Blood of Elves

Narrated by: Peter Kenny
Series: The Witcher Saga, Book 1
Length: 10 hrs and 55 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (16,313 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Watch for the signs! What signs these shall be, I say unto you: first the earth will flow with the blood of Aen Seidhe, the Blood of Elves....

For over a century, humans, dwarves, gnomes, and elves have lived together in relative peace. But times have changed, the uneasy peace is over, and now the races are fighting once again. The only good elf, it seems, is a dead elf.

Geralt of Rivia, the cunning assassin known as The Witcher, has been waiting for the birth of a prophesied child. This child has the power to change the world - for good, or for evil.

As the threat of war hangs over the land and the child is hunted for her extraordinary powers, it will become Geralt's responsibility to protect them all - and the Witcher never accepts defeat.

Following The Last Wish, Blood of Elves is the new novel starring Geralt of Rivia, the inspiration for the critically acclaimed videogame The Witcher.

©2015 Andrzej Sapkowski (P)2015 Hachette Audio

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A great start to a Promising Series

Let me start by saying that Blood of Elves is technically not the start of the series. From what I have found out and read is that The Last Wish, wich is on Audible and Sword of Destiny, wich is not on Audible preceed this novel. Both are short story collections, neither directly impacts the story, but they provide background information on the characters in the series. They are not necessary to read in my opinion, but they do help a bit. Now to the novel, it is very well written with skillful prose and a decent plot. Because this is the first novel in the series, the plot is still being fleshed out so not that much significant happens, but that does not make the novel boring. The pace is steady and the characters are very well developed. The author does something rather unique wich I appreciated very much. Large sections of the novel are strictly dialogue between the characters with almost no description. Therefor, it is as if the reader is sitting in a different room from the speakers, and can here the conversation between them. I found it refreshing and enjoyable. Finally, the narrator does a fantastic job with both differentiation of characters and portraying their emotions correctly. Overall, I enjoyed this book very much and I look forward to the next one being put on Audible.

176 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Wonderful, enhanced my enjoyment of the game!

I actually played the first two games on the X-box before my boyfriend informed that the games were based on books. I was so excited! I was familiar with the characters which helped, but I recommend listening/reading to The Last Wish (also on Audible) and Sword of Destiny before this book. They are prequels of short stories that introduces the characters, and explains events that are just assumed you know about in the first novel. The first book just jumps right in and I spend the first 25% of the book a little confused before I knew about the prequels.

That being said, this book/series is excellent, well written with engaging and likable characters. It's hard to separate the first book from the series, since they all flow together and since I played all three games witch also has some spoilers. But I will say, that Mr. Sapkowski does high fantasy really well. While the "prophesied child" is par on course for high fantasy, Sapkowski gives it a few new twists. The child is female and is actually a supporting character, not the main one. This is just one example, the author takes old ideas and makes them seem fresh and exciting.

Peter Kenny is the perfect choice for narrator. This is the first book I heard him narrate but he has excellent voice control. I even enjoyed his female voices, which tends to be my biggest complaint with male narrators.

50 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

meeeh

the content of the book is very slow, and the narrator couldn't determine what volume to speak throughout the book. at some points he would whisper, causing me to turn the volume up to hear what he was saying, only for the next line to be spoken at normal/high volume blowing my ear drums out all over my car.

41 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Hopefully the weakest book in the series.

Ciri, triss, and Yennifer. The book jumps around quite a bit and can be a little difficult to follow with a multitude of obscure names and locations being thrown around. Additionally, very little takes place with regards to Geralt, but Ciri's story evolves quite a bit. Not as addictive as the first two, but obviously necessary to the series.

9 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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World immersion & character training

I'm writing this review having read this and the next two books in the series, currently reading the fourth.

If you haven't read the previous short story collection you'll be fine but be warned this is not a action pack, high stakes thriller. This is a very slow, character driven tale where the enjoyment is taken from world building escapism. The author spares no expense in his descriptions and details creating a vibrant world and characters, at the expense of pacing. I'm not saying it's boring but if you're use to modern western fantasy stories, you may not enjoy the slow pace.

