough* the patriarchy *cough*), the skrals (the race of people the kingdom has enslaved), and the scrublanders (a people nearby who're on rocky terms with Firgaard).
Dragons, romance, and politics ensue.
So here's your list:
- Patriarchy Crushing
- Strong Female Main Character
- Strong Female Friendship
- Cool World Building
I rated this a 5/5 stars on Goodreads and I already can't wait for the sequel to come out!
Was The Last Namsara on your list already? If so, let me know. If not - you should really check it out!