Disclaimer: I am going to review all books from “the last wish” to “seasons of storms” Although I know that the first 2 and the last one are not part of the sage persé, I am going to review them all as one.
This review contains spoilers for certain story elements.
The witcher. A global phenomenon nowadays. Games, a movie, Tv-series, books, comics, figurines and a tabletop roleplaying game. I love it all.
I first started to watch the Netflix series. I absorbed them. I loved them so much, that I craved for more. I craved the storyworld. I started reading the books, and oh, what a joy. I love his blending.
I love how he blends Arthurian legends seemlessly with his own storyworld. Nimue, the lady of the lake, is in his world a literal character that is told the story of Gerald of Rivia by a travelling storyteller, because of this, in the same way, she is infatuated by the legend of this Witcher. This is told us later in the books.
I love how he weaves fairy tales we all know and love and weaves them into something new. Snowwhite and the seven dwarfs becomes Renfri, a fierce warrior-woman on a quest to kill the wizard that set her on the path to destruction.
Beauty and the beast comes several times into the world of the witcher. Once as Duny, once as a nobleman in a short story that loves a spirit of somekind (I need to reread them).
These were the obvious ones. There is no ring, there is no winner or loser in this saga, it is just a story told wonderfully.
I don’t think the saga has ended yet, as for me, the story didn’t have a definite, fullfilling ending.
I love how Sapkowski can narrate a whole conversation between sorceresses, with nothing much happening physically, and still keep it engaging and fun to read. This is such a hard thing to do, but he does it with just enough description and movement to keep it interesting and visual.
He is also a master of withholding information so you keep engaged and reading. He switches viewpoints so masterfully that you just have to keep reading. I will tell you, I am an adhd’er, keeping focused is hard for me. A chapter takes 1 hour to read sometimes, but I just had to keep on reading. Before rilatin, reading one paragraph was to much, less than 5 minutes of reading. Now I had to read a whole chapter, spanning an hour.
Seasons of storms I finished at 2am on a working day because I had to know the ending. I had to keep on reading, and I enjoyed every second of it.
I love how he describes things. I love how he keeps readers engaged by just enough description but otherwise letting his characters do their thing. I love his storyweaving of known things and letting his readers discover where he got it from. I love the folklore he put into the books and having to let us research it.
I had the same feeling as I had with American Gods by Neil Gaiman. in American gods it’s discovering his interpretation of certain Gods and having been given new names, but still the same updated characteristics. It is the same with Sapkowski and legends, folklore and fairy tales. Same as J.K. Rowling and her extensive research.
It never feels like an infodump, but just enough characteristics to feel familiar and give you an aha feeling.
What I also love are his characters. All have extra layers and none of them are stereotypical. Dandelian, the bonvivant is a great character but also bit of a ladies man and doesn’t shy away of bedding any woman he comes accross and fancies. Geralt, obviously has his nobel things and his flaws. yennefer… such a wonderful character, also with the extra backstory she got in the series (although I don’t know if Sapkowski considered it Canon, as he doesn’t concider CD Project Red’s interpretation of his books canon). Yennefer is such a strong character, and that can be said by all of the woman in his books. I have never the feeling that we are dealing with a damsel in distress.
Ciri, the focus of most of the Witcher Saga, has many, many, many hardships to endure, but she never feels like a damsel in distress or a Mary Sue. She endures, she is scarred and she grows. Same goes for Geralt. He is a great monsterhunter, but he is wounded, and those wounds never magically heal, like in Harry Potter, although there are wizards here in this universe too.