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Reviewed by:
  • Kate Quealy-Gainer, Assistant Editor
Ciccarelli, Kristen The Last Namsara. HarperTeen/HarperCollins, 2017 [432p]
Trade ed. ISBN 978-0-06-256798-7 $17.99
E-book ed. ISBN 978-0-06-256800-7 $9.99
Reviewed from galleys R* Gr. 7-10


As a little girl, Asha lured dragons out to play at night by telling them the forbidden old stories—until one of the creatures turned on her, leaving her terribly burned and much of the kingdom in ashes. For her penance, she became the Iskari, a feared dragonslayer who now eight years later brings the heads of dragons home as trophies to the king, her father. When the king promises Asha that he will end her betrothal to a cruel man if she kills the dragon known as the Old One, now the symbol of a brewing slave rebellion, she eagerly takes her chance. Her hunt, however, uncovers terrible truths about her past and brings her close to Torwin, one of the slaves, and raises her sympathy for the revolt. Ciccarelli layers multiple story threads, pulling each to the forefront at various times and seamlessly weaving them back as the plot moves along. The third-person narration allows full immersion in the world, with excerpts from the old stories and flashbacks to Asha’s childhood rounding out a complete setting. Characterization is also deftly executed, with Asha a mix of ruthlessness, insecurity, and brashness, and the secondary cast is given nuance and depth as well. The larger political implications of war, rebellion, and the years of rebuilding that must follow are all thoughtfully examined, and fantasy fans will be both surprised and pleased that all of this is packed into what seems to be one stand-alone installment. [End Page 111]



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