This is the second book I read in the Witcher series since I’m starting with the prequels. I feel like this was less about fighting monsters and more about getting to know characters and Geralt’s relationships with them. It seems like I should’ve liked this even more than The Last Wish, but, I don’t know if it was the book or my mood, I found it kind of slow. Still good though.
This one was also about, not surprisingly given the title, destiny. I felt like all the destiny stuff was kind of shoehorned in, but I did like how the author brought it around and made things connect in the end.
This author does, however, have this way of not saying things and expecting the reader to figure them out or guess at them. Like how he didn’t tell you the last wish in The Last Wish. He did more of that in this one, and sometimes I could figure it out, but sometimes I couldn’t.
I love Geralt more the more I get to know him. He’s kind of awkward and socially inept at times, especially when it comes to women, but what he lacks in charisma, he makes up for with genuineness, sincerity, empathy, and compassion. He’s also funny sometimes with a very dry delivery. I also loved how everyone (Dandelion, Essie, Yennefer) called Geralt out on his shit this time, like, “Stop saying you don’t have emotions when you obviously do, you big, angsty mess.”
I’ve sometimes wondered during these two books why Geralt is friends with Dandelion, but then I remembered it’s probably because no one else will be friends with Geralt, and despite his toughness and upbringing, he does still crave friendship and companionship. Although I will say, this book changed my tune about Dandelion a little. It turns out he’s a good friend and can be a good person. He’s still a womanizer, but I’ve seen a different, better side of him too.
Yennefer, on the other hand, I still don’t understand, nor do I understand what Geralt sees in her. She was always so mean to Geralt. She’s had a tough life, people have been cruel to her—I get it. But Geralt was nothing but nice and respectful to her, and she was so mean in return. (Just to be clear, I don’t think women owe men anything just because they’re nice. This wasn’t that sort of situation.) Then they formed some sort of romantic relationship and she was no longer mean, but she still pushed him away constantly. And is having a child her only goal in life, the only force that drives her? Some people really want kids, I get that, but I feel like those people generally have other goals in life as well.
Also, I couldn’t take the love triangle. First of all, what do both of those men see in Yennefer? Second, the men’s solution was to fight to the death and the winner would get the woman as their prize? *Face palm* Though, to be fair, I don’t think they were being portrayed as reasonable, and I liked the resolution (*SPOILER* Yennefer just leaving them both *END SPOILER*).
I don’t really know how to judge translation (this one was translated from its original Polish by David French), but the writing itself was good.
I’m listening to the audiobooks for this series, and I cannot recommend them enough. Peter Kenny is SO GOOD at voices and accents that I forget I’m listening to just one person. It’s like a full cast. Some of the voices get a bit cartoony, but it’s minor enough that I don’t mind. Especially since, while doing all these voices and accents, he still manages to voice act perfectly and imbue everything with the right inflection and emotion. At one point, this grown man actually sounded like a little girl with a cold and still spoke everything naturally with all the right inflection and emotion. He’s indescribably good. And I feel like he really grasps Geralt’s sarcasm, exasperation, and playfulness.
Overall, I had a harder time getting into this one than I did the previous book, but it was still good, and I imagine it gives some good setup and backstory for the main story that is yet to come. Geralt’s a great character, and I’m looking forward to more of his story.
Fans of Book 0.5 in Andrzej Sapkowski's The Witcher Series. Anyone who likes high fantasy, tough but good-natured and sometimes sassy characters, and monster-fighting action.