Due to the recent release of the recent release of The Witcher series on Netflix, I thought it would be a good time to share what my thoughts were on the first book of the series.
“Lesser, greater, middling, it's all the same. Proportions are negotiated, boundaries blurred. I'm not a pious hermit, I haven't done only good in my life. But if I'm to choose between one evil and another, then I prefer not to choose at all.”
I read this book during a buddy read with fellow BookNest reviewer Filip Magnus, and continued to do so with Sword of Destiny, the sequel in this series.
This was a throughly enjoyable introduction to the world and Geralt, with seven short stories that were mostly separate from each other. Each piece was interesting in different ways and introduced new monsters the world possesses that were very cool.
I loved the character of Geralt! He is so great. He can be tough sometimes and also quite cold, but he tries to do the right thing, and sees right through people and their schemes. He sometimes even chooses to protect monsters over humans. Just because he is a Witcher, the most famous monster hunter, but he only kills for good reason, and always struggles to find the best conclusion.
“People," Geralt turned his head, "like to invent monsters and monstrosities. Then they seem less monstrous themselves. When they get blind-drunk, cheat, steal, beat their wives, starve an old woman, when they kill a trapped fox with an axe or riddle the last existing unicorn with arrows, they like to think that the Bane entering cottages at daybreak is more monstrous than they are. They feel better then. They find it easier to live.”
My favourite story was one that was inspired by Beauty and the Beast, but put its own darker take on it, most definitely not having the same Disney ending! It had vivid action scenes that were written and translated very well, along with some completely unique ideas.
The camaraderie between Geralt and Dandelion in the last few stories was great, and funny. They were a pair that complemented each other, I hope to see more of them in the future.
The dialogue was the weakest aspect, often feeling cold and stiff, perhaps due to the translation. This did sadly sometimes make it hard to focus on the scene, especially during longer conversations between multiple characters, because their personalities were not evident or divisible through speech.
A 4/5 star rating by me, so I will definitely be advancing onto other novels in this series, looking forward to it :).