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The Lady of the Lake: Witcher 5 – Now a major Netflix show (The Witcher) Paperback – 13 Feb. 2020
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The fifth novel in the New York Times bestselling Witcher series that inspired the hit Netflix show finds Ciri trapped in a distant world and separated from Geralt and her destiny.
After walking through a portal in the Tower of the Swallow, thus narrowly escaping death, the Witcher girl, Ciri, finds herself in a completely different world... a world of the Elves. She is trapped with no way out. Time does not seem to exist and there are no obvious borders or portals to cross back into her home world.
But this is Ciri, the child of prophecy, and she will not be defeated. She knows she must escape to finally rejoin the Witcher, Geralt, and his companions - and also to try to conquer her worst nightmare. Leo Bonhart, the man who chased, wounded and tortured Ciri, is still on her trail.
And the world is still at war.
Translated by David French.
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- Publisher : Gollancz; 1st edition (13 Feb. 2020)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 544 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1473231124
- ISBN-13 : 978-1473231122
- Dimensions : 12.8 x 3.8 x 19.6 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 5,125 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer reviews:
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To be clear, I've now read every single book in the series from the short stories to the main story spread over the remaining 5 books. The short stories piece is a nice introduction in the world and gives you some intel around the additional lore than may have been missing from the games.
However, when moving onto the main story line the author seems fixated on providing an endless list of towns/locations/characters which have little or no bearing on the story to the point where you begin to lose track. This seems to get progressively worse with each book with some of the major story lines having vague or incomplete endings/reasons for being. For example geralt just happens to listen to some conversation "in a cave" via some "device" which drastically changes the outcome of the story.
I don't know whether or not this story was lost in translation from Polish to English but it is simply not worth the investment in time.
I am purely disappointed with the story and author for such a vague and tenuous storyline but also quite impressed how a video game producer managed to get something coherent out of it.
I would not recommend this series at all other than the first two short story books.
At first I was a bit unsure of the narrative trick of introducing a random character e.g. a messenger and then from his point of view him recounting how he saw three villains killed by one of our heroes. Or a battle described partially from the combatants perspective and partly through a school history lesson years later. But what it does, aided by the brilliant writing, is really immerse you in the world. It’s second to none in making real the background to our heroes adventures.
And then there’s the fact that it’s smart, funny, sad, terrifying and overall uplifting.
There’s a lot of grey in peoples actions, both the good and the bad people and one of our heroes goes seriously astray for a while. And there’s also one of the best out and out bad guys you’ll encounter in fiction.
Throw in the fact that the author then manages to seamlessly blend his world in with some our more well known myths and legends and frankly you’ve got a near masterpiece.
Loved it unreservedly.
The book delves into newish, but previously hinted at, territory by exploring a multiverse concept. This isn’t necessarily a major part of the overall plot, but it helps define Ciri’s role in the series and lightly touches upon some elements concerning the nature of storytelling.
It comes as a bit of a surprise that this propels the reader into our world for some segments of the novel, but considering the title and that the Witcher series has continually pillaged from various Northern European mythologies and folklore (‘Hans My Hedgehog’ perhaps being the most vital) it shouldn’t be that much of a shock.
By this point the character of Ciri has extensively developed and supplanted Geralt as the saga’s lead protagonist. She has gone through a ‘coming of age’ type plot. She has proved, at least to herself, that she is not merely the vessel that others consider her and found an identity. Established as ‘the Witcher girl’ it raises the question of whether the eponymous figure of the series might refer to her rather than Geralt. Likewise, the ‘lady’ of this book’s title could refer to more than one character.
There is, perhaps, a bit of a lack of Yennefer and Dandelion but the emphasis is clearly more on Ciri. Their roles and storylines are still reasonably satisfying, though.
‘The Lady of the Lake’ is considerably larger than the other Witcher books, even ‘The Tower of the Swallow’ which was substantially longer than the others. But whereas ‘The Tower of the Swallow’ squandered its greater length in convoluted, almost, retelling of events from differing perspectives, ‘The Lady of the Lake’ makes better use of it.
Thus, for example, we are able to see more about the decisive battle between Nilfgaard’s armies and the allied Nordling forces. Virtually all the main characters aren’t present at this and seeing it through the eyes of the young, naïve Jarre and those that deal with the wounded and the dying in the field hospital is an interesting angle.
A lot of the ‘final’ confrontations against the main antagonists of the series come considerably before the end of the novel. Perhaps, it ‘climaxes’ a little early, but this does leave a lot to deal with such as the war engulfing the land, the various power struggles and settlements and the fates of certain characters.
Overall, the series has wandered a bit at times and become a little convoluted with its perspectives and experiments in storytelling. This is, perhaps, not the conclusion that all readers/fans might want but it works and seems suitable.
Yep, there are times when the time-hopping can do your noodle but it creates a very interesting vehicle in a novel and I rather enjoyed the peculiarities and all the different POV.
All I'll add is, Cahir, Regis, Milva and Angeloume, may the earth rest lightly on you.