Games, book, comics, film, television. This franchise has it all! The current release, Season of Storms, is apparently the sixth “Witcher” book, but eighth in the overall series from author Andrzej Sapkowski.
Now, having said that, I was not in any way deterred from reading this just because I had failed to read any of the previous books. Written and translated in such a way as to make it a perfectly acceptable standalone novel, I enjoyed it from cover to cover.
I am more than passingly familiar with the character Geralt of Rivia, having consumed a few comics and games in the past. The anti-hero known as The Witcher is a mutant with superior strength and speed who is more often than not hunting monsters and demons. His adventures are grim and dangerous, his sword is quick to kill. But though he is a sword for hire, a mercenary, his morals run deep and he is kind in ways that defy how other witchers act. Known to be an honorable man, his sense of duty is strongest when he knows he is in the right. In fact, some might deduce that he is stubborn to the point of pigheadedness. Both famous and infamous, his reputation always proceeds him.
In this tale, we witness a simple errand gone awry. While visiting a local town, he is struck with bad luck manifesting itself into theft and sabotage. He quickly finds that he has been set up to be a scapegoat in a far-reaching plot but even after following lead after lead, the clues do not reveal the true culprit. His quest takes him to a plethora of places and into the dens of some of the most dangerous people and creatures imaginable, but he is not swayed. That which was taken must be recovered. What was stolen, and if it is found, will remain a mystery to all but those who read the book. For you see, friends, spoilers I will reveal not! But most telling of all, is how the legend of The Witcher endures, no matter the time or distance traveled.
The story plays like a tabletop role-playing game, feeling almost like a module with its compartmentalized adventures. Each completed goal comes with a reward or information, leading to the next mini quest, and so on. I am in no way saying it detracted from the book, just merely making an observation. If this was not adapted from a campaign, it could easily be rewritten into one. And while the story seems to snake around, the underlying them is always present and clues abound as the novel progresses.
Any fan of the series will snap this one up. I am only a peripheral fan and I loved it. In fact, I enjoyed it enough that I intend to seek out other books from the author. The translation by David A. French is well done, though often it feels like the wrong word was chosen. The vocabulary, something I have seldom mentioned in reviews, will challenge even the most well-read bibliophile. Occasional lapses from English may force some to hit up their favorite search engine for help.
All in all, I adored this story and felt it did a wonderful job of humanizing the protagonist while at the same time ensuring that the reader is well aware of the power and danger inherent in Geralt. Hit up the links above and snag a copy, I bet you will thank me for it later!
Enter the world of The Witcher by Andrzej Sapkowski, New York Times bestselling author and winner of the world fantasy award for lifetime achievement.
Geralt of Rivia is a Witcher, one of the few capable of hunting the monsters that prey on humanity. A mutant who is tasked with killing unnatural beings. He uses magical signs, potions, and the pride of every Witcher – two swords, steel and silver.
But a contract has gone wrong, and Geralt finds himself without his signature weapons. Now he needs them back, because sorcerers are scheming, and across the world clouds are gathering.