My rating: 3 of 5 stars
3.8 Stars–Not quite 4 (I was sooooo disappointed in the last short story, I thought they were going to kill each other, but they didn’t!!!!), but it was still a really good read over all.
This book series was recommended to me by a friend. I didn’t think I would start reading it so soon, but then I did. Though because it’s a series of short stories interwoven into a bigger story, I put it down and picked it up every so often. Not to mention I was reading the ebook version, and lord knows I generally find reading on a screen a pain in the butt. However, I finished it. And I did like it. I would definitely read the second, and the third, and more just to see where it goes.
The character, ‘the Witcher’ fascinates me, though in this book there is a lack of depth to his character. At the same time, you couldn’t say there was no depth either. It feels like in this book, Geralt is a figure, slightly blurred, somewhat a mystery. We have insights to his past through the short stories, but that isn’t the focus of the short stories. Not really. Yet also, really, since with each story, you learn a little more about the Witcher, about his choices and regrets. Particularly in the short story The Lesser Evil, where the Witcher had to choose, and ultimately hadn’t made the right choice, and in the story, A Question of Price in which more is revealed about Geralt’s character.
Geralt the Witcher is the main focus of the whole book. The last short story in the book, highlights the title of the book, and bloodyyyyy hell that was some story! (More in a minute on it!) Geralt’s job is to essentially exterminate monsters–demons, malicious supernatural beings, etc. And hence, with each short story, you see him performing a task. He is a Witcher by destiny, and not really by choice–something I want to know more about. As a fan of backstories, in depth character building, and plot twists that tie the character in with the story so deeply, I just drooolll, I really want to see the moment when I find out everything about Geralt’s past. Specially after hearing this about him from a secondary character in A Question of Price:
He knows the law better than anyone else, because it applied to him once…. He was taken from his home because he was what his father hadn’t expected to find on his return. Because he was destined for other things. And by the power of destiny, he became what he is. (At 49%)
Little things like that know how to snatch at my heart and catch my interest. And like always I kind of really hate it.
In the beginning, I had very little, close to no expectations of this book. I generally don’t, specially if they’re recommendations. Not to mention in beginning this book, it was kind of slow, and the switching between short story, and present telling, was kind of confusing. However, once I got into the flow of the story, and when my mind decided to wake and click to the fact that the short stories are related to the little in between pieces that are being told in the present, I became more invested in this book. Sometimes I have no idea what catches my attention, let alone, what the hell I’m reading even though I’m reading it. This was one of those times. But when things started clicking, and I read the Lesser Evil, I started to really like this book. It had my attention that’s for sure (though admittedly the use of short stories had me putting this down every so often since, after all, why should I read all these short stories at once? I felt like hoarding them for a bit!) and I was definitely engaged to read all the way through to the end!
However, and this is the problem with adopting this method of narration–a major plot, with short story intervals–is that the short stories end. And sometimes they end kind of awkwardly or whatnot. Not that Sapkowski’s did. I won’t lie, I AM STILL BUMMED BY THE WAY THE LAST WISH SHORT STORY ENDED, WHY DIDN’T THEY KILL EACH OTHER???? Am I cruel? There was just so many mentions of Yennefer prior to that short story, and
I thought it was a bad thing…..then again, in that short story, it ended well. I just really got the impression that something else happened….
Either way, it was still a good short story, and the ending of the whole book was still good, with promise of more adventure and witcher duties in the next one.
My biggest desire for this series, is to see what happens to Geralt and how he grows. Therefore, I will read the next book primarily for that reason. While it’s not the best fantasy I’ve ever read, it’s not the worse either. THIS main character does not want pity or forced sympathy from me unlike Kvoth from The Name of the Wind–I really didn’t like him, or that book much, even though it’s not a bad book. The Witcher, is just what he is, the Witcher. He’s not overdone, his weaknesses are real and believeable, he is confident, yet he is also not confident. He doesn’t brag or boast, but is modest about his skills. He actually uses his brain too, and falls prey to his own desires and missteps. He has a crutch that prevents him from doing some things, and you know what, he kind of reminds me of Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell portrayal) from the TV Show Arrow–well that interpretation!