I totally forgot to post this yesterday, so I’m posting my Friday post on a Saturday. Sorry for the delay.
I’m changing things up a bit this week and talking about fantasy instead of anything “freaky.” At the beginning of quarantine (or maybe earlier, I’m not sure) I started reading the Witcher series because I wanted to read it before I watched the Netflix show. I failed. That is, I definitely gave in and watched the Netflix show first. Silly me.
As of now, I’ve read the first two books in the series. I read them back to back, so I’m having trouble remembering where one book ended and the other book picked up. Therefore, I have decided to review the two books together.
Geralt of Rivia is a famous Witcher, one of the last of his kind. His magic powers, deadly training, and years of experience have made him a perfect warrior and assassin. His real job, however, is not to do battle with man, but to defeat him from monsters and fiends.
Often aided by his friend Dandelion, antagonized by his lover Yennifer, Geralt must battle masters and prejudice, constantly wondering where real evil lies–in monster or in man.
Now the guardian of young Ciri, his “child of surprise,” Geralt has a whole new reason to continue his fight.
Told in a collection of short stories, Blood of Elves and Sword of Destiny documents Geralt’s adventures before he takes up his role as Ciri’s guardian.
This is epic fantasy at its finest.
If you’ve seen the show, you should know that the creators did a great job of keeping to the heart of the story even though some plot elements are changed (Ciri definitely has a whole adventure with Gerald well before he meets her on the show).
To keep from commenting on the show the entire time I’m writing about the books, I’m going to focus on one of the stories that’s not featured in the show, “A Little Sacrifice.”
If you know anything about this series, you know that many of the stories are interpretations of old fairy tales. “A Little Sacrifice” is a great example of this because it adapts the story of “The Little Mermaid” to this much darker fantasy world. Geralt is hired by Agloval, the arrogant prince of Bremervoord, to negotiate a marriage contract with the siren he’s fallen in love with, Sh’eenaz. Neither Agloval nor Sh’eenaz want to sacrifice for their love affair, so things get messy pretty quickly and Geralt and Dandelion (his bff known as Jaskier in the show) have to do some quick thinking.
“A Little Sacrifice” is probably my favorite of the short stories in the collection because it includes the perfectly hilarious friendship of Dandelion and Geralt, does not include any scenes with Yennifer (even if Geralt does a lot of pining for the witch), and it introduces the character of Essi Daven, a young bard and friend of Dandelion who falls pretty hard for Geralt. Essi and Geralt’s little romance perfectly mirrors the romance between Sh’eenaz and Agloval, and the way Sapkowski is able to subtly layer the themes of love, loss, and sacrifice is one of the things that have made these books a world-wide phenomenon.
Honestly, these books are totally worth the hype, especially if you like short stories or episodic novels. If you’ve seen the show, you can probably skip The Blood of Elves just because so many of those stories were used in the series, but it’s totally up to you!
What do you think?