Book Review: Blood of Elves by Andrzej Sapkowski

Another great installment in the Witcher series. Gorgeous European fairytale fantasy, at its best. The story follows Geralt of Rivia, a person who through arduous training and bodily mutations have become a Witcher, a monster hunter. But though he’s at the center of our story, there’s a whole lot more going on. Geralt and the other Witchers take in Ciri, an orphaned girl who proves to have extraordinary powers. Together with the sorceresses Triss Merigold and Yennefer of Vengerberg, the Witchers teach Ciri how to fight, dress, act, and ultimately survive in the world. Because much hinges on Ciri’s survival.

This is the third/first book, depending on if you count the two short story collections that are set before as a part of the Witcher series. But this is the first whole novel that kicks off the series, and it’s awesome to see that we’re getting serious about everything (I know some of what happens from playing the video games, but not everything, and it’s very interesting to learn how thing develops).

The Witcher is a very massive world. There’s not one main plot that we follow, even though at the same time there is. But there’s very many things happening parallel to our story, and there’s very much history that comes up in dialogue, both about the world in general and our characters. I love that Sapkowski drags his world-building out like this. You’re never really told what’s going on, you just have to pay attention to what people are talking about and what’s happening between the lines to understand the relationships between people. Toward the end of the book, I was learning things that in a more recent fantasy novel would probably be thrown at me in the beginning, and I love that he does it this way.

I love Sapkowski’s writing, his style is easy but lavish at the same time, and it’s never boring. But he does this interesting thing where he won’t describe what people are doing in scenes, only how people react to it through dialogue. For example:

“Stop that! Don’t go in, there… No! Like this.”

In one sense, you feel a bit left out, because I except someone to fill me in on all the things that are happening in between there. At the same time, it gives you a sense of wonder, a sense of ‘hang on, what’s happening now?’ I’m not saying it’s good or bad, and it’s an interesting style.

All in all, a very good book to kick off the series, and I’m definitely invested. I’ve already started book 2 which feels a bit more fleshed out compared to this which has a lot of building up and introducing different people and places. Also, I’m happy I’ve played the video games, because there are A LOT of names, and weird ones at that. It’s difficult to keep track of who everyone is.

In the end, a great fantasy series, very unique, and I’m loving it so far.

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