Kristen Ciccarelli’s debut fantasy explores an intricately woven world of deception, inner darkness, and dragons that fantasy fans won’t be able to resist.
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.
Author: Kristen Ciccarelli | Series: Iskari Series | Format: Audiobook | Narrated by: Pearl Mackie | Length: 11 hours, 17 minutes | Publish Date: October 3, 2017 | Genre: YA Fantasy | Rated: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ | Recommend: HECK YES
“Once there was a girl who was drawn to wicked things.Things like forbidden, ancient stories.It didn’t matter that the old stories killed her mother. It didn’t matter that they’d killed many before her. The girl let the old stories in. She let them in eat away at her heart and turn her wicked.”
I am so glad that I found this book. I don’t know why I never read this earlier. I think I have a tendency to be late for such amazing books.
So this was definitely something that I hadn’t come across before. Not only am I so intrigued by this world that our characters are in, but just the kind of characters that are involved in this book. My absolute favorite character has to be Asha, but Torin is definitely a close second. Asha is pretty much the deadliest woman in this world, because she is the only one that can destroy a dragon and survive. She has been hunting them since the moment she could, and the only one that has ever bested her was the oldest dragon Kozu when she was a little girl. She almost died then, and from that point on she learned her lesson. The dragons were the enemy, and she would kill every single one.
“The old heroes were called Namsara after a beloved god, he said. So she would be called Iskari, after a deadly one.”
She got her title, Iskari, from the old gods, one that was deadly and corrupt. Everyone that knew who she was feared her, and her reputation preceded her everywhere she went. And yet, her abusive and evil fiance Jarek has the potential to take everything she has away – most importantly, her freedom. Asha’s father, the Dragon King, tells her that she can get out of this hell of a marriage if she kills the oldest dragon, the dreaded Kozu that almost killed her all those years ago. She jumps at the chance to take him on, anything to gain her freedom. So what does she do when she finds out that, not everything is as it seems?
Everything that she knew about the dragons was a lie, and even though she used to hear the old stories, she still has so much to learn about her world. With the help of Torin, the slave of her betrothed, her world opens into one that is actually worth fighting for. She grows into a person that doesn’t just refer to slaves as “slaves” but by their given names. She learns that dragons aren’t always the gruesome monsters that she grew up knowing. She becomes so much better than she was before, and it makes her stronger.
I can’t wait for the rest of the series to come out, and I’m so glad that I purchased the hardcover copy from Barnes & Noble so I can reread this again before the second book is out.
You can learn more at www.kristenciccarelli.com or by following @kristenciccarelli on Instagram.