Let’s all go into this review with our eyes wide open. I don’t know very much about fantasy beyond Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones. That’s the total extent of my knowledge of the genre, unless you count playing Dungeons and Dragons. So, take this review with a grain of salt.
My review is that this book series, which spawned great video games and a Netflix show with Henry Cavill in a white beard, is awesome.
Geralt, aka The Witcher, wanders around what feels like a medieval time and place. Magic (magick?) and monsters and political intrigue and sexy sex rule the day. Geralt makes his living slaying monsters. Guys that do this for a living are called “witchers”. You would think guys like Geralt would be heroes, but people don’t like witchers. Maybe it’s because they aren’t quite human, or that they help only for coin. I don’t quite get the hatred. But, they’re on the outside of society unless their help is needed to neutralize a griffin, or an undead baby (!), or a bear-man.
In this first collection of witcher stories, Sapkowski does a lot more showing rather than telling. You slowly learn about the world and Geralt through actions and snippets of dialogue coming from friends and foes alike. I like the lived-in feel the way I liked the first Star Wars. (Just throw me in there, don’t make me take a graduate-level course in in-world lore prior to reading the first page.)
While the series itself is originally 25 years old, its gained in popularity in the US due to the acclaimed video game series and the new Netflix show alluded to earlier. If you want to get in prior to the craze of the show’s launch, now is the time!
Fun fact about the author – he was a regular old Polish accountant until this series got published in his middle age. Follow your dreams, folks!