Sword of Destiny: Tales of The Witcher – Andrzej Sapkowski

Synopsis: Geralt is a witcher, a man whose magic powers, enhanced by long training and a mysterious elixir, have made him a brilliant fighter and a merciless assassin. Yet he is no ordinary murderer. His targets are the monsters and vile fiends that ravage the land and attack the innocent. 

Sword of Destiny follows the adventures of Geralt as he battles monsters, demons, and prejudices alike….

“I like elven legends, they are so captivating. What a pity humans don’t have any legends like that. Perhaps one day they will? Perhaps they’ll create some? But what would human legends deal with? All around, wherever one looks, there’s greyness and dullness. Even things which begin beautifully lead swiftly to boredom and dreariness, to that human ritual, that wearisome rhythm called life.”

So continues my adventurous Witcher journey..

The Netflix series releasing later this year is an adaptation of the novels, so watch as everyone (myself included) tries to cram as many of the books into their eye holes as quickly as possible!

There are two short story collections & six full-length novels in The Witcher series, including a prequel of sorts (Season of Storms) that takes place during The Last Wish short stories.

Did you follow all of that?! Because that seems to be one of the major issues people have when first beginning The Witcher Saga. The fact that these books were released the way that they were, it tends to throw some readers off. Don’t let it! It’s truly not as complicated as it first seems. Not like, say, The Malazan series. AHEM.

Sword of Destiny is the second book, chronologically. It’s again made up of six short stories, this time much more character driven, whereas The Last Wish had more STABBY-STABBY. Honestly, I thought I preferred The Last Wish by just a fraction, but I think they are probably just about equal for me. As much as I love my battles & monsters, I also appreciate getting inside a characters depth. Sword of Destiny does just that, especially with providing more details on the complex relationship between Geralt & Yennefer. Also? We finally meet Ciri, my favorite character from the video games! Oh, how I adore her! We get to experience the start of what becomes such a beautiful relationship between the troubled Witcher & the Princess.

Sword of Destiny & Something More, the final two stories in this volume, were my favorites, no doubt in part because of the introduction to Ciri & her backstory.

“Life is full of hazards, selection also occurs in life, Geralt. Misfortune, sicknesses and wars also select. Defying destiny may be just as hazardous as succumbing to it.”

Sword of Destiny is an introspective look at both old & new characters. The core theme is, not shockingly, destiny. How people linked by destiny will always find each other, but that something more is needed.

There’s drama, romance, intrigue, suspense. The supporting characters are brilliant (especially Dandelion, the poet & Geralt’s best friend & of course, Roach.. A VERY GOOD HORSE!) I just absolutely love the back & forth in dialogue in the two books that I’ve read, so far. I enjoy the feeling that is captured in those moments. The games have always been heavy with dialogue, which is clearly a nod to Sapkowski’s engaging writing.

After having read the two short story collections, I would suggest that fans of the video games at least read these for some glorious background on an already beloved series!

-Holly

(Massive thanks to the radical folks over at Orbit Books for sending me the entire series last year to read & review! Again, sorry for the delay!)

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