« Then may Death send his worst. Cold to freeze the love in my heart. Fire to burn my memories to ash. Wind to force me through the gates. Time to wear my loyalty away. I’ll wait for you at Death’s gate. »
- Author : Kristen Ciccarelli
- Release date : October 3rd 2017
- Number of pages : 421
- Book 2 : The Caged Queen
- Book 3 : The Sky Weaver
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.
Asha : she is the character that we follow throughout the book. When she was younger, she would tell stories to dragons. However, the First Dragon, Kozu, came and tried to keep her to himself. She told him no and out of wrath, he burnt her and her city killing thousands of people. That experience injured her as a big scar running from the right side of her head to the top of her chest. Her people began to hate her and to run away from her. She became Iskari in reference to a cursed goddess. She swore that she would kill all the dragons to atone for what had happened because of her. Jarek, the one who rescued her, is the general and the king said that Asha will marry him when she comes of age.
At first, Asha is withdrawn into herself because of her scar, her rank of princess and the title of Iskari. Everyone is afraid of her and marginalises her, except Jarek who seems to take perverse pleasure in reminding her that she is his. She will begin to blossom thanks to her meeting with Torwin, who is one of Jarek’s slave. Little by little, her personality will change and it was well developed.
“And with that thought came a loneliness so sharp and cruel, it felt like an axe cleaving her heart in two.”
Torwin : He is one of Jarek’s slave. They meet after that Asha comes back from her hunt. He helps her to treat her burnt hand cause by a dragon’s breath and he goes against the laws he has to comply with. Slaves do not have the right to touch a Draksor other than their master and Asha wonders who is this slave who isn’t afraid of her. Gradually, both of them will fall in love but it is taboo and they will have to overcome the numerous obstacles together. The fact that he had an important place in the book was great. He takes his fate into his own hands and isn’t afraid of arguing with her. He brought to Asha that warmth and that love which she lacked.
“Greta used to say,” he said as he played, “that every one of us is born with a song buried deep in our hearts. A song all out own. And our mission in life is to find that song.”
Don’t fret ! I will talk about the other characters. Each one plays his or her part and sometimes you feel that Asha suffer the consequences of people’s actions. Each character has his or her own story : Dax was held captive by a population called the Scrublands because of the disgraceful funerals given to Anima, a woman from one of their five big houses and mother to Dax and Asha ; Safire, Asha’s cousin, is half Skral and Draksor, that’s why a lot of people consider her to be an abomination. She is authorised to remain at the Royal Court because she is of noble blood. However she is still subject to some of the laws concerning slaves.
The story :
It takes place in a big desert inhabited by the Draksors and the Scrublands. « Skral » refers to a people coming from the north. They first conquered the Star Isles and they tried to conquer the other peoples. Defeated by the Dragon Queen, she decided that every single Skral will have to wear a collar and be reduced to slavery because of what they had done.
Then, dragons turned against the Draksors and killing a lot of people. That’s what they call the First Betrayal. As the dragons were not around anymore, those telling stories begun to die because the stories poisoned them. That’s why the Dragon Queen decided to stop telling stories.
I really loved the myths. They were really well constructed and some of them were sad to read. I think they hinted at how Asha’s life will be. These myths gave strength to dragons and allow them to breathe fire (except Kozu who can do it without them). What I’ve remembered of this book is that stories are a powerful tool in shaping one’s life whether they are true or false. Stories will always be reshaped to suit one’s agenda.
Let’s briefly talk about slavery. As their society is built upon slavery, well, they aren’t really soft on them. Some punishments and laws are either really gruesome or strict. Skrals are treated like objects bought by Draksors to do their cleaning, to build buildings, or to be used in war.
I will bring this review to a close by saying that most of the plot twists were something to write home about.
This is my Review of the Month for the review collection on LovelyAudiobooks.info