Book Review: Lady of the Lake (Witcher #5) by Andrzej Sapkowski

Publishing Date: 1999

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 2.4/5

**Spoilers Ahead**

Review: In this installment, we continue to follow Ciri as she develops into her destiny. Most of the novel is spent on battle scene enactments while wading through the blood and muck. Initially there is scant attention paid to our heroes which is rather odd. The battles make no sense other than to leave the impression that the Nilfgardians are losing. The battle enactments should have been relegated to the sidelines and the ensuing vacuum filled with character development, via the quest.

This felt fairly rushed and not lent the patient consideration that it deserved. When all the characters that you have taken this long journey with are summarily dismissed (killed), there is certainly an emotional vacuum that ensues. I have always had a problem with authors who invest so much into a character, only to kill them off. This “striving for poignancy” is often used as a vehicle to lift the main characters and resolve the story line. Stepping on the backs of the supporting caste, in my opinion, is not the way to go about it. BTW, Dandelion should have been killed but now we have to suffer through his idiocy one more time.

We will see if the story line is corrected in “Season of Storms” but I doubt it as this is a stand alone novel. As it is, this “finale'” went off with a whimper.

Book Review: Tower of the Swallows (Witcher #4) by Andrzej Sapkowski

Publishing Date: 1997

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 2.8/5

**Possible Spoilers Ahead**

Review: Well Ciri has joined a band of ruffians whom rob from the rich in order to dress themselves in flamboyant fashions of the times. Ciri is now a 14 year old lesbian having sex with an older woman. Yay! She gets a rose tattoo on her crotch and enjoys killing a little too much. Besides scratching my head in befuddlement at Ciri’s sudden transformation, Geralt has become this boring malcontent with heaps of lassitude. The only interesting characterization are the traveling dwarfs, a vampire and Yen, yet these appearances are brief and wane in the spotlight.

The biggest plot fail in this installment is the sudden development of Ciri as lesbian pit fighter, where various armed bad assess are thrown at her either singly or in groups. The fuking idea that a VERY young girl not only possesses the skills of a master but can wield those skills in death matches against full grown battle hardened men, is ridiculous. Hey, but that’s showbiz. I forgot the number of times Ciri said “DON’T MAKE ME DO THIS!!!!” . Her personality skips around from well learned sorceress to petulant child and back to feared and battle scarred hot nymph. There is absolutely no consistency in her development, which becomes harder as the story line narrows. Who is she ultimately going to become? A head-shorn, sword wielding. lesbian pirate? A rumpled and demure princess with a penchant for siblicide? An all knowing mage that utilizes her power for uniting the Nordlings under one banner? Personally I think she will become part owner/operator of a tepid alehouse that serves goat meat stew and pickled anchovies.

The weirdly inserted story telling type narration is back again with POV shifts between Dandelion and the Third Person.  The movement and world building are still very good and capture the imagination in a vibrant visual process.

At the end of the read, you will find that you still cheered for everyone to get out of the shjt and dole out that righteous retribution on those that have wronged.


Book Review: The Time of Contempt (Witcher #2) by Andrzej Sapkowski

Publishing Date: 1995

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 3.8/5

Review: This follows the Blood of Elves” story line with Ciri growing in command of her abilities with Yen as her tutor.

Rendered in exquisite detail, the visual landscape is what sets this novel apart from the others. The side stories that support the main story line, as well as the supporting characters really bolster the novel in a compelling direction.  The plots of Kings and Wizards creates a unique friction as you don’t know who is for or against our heroes. There are some deaths that are a minor fail, as so much emotional content was invested in them. Their deaths detracted more from the novel than creating a reactionary response, like justified vengeance via martyrdom.

You’re in deep now, so no turning back. Next up: “Baptism of Fire.

Book Review: Blood of Elves (Witcher #1) by Andrzej Sapkowski

Publishing Date: 1995

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.5/5

Review: This narrative follows the Witcher, Ciri, Dandelion and Yen in a full length, one story line, novel. Assorted factions of both the evilly and not so evilly kind, vie to possess Ciri, the pivotal chosen one on a field of destiny.

It seems the translation issues are ironed out as this progressed without a hiccup. The lack of detail on the monsters is resolved in this installment yet the focus has shifted to “The Golden Child” and the machinations therein. War and unrest are slowly building in concert with Ciri’s growing awareness and ability which makes for constant movement in an ever changing world.  As usual this author’s use of the descriptive helps build a visual reference that is quite compelling.

The novel ends abruptly so you can order the next.

Book Review: Sword of Destiny (The Witcher .75) by Andrzej Sapkowski

Publishing Date: May 1992

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.4/5

Review: Like the first Witcher novel, this is an amalgam of short stories designed to introduce the characters and create a plausible backstory for the full length “storied” novels to come.  Like the first novel, this follows Geralt as he moves through the world although with less monster killing and more meaningful interactions that start the formal story line procession. The Princess found in hostile forests is not a tangent in the story line but a twist that forms a substantive beginning.

Some reviewers stated, that at times, the story line hops around and gets a bit disorienting or just doesn’t make any sense. The reason, I think, is that there is something that is lost in translation. Ideas expressed in another language/culture sometimes have a difficult transition to English standard.

Either the writing has improved or the translator has improved their ability, as this installment was a bit better than the first. Just seemed to flow better. Stay tuned for the “Blood of Elves” review.

Book Review: The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski

Publishing Date: December 2008

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.2/5

Review: A collection of short stories that follows the life of the Witcher, a mutant made to eliminate monsters.  Some reviewers said there was limited world building, while others praised the expansiveness of the novel.  I think there was a little of both. I was at once transported into a world that is limited in design, yet packs a good visual punch. Reviewer carol echoes my sentiments in which the monsters are many yet lack in-depth descriptors. Expanding this ‘major’ side of the novel would have jacked it up a notch.

A basic format is presented to the reader with lots of movement and decent character building. There are some corny instances that trend toward ribaldry. The magic is solid, as the wielders are fallible and not omnipotent. There are no familiars hanging about with anthropomorphic muse, which suits me just fine.

I find that I am unable to desist from the series and will continue till finished.