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Sword of Destiny: Tales of the Witcher – Now a major Netflix show Paperback – 13 Feb. 2020
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Geralt the Witcher - revered and hated - holds the line against the monsters plaguing humanity in the bestselling series that inspired the hit Witcher Netflix show and video games.
Geralt of Rivia is a Witcher, a man whose magic powers and lifelong training have made him a brilliant fighter and a merciless assassin. Yet he is no ordinary killer: he hunts the vile fiends that ravage the land and attack the innocent. But not everything monstrous-looking is evil; not everything fair is good . . . and in every fairy tale there is a grain of truth.
Translated by David French.
Andrzej Sapkowski, winner of the World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement award, started an international phenomenon with his Witcher series. In this second collection of short stories, following the adventures of the hit collection The Last Wish, join Geralt as he battles monsters, demons and prejudices alike . . .
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- Publisher : Gollancz; 1st edition (13 Feb. 2020)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 400 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1473231086
- ISBN-13 : 978-1473231085
- Dimensions : 12.8 x 2.6 x 19.6 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 7,778 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer reviews:
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Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 14 November 2016
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The Last Wish featured mostly isolated stories with the Witcher tackling a certain monstrosity for a set payment. He travels around the world to where his peculiar killing and magic techniques are needed to tackle a problem and individuals will hire him. In the first book, apart from a couple of brief interludes, there were no recurring characters. It was solely about a certain adventure at one end of the world and then another a thousand miles away. Sword of Destiny features a handful of main characters from the series who become more fleshed out as there presence recurs. Geralt's friend and lady loving bard Dandelion, his mysterious sorceress love interest Yennefer and a potential child of destiny called Ciri. If you've played The Witcher computer games I imagine you a familiar with these characters, the sort of missions set and the monsters the Witcher is assigned to eradicate, and how beautiful and vast this created world is.
I found the stories in The Last Wish more consistent but two or three of my favourites are from this entry. If you decide to read the short story collections first I'd truly recommend starting with The Last Wish and not Sword of Destiny. Two stories in The Witcher #1, one including Yennefer and one including a Queen and a Princess, add huge depth to the action and events that occur in this collection, especially with certain relationship complexities.
The Witcher tales are exciting and addictive to say that a story can be finished within about half an hour. Sapkowski doesn't dumb down the world and there are a plethora of complex characters and demons throughout these pages. My favourite story is here is The Bounds of Reason and it features about twenty-five different well-crafted characters who set off on a mission to kill a wounded dragon. I found this narrative exceptional, unpredictable, thrilling with a hell of a twist at the end. This sets Sword of Destiny up brilliantly. This constructed world does feature typical fantasy tropes but nothing feels forced. It all feels enticing and original. I'm not looking forward to seeing more of the Elves in the next book!
I won't go into the details of the stories too much as it might approach spoiler territory. I will confirm that these tales feature many fantasy races as well as mermaids and underwater warriors, showdowns with sorcerers, a group trying to trace a doppleganger, and also meeting Ciri. It features monster hunting of course but not as much and as frequent as The Last Wish. Each The Last Wish story played like a level on the Witcher games. These are less standalone and cleverly building up for the full narrative which will start with Blood of Elves.
I adored The Bounds of Reason, A Little Sacrifice and Sword of Destiny. Eternal Flame and A Share of Ice were very average. The final story Something More I really struggled with initially. It follows two timelines as Geralt in a fevered state and I sometimes got confused where and when we were. If it was a full-length story I wouldn't have finished it but I did and I'm glad I fought through as the ending is highly satisfying with setting up what can possible happen in the next outings.
I decided to read all of the Witcher books before the TV series is released and I am glad that I have taken on this venture. I've read the first two books within four days and I can't wait to move on further. I often struggle with short stories but I can recommend these highly. The Bound of Reason is one of the top two finest short stories I've ever read alongside Sebastian De Castell - The Fox and the Bowman.
Some phrases are clunky, some difficult to understand the original meaning of, some are clear copies of certain Polish expressions without looking for better alternatives in English, some due to sloppy editing are a bit illogical or grammatically incorrect.
Also there should be reference section/ sections- for stuff (cultural or language related) clear as day to Polish person, but alien to non-Poles reading. As this time I was reading the book, at roughly the same pace as my British friend, I found myself explaining a lot of context, which should have been made clear, to those willing to understand.
Surely this could be fixed for next editions, right lovely publishers/translators?
All in all, still an amazing book, all of the above notwithstanding, but some editing/ additional information would make it even better.
This is just as good, if not better, than the original it contains both big action sequences, as well as smaller character-driven sections. The story is solid throughout and always feels like it's expanding on a world that's constantly growing.
Peter Kenny does an excellent job narrating. Coming from the games, Hearing Geralt talking with a strong Liverpool accent took some getting used to but it was natural from the start and works very well. All characters are voiced by Peter and unique in their own way which means there's never any problems recognising who's speaking, when not explicitly stated.
I really liked the first book and this is more of that, with a bit more magic on top. Highly recommended.
Geralt continues his search for purpose in a world that despises him, amongst those who see him only as a tool for killing to used for their own end. There are some absolutely cracking short stories in here, and great character development. We start to get more invested in the main characters, but some of the minor characters, that only stick around for a single chapter are so beautifully drawn, Essi Draven, the feisty love lorn bard, and Villentretemerth, really stood out. The world that the author creates for these characters to inhabit it complex and coherent, immersing yourself in it and unravelling its mysteries is a real buzz.
As soon as I had finished this book I downloaded the next - two books on, I haven't stopped yet, they keep getting better and better.