The Witcher! It’s a game! It’s a Netflix show! It’s also a book series! And I’m reading it. I’ve seen online that this book is the best place to start the series, so this is where I started. Even though I haven’t watched the show (hopefully I will get to eventually), I’ve heard and seen so much about it that it was hard to not have a lot of expectations going into the book, but I tried my best to set those aside and not let them influence my experience.
Geralt was a lot more good-natured and sassy than I thought he would be. I imagined him as this gruff, misanthropic, “I’m too tough and miserable for friendship or jokes” monster killer, but I was delighted to be incorrect. He didn’t put up with BS, but he had friends (or at least one friend, whom he cared about deeply) and seemed to enjoy companionship. He also had a lot of wisdom, patience, level-headedness, and, when called for, compassion.
Speaking of his friend, I loved his friendship with Dandelion and how much he cared about him. There were a couple moments that really made me say awwwww. However, I didn’t like Dandelion himself so much. I really wanted to like him, he was a fun character, but he was also kind of a womanizing jerk. Literally one of the wishes he made when he found a djinn who could grant him anything was to have a girl who kept rejecting him finally succumb to his advances. He just rubbed me the wrong way. He did seem to care about Geralt though, at least.
This book in particular was more a collection of stories than a single coherent story. Because I knew this going in, I didn’t mind and just enjoyed the stories for their entertainment value and for the background they gave. I found most of the stories surprisingly chill with small bursts of action in the fight scenes, and even the fighting was relatively low stakes since it was mostly Geralt’s life at stake, and I knew he’d be fine.
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.
The narrator for the audiobook was great. He did lots of accents, and he always managed to make people sound different. I was surprised by Geralt’s Scottish-sounding accent, but it wasn’t a bad thing. I didn’t love the voice he chose for Dandelion, but that’s really subjective.
The jumping around between stories and also not giving any explanation of time confused me, and that’s my only real complaint for the book. I still don’t really know what order these stories happened in.
Overall though, I really enjoyed this! I liked Geralt’s character, I enjoyed the stories, and I’m looking forward to more.
Anyone who likes high fantasy, tough but good-natured and sometimes sassy characters, and monster-fighting action.