This book in The Witcher series is the first of the five books that form the primary saga. Before it, I read the two short story collections that were published later but have since been recommended by everyone, as the best place to start.
So I was excited getting into this one, as this is the beginning of the real journey for Geralt, Ciri and Yennefer, as well as the other core characters that come in and out of these stories.
Although, I have to agree that one should read the short story collections first, as they flesh out and beef up the core characters, which I thought was somewhat lacking, here, the book that was originally the starting point.
Having a lot more context going into this was a benefit, even if I already know a lot from the video games and television series.
However, as the television series only adapted stuff from the short stories, thus far, everything here was fresh and new for me and it was really cool reading this and sort of having the blanks filled between the origins of the characters and their later stories, which were used and adapted somewhat in The Witcher 3 game.
I really liked how much Triss was used in this book, as she is one of my favorite characters and it really developed her more than the short story books or the games.
I also enjoyed the stuff about Ciri’s training and how the other witchers had issues trying to raise a girl, as she was growing into a young woman.
Beyond that, I thought some parts of this dragged out a bit too long and even though there is some conflict and action, the book really feels like more of a set up to a larger tapestry than it does its own, solid body of work. That’s not necessarily bad, as this is part of a large saga but there’s not much here that stands out and gives this book its own identity.
This could also be due to the short story books sort of diminishing the overall effect of this one, as it was originally the origin of these characters for the readers who were there in the beginning.
All in all, this is still pretty damn enjoyable and it sets things up in a way that makes me excited for the other books.
I should have the review for the next one up in a few weeks.
Pairs well with: the other Witcher books, comics and television shows.