The story of Geralt of Rivia continues as war rages on in this epic fantasy-now, the story of The Witcher continues in the saga that inspired the second season of the Netfix series.
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.
Witcher story collections
The Last Wish
Sword of Destiny
Blood of Elves
The Time of Contempt
Baptism of Fire
The Tower of Swallows
Lady of the Lake
Season of Storms
The Malady and Other Stories: An Andrzej Sapkowski Sampler (e-only)
The Tower of Fools
Warriors of God
Translated from original Polish by Danusia Stok
Verily I say unto you, the era of the sword and axe is nigh, the era of the wolf’s blizzard. The Time of the White Chill and the White Light is nigh, the Time of Madness and the Time of Contempt: Tedd...
Loved It (5)
Liked It (5)
It Was OK (3)
Read It (14)
Want To Read (12)
Not Interested (1)
Enjoyable fantasy read - but don't start the series here.
Most readers recommend starting your Andrzej Sapkowski journey with the short story collection The Last Wish. I, however, picked up Blood of Elves randomly while browsing a bookstore. Going into Blood of Elves, I had a general understanding of the author's world and characters from playing the Witcher 3 video game and also watching the Netflix show, but as far as the books go, Blood of Elves was the first Sapkowski novel I read.
I did find sections of Blood of Elves quite confusing, especially halfway through it. Names are dropped and characters burst into scenes without much, if any, introduction. This is of course not unusual for a high fantasy novel, but seen as how this is the first instalment in a series it did surprise me and I found it a bit jarring to read.
Having said that, I found the character development in Blood of Elves to be excellent. While the famous Geralt of Rivia is something of an enigmatic, shadowy figure throughout the narrative, the main protagonist, Ciri, is explored in great detail through her interactions with other, well-fleshed-out characters.
The narrative itself is a slow burn. At the same time, you're inundated with historic information which can at times be difficult to follow. As I previously mentioned, I have a basic knowledge of the world-building thanks to the third video game and the Netflix series, and therefore I picked up on some of the characters and past events mentioned quite quickly, but even so, there were many paragraphs I had to reread to make full sense of them. Perhaps that sounds silly, as long info dumps and in-depth world-building is something you come to accept as the norm with high fantasy novels, but there were times as I was reading Blood of Elves when I frustratedly wondered why the author didn't show the events he was referring to rather than relegating them to topics in a conversation.
I know my review has been quite negative so far, and perhaps I'm focusing too heavily on the cons of Blood of Elves. Despite the negatives, I still thoroughly enjoyed the reading experience. Something Andrzej Sapkowski does really well is to lure you into his sense of place with rich world-building and believable characters. I particularly enjoyed the chapters that included the bard character, Dandelion, and the sorceress, Yennefer.
Overall I would score Blood of Elves 3.5/5, although I will doubtlessly read more from Andrzej Sapkowski.
All of the Witcher books I've read offer an interesting take on the place of magic in their culture. In my view, magic should not be simply an 'abracadabra'. Like other skills, it should have to be learned and understood. I have been told by readers that my book series offers an interesting blend of the Witcher series with The Game of Thrones series. In my On the Trail series, I have attempted to create similar excitement with twists and turns in the plots and interesting characters.