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 darkness—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 learning 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.
Published 2017 by Gollancz, 416 pages.
My Score: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 3/5 stars
I found this book on my trip to Adelaide that you can read about here! For the first three-quarters of the book I couldn’t put it down. I was hooked, and it was such easy reading! I haven’t read a YA fantasy in ages and I forgot how fun they can be. The only reason it lagged a bit at the end was the protagonist became a bit pesky and couldn’t see what was pretty obvious… but I guess that’s YA – is it ?? I’m not sure, I used to love these kinda novels but lately I have found them all lacking something and I think its the maturity (pretty lame word, perhaps street-wise-ness (probs not a real word) but you get what I mean) of the protagnoists.
Setting: Set in a kind of medieval fantasy where the Drakors rule, their slaves are the Skral and their enemies are the Scrublanders. And there are dragons, of course. They used to ride and live alongside in peace with the dragons, but then they turned on the Drakor and in turn the Drakor began hunting and killing dragons. The physical world itself isn’t gone into in great depth, but the stories and myths and legends in their world is. That what makes this book such a beautiful read I think. The dragons are enchanted by the stories, drawn to them irresistibly. It’s a neat concept. Some chapters are purely stories from the old days which link into the story line.
Characters: Protagonist is a tough chick with a massive scar across her face and body from a dragon attack when she was young. Now she hunts them. I really liked her at the start, but towards the end she just seemed to naive to what was happening around her. The other characters are not fleshed out so much, even her love interest isn’t really explored which is a pity – you don’t become invested quite enough in the characters.
Plot: This plot was very well done, with lots of twists and turns. A bit more foreshadowing would have been great, but it still has a good pace and keeps you turning the page. Bit of a clique ending, but that’s cause I’m not a fan of ‘fate’ matches.
Overall – it was written so beautifully! The language, descriptions, stories, it was a delight to read. Especially when she described Tormind through Ashas eyes. Freckles as stars and all that. V sweet! Sadly no book bf like I was hoping 😅