Paperback, 420 Pages
By: Andrzej Sapkowski
“Mistakes,’ he said with effort, ‘are also important to me. I don’t cross them out of my life, or memory. And I never blame others for them.”
The Last Wish ★★★★
Sword of Destiny ★★★★
Blood of Elves ★★★★
My history with this series dates to a short period before the release of the first show. I read The Lats Wish then as recommended by a friend and then watched the show which I enjoyed. I have never played the video games so I don’t know much about the story apart from what I have watched and read. I read Sword of Destiny after that but never got to continue the series. I was hesitant because some friends told me the short story collections are the best, some also told me the translation is not the best and the book may not be the easiest to read. I kind of lost interest then and kept procrastinating. This week, I was on the verge of a reading slump and picked up two books which I knew I should have liked but did not so I picked up this book on a whim and found myself flying through it. I do agree that the short story collections are better but I think that the low expectations really helped me to enjoy this one.
The first thing that surprised me was the length of the book, I have the box set of the first three books in the series but I never bothered to check the font and the page count and I just discovered that the books are not that big and the font was kind of big which made me even more excited to read it. I always enjoy books more if I have a visual representation of the characters whether that is from TV series or fan arts or video games and the Witcher has all of these to help build the characters. The story follows Ciri mainly through her training with the Witchers first and then the Magicians.
The writing is good, I mean we are talking about a book written in 1994 and it still feels “fresh”. The female presentation is not the best -still better than the first two collections books- and I am just used to this fact by now. The translator (Danusia Stok) did a pretty good job at translating the books and making English seem like the language they were written in. I saw that the rest of the series has a different translator and I hope he keep up with the quality here.
“To be neutral does not mean to be indifferent or insensitive. You don’t have to kill your feelings. It’s enough to kill hatred within yourself.”
The characters are well written, I am talking mostly about Geralt, Ciri, Yennefer and Dandilion here because I already know these characters. Some of the secondary characters are also well written but some of the names were complicated and long and similar and all introduced together which made them very hard to follow for my brain. That also includes a lot of country names and their borders and without a map, I can’t say that I absorbed everything as I am supposed to.
The world-building is good, I would have preferred more action, more magic and monsters and fights but this was mostly a political book with a chase and run sub plot. It also felt like the whole book is a set up for the rest of the story and the ending doesn’t feel so grand because of that. But if I am right and the rest of the books are more dynamic and have a more defined plot, then I am not complaining.
The pacing is kind of average, I expected something slower but due to the length of the book, it was not that slow. I was also surprised by the length of the chapters as the book is 400 pages long with only 7 chapters. I am a fan of short chapters in general but the length did not really bother me here.
“We are the children of Mother Nature. And though we do not respect our mother, though we often worry her and cause her pain, though we break her heart, she loves us.”
Summary: This whole book felt like an introduction to the main series. The writing and translation exceeded my expectations. The characters are good and the world building is okay. There were info dumps with too much names and no maps or visuals to help define them though. I think there are many questions that were left unanswered and I want those answers soon which means I will be picking up book two next month!