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.
First I’d like to give a huge thanks to HarperCollinns for giving me an ARC of this book. I adore dragons and so any book about them will automatically jump to the top of my TBR list. I’m always hesitant of course because I’ve read some very bad books featuring dragons and so I always worry about how well they’ll be represented. Thankfully, this book represented them excellent and I loved the portrayal of the dragons in them.
In this world, Asha is an extremely skilled dragon hunter as dragons are evil and need to be destroyed. However, is that really the case? Are they really a threat or is something more sinister going on? As the novel progresses, we learn more about the dragons who used to be on friendly terms with humans until recently. Asha slowly goes on a journey as she learns more about herself and her history while discovering the truth about Dragons.
As already mentioned, the portrayal of dragons in this book is fantastic. One particular piece of worldbuilding I loved was the fact that telling the ancient stories was forbidden as it drew dragons and I just really enjoy the concept of dragons being big fans of storytelling. It conjures up an image of a cosy hearth with a large dragon reading to a bunch of tiny baby dragons and if I was able to draw, I could definitely see myself doing a lot of fan art for this novel.
The characters are excellent and I love the interactions between them. In particular, I really enjoyed the portrayal of Asha’s father and their relationship and seeing how it developed throughout the novel.
I read this book in one sitting as I just could not put it down and upon finishing it, my main thought was “Oh no, because I got this as an ARC I have to wait even longer than most people until the second one!”. My review for this is a bit late as I didn’t want to publish it too early (and so ended up being too late) but I’ve got it out now! I highly highly recommend this book and I can see it earning a place amongst my favourite books of the year if I end up making a list.