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.
“For over a century, humans, dwarves, gnomes, and elves have lived together in relative peace. But times have changed, the uneasy peace is over, and now the races are fighting once again. The only good elf, it seems, is a dead elf.
Geralt of Rivia, the cunning assassin known as The Witcher, has been waiting for the birth of a prophesied child. This child has the power to change the world – for good, or for evil.
As the threat of war hangs over the land and the child is hunted for her extraordinary powers, it will become Geralt’s responsibility to protect them all – and the Witcher never accepts defeat.”
First of all, I would like to note that I read this book in its original language. I flipped through the English version and I can say that it’s a pretty accurate translation, though, as most translated books, it lost some of its smoothness. And Sapkowski’s writing is smooth. He has a way with words. He controls the pacing of the narrative with sentence structure and its length. It speaks of deliberation – no word was put into this book on accident and it shows.
Something I really enjoy in his writing are the repetitions, especially those in battle scenes. This is such a clever tool, it builds tension in the most exquisite way. Sadly, it’s rarely used. Probably because schools taught us to fear repeating words or sentences. Sapkowski holds no such fear. And I couldn’t be happier about it.
I don’t think that there is a point in me describing these characters since they are so widely known right now. Still, I need to admit that I don’t like anyone in this book. Except for Geralt. His dry sense of humor is exactly my cup of tea. And the scenes where he gets to be a dad are insanely heartwarming. But when it comes to the rest of the characters – I am not a big fan of young Ciri, Triss is really bland and I’ve never been too fond of Yennefer. I know that my feelings are going to change as I continue with this series. But for now I only enjoy Geralt’s adventures.
When it comes to the plot, this book is probably one of the most boring and uneventful in the entire series. It’s filled with tons of dialogue and very little action. It’s still very easy to read – probably because of the writing. The pacing is pretty weird. It’s not a standard plot progression. There is no build-up to a big climax we all are so used to. It’s more like steady storytelling with a few bursts of action here and there.
The conversation about race in this book is always surprising to me, considering the year and the country this book was written in. It talks about racism in a really blunt and heartbreaking way. It’s not the focal point of the story, but it’s very important nonetheless.
The ending gives me a weird feeling because it doesn’t feel like an ending at all. It almost seems like this book should have a few more chapters, but they simply forgot to print them. It doesn’t feel like it’s complete.
Please, read the two collections of short stories (The Last Wish and The Sword of Destiny) before starting this book. They are a great introduction to this world and these characters, and you’re going to have a fantastic time reading them. It’s much easier and more fun to get through this book when you are already in love with the story. Otherwise it might not be an enjoyable experience.
I also want to note that this 5-star rating is definitely not objective. I grew up reading these books (yes, I know I was waaaaay too young to read them) so they mean to me as much as Harry Potter means to most people. Every time I have a chance to return to this world, I have a fantastic time. So yes, it’s a 5-star reading experience for me. But it’s not a 5-star book.