The New York Times best-selling series that inspired the international hit video game The Witcher.
Geralt is a witcher, a man whose magic powers, enhanced by long training and a mysterious elixir, have made him a brilliant fighter and a merciless assassin. Yet he is no ordinary murderer: His targets are the multifarious monsters and vile fiends that ravage the land and attack the innocent.
This is a collection of short stories following the adventures of the hit collection The Last Wish. Join Geralt as he battles monsters, demons, and prejudices alike....
The Witcher series
The Last Wish
The Sword of Destiny
Blood of Elves
The Time of Contempt
Baptism of Fire
The Malady and Other Stories: An Andrzej Sapkowski Sampler (e-only)
©2015 Andrzej Sapkowski (P)2015 Hachette Audio
this is a collection of short stories about the witcher geralt of rivia made famous in the u.s. by the very successful video game series by cd projekt red.
i highly recommend sapkowski's books to anyone who enjoys not only the video games and fantasy but great stories as well. they are sophisticated in a way that few novels in any genre manage. the fact that they manage to do so even when translated into english speaks to the superior quality of his storytelling.
it's really hard for me to convey the depth of this collection of stories. they have a range of tone- humor, romance, adventure, intrigue- that is amazing. the writing is contemporary and yet has a resonance that feels timeless. it reminds me of tolkien in that there is a depth to the world sapkowski has created that makes you feel like it's been around for a very long time. it's like there's a real world with a history that the book takes place in that the characters move through rather than just set pieces for the story to take place in.
the stories are at times bleak and grim, and yet there is an odd sense of whimsy like you might find in a classic grimm brothers's fairy tale. they can be farsicle or tragic but never contrived. i really can't recommend them more highly.
as if truely classic stories written by a master craftsman weren't enough- the narrator peter kenny's performance is a masterpiece in it's own right. i've always considered steven pacey's performance in abercrombie's first law trilogy to be the gold standard of audio book performances. mr. kenny's work in this as well as the other spakowski books is every bit as good. even if the book wasn't a classic- and it is- his performance would make it a must for anyone that enjoys audiobooks.
If you're only familiar with the Witcher video games, you really owe it to yourself to read the original series it's based on. Sapkowshi's Witcher series is one of the most original fantasy series on the market right now and a fantastic example of what is now being called the "Slav-punk" genera. Very rare that Polish science fiction or fantasy gets translated into English at all, so this short story collection is an even rarer treat.
Also, if you're familiar with Peter Kenney's voice work with the First Law series know that he's equally great here. Very highly recommended!
I came to this series based on my experience with the Witcher games and as an avid reader of fantasy.
There are no expounding story arcs or world changing heroics. If you're looking for something like that look elsewhere.
This series of short inter-connected stories read very much like a character study. A study of Gerald and his tormented relationship with the concept of destiny.
Moody and dark, happy endings are far and between in this stark world and yet the descriptions are apt and help underline the central character and his journeys.
Echoes of Gene Wolfe can be found in the atmosphere without ever getting as esoteric as all that.
The main issue I would take with these stories is the absence of a serious antagonistic element.
Gerald's brooding journey and the challenges he meets and encounters are enticing but only up to a point.
The pace is relatively slow ( with some exceptions) and I found myself not being drawn into the story as much as I expected.
All in all worth a listen and it *is* better than a lot of the run-of-the-mill stuff you often find. The audiobook performances were excellent.
Have a go at it if a credit is burning your pocket, just don't expect the level of engagement and depth of either the games or the finest fantasy series.
Just a fair warning to people picking up this series in the official English translation. The series itself is split in half, between the first book and the first-half of this book (a deconstruction of fairy tales) and the rest of the series (the quest around Ceri). Ceri was properly introduced in THIS book, and skipping over it makes reading the rest of the series seam off a bit. The first two books are collections of short stories rather than proper "beginning, middle, and end" books. About the only thing they have is story themes. This book talks a lot about fate and destiny, rather than in the first book which stories are more about morality and choices.
The games are an unofficial fan sequel to the series. The developers of the games liked to make a lot of nods back to the book's continuity but the author even said that the characterizations in the games differ from those in the books.
The origin of Ciri and how she came to meet Geralt
It obviously compares to The Last Wish; same main character and book format of a few short stories with one main arc. However, this one fell a bit short for me. It bogged down a bit changing focus from story to story, but made up lost ground when Ciri came into the picture
The Witcher books are great, quick reads, but they really take off with the performance of Peter Kenny. He puts energy, character, emotion, and feeling in his voices. Each character sounds and feels different, a rare talent among the many audio performers I've listened to. This is a fantastic series so far, fantasy fans can't go wrong with these.
The reader does a really good job at portraying the characters (and their voices) and the tone of the world. Perfect.
The collection of stories gives some useful insight into to the characters.
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