So I read the prequel books first, and they weren’t what I would call fast-paced or action-packed, but they had enough action, and they kept things interesting. This, unfortunately, was slow and kind of boring. Not much happened. Ciri did some training. There were lots of conversations about politics and war. There was some traveling. That was about it.
The prequel books were mostly Geralt’s POV and thoughts, so I was surprised and disappointed that this one was mostly Ciri’s.
This one also lacked the fun and playfulness that I came to really enjoy in the prequels. Geralt was much more serious and uninteresting. Though I do love that Dandelion always wants to give his stories and information in verse since he’s a bard, and everyone is always exasperatedly like, “No, Dandelion, just say it normal.” And seeing the way Yennefer treated Ciri while teaching her magic, strict but respectful and honest, made me like her a bit more.
It seems kind of unfair that this whole review is basically just me comparing this book to the prequels, which I know were written after the series, but since I read those first, they set a tone, and I was expecting the whole series to be like that. Even if I hadn’t been expecting that, I still would have been bored during this one and felt no connection to the characters. Those other books are the reason I already cared about the characters and was willing to sit through this whole thing and to give the next book a try to see if it would get any better. (I can tell you already, I gave up about a third of the way through the next book. It was much the same as this one—slow with lots of talk of politics and very little Geralt.)
I don’t really know how to judge translation (this one was translated from its original Polish by Danusia Stok), but the writing itself was good.
I listened to the audiobook for this, and the narrator, Peter Kenny, was amazing, as usual. So many different voices and accents, different genders, all the necessary emotion and acting. It really brings these books to life and makes me forget he’s just one person.
Overall, unfortunately, I was disappointed by how slow and uninteresting I found this one, especially after having enjoyed the prequels.
This wasn't like the prequels, and I don't know if the series might pick up more in the next book, so I'm not sure. Maybe anyone who likes slow-paced epic fantasy with multiple POVs.