The first book reads as a training montage. The witcher Geralt brings the orphaned princess Ciri to the witcher's and is trained in the art of combat. Many jokes prevail as a female sorceress arrives and has to explain to the group of male warriors the particulars of female 'issues'. Without giving much away the story advances to magical training.

There is no particular incident or scene that stands out, and there isn't a concluding ending. The story essentially stops expecting you to pick up the next one in the series.

I recommend reading the first two short story collection first to get a feel of the writing style and pacing. If you enjoy those, like character driven stories that have a slow pace, immersing you in the world then give it a try. Remember if you want a satisfying ending you'll have to commit to the next few books as well.

37 people found this helpful

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Couldn't see the story through the natration

Narration with a painfully English accent. I'm assuming this guy isn't really british, because he sounds like an actor attempting a British accent, and getting it poorly. The entire story gets lost in all the British frivolity. I won't buy another audio book narrated by this guy.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Full length novel of Geralt of Rivia

This is the first full novel in the Witcher series, the previous two contained short stories of the adventures of Geralt of Rivia & associated friends. I could tell that in "Sword of Destiny" it was building up into this current story line about Ciri & the prophesy surrounding her. Overall I enjoyed the book, but there were a few parts that I felt were a bit tedious to get thru. Am hoping that now the basic ground work is laid out that the story will pick up.

9 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Excellent first novel in a series!

It's not the best Witcher novel, but it introduces the world and those important within it admirably. If you've never read a Witcher story before, read "The Last Wish" first; it is, in my opinion, a more rewarding, shorter read that, if enjoyed, should wet your appetite for what "Blood of Elves" provides. Be warned, however, this is a much quieter read more concerned with world- and character-building than action and suspense, and the ending is not an ending at all but more of a lead into the next in the series, "A Time of Contempt." Patience required! Still, a wonderful read filled with memorable characters that left me wanting to see what will happen next. Highly recommended!

15 people found this helpful

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I wanted to like it...

But I just couldn't make myself care. I made it about three quarters through and gave up. Too many names, political events, tangents and side stories. I just got bored.

11 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

The Wticher world expands but looses focus...

“You’ve taken in a flame which could at any moment set the world alight…”

Blood of Elves by Andrzej Sapkowski is the third book in the Witcher saga and the first book in the main series. This book is very different in tone to the previous two books. While the first two books were comprised of short stories from the point of view of Geralt of Riva, this book follows several POV’s as they deal with the aftermath of the war with the Nilfgaardian Empire.

The book picks up not too far into the future from where the last book left off, opening with Dandelion singing an epic poem about Geralt and Ciri adventures so far. It’s a romantic version of the events which the listeners, for the most part, take as such. It also serves to recap the reader about the events in the previous book. From there we meet up once again with Geralt and Ciri as they arrive at Kaer Morhen, the home base of the Witchers. Kaer Morhen had once been a castle and training school for Witcher, but, many years prior it was attacked and mostly destroyed. Now the few Witchers that remain (those who were not there when the castle was attacked) still use it as their home base. Geralt brings Ciri to Kaer Morhen to train her as a Witcher and although her training is progressing, they soon have to call upon Triss Merigold, as sorcerous, to assist them with Ciri’s training as the girl has innate magical abilities which the Witchers are not prepared to handle.

Unlike the previous two books, this is a continuous story, even as is told from different points of views. We learn about the political climate the world is in as well as how the kings and queens view themselves and their roles within this new pollical environment. We are briefly given a view from the perspective of the Nilfgaardian Emperor and we get to see how he perceives the climate in comparison to his enemies. Overall there’s not a lot of political action, there’s a lot of political discussions, and at times it got a little tedious.

The main focus of the book is Ciri, her training and how other’s view her as a tool to further their ambitions or as an obstacle to be removed. Most of her training is taken up by Yennefer, once Geralt leaves Ciri in the care of Nirka at the Temple of Melitele. He leaves her there so that she may also receive an education. Ciri’s relationship with Yennefer starts off rough but soon the two learn to respect and admire each other and grow very close.

Early in the books when Geralt is still with series he’s confronted with the aftermath of the war. As a Witcher, he does not take sides but as series guardian, he’s forced to consider his position. He has to consider whether is neutrality is actual indifferent and whether he can actually stay indifferent in the face of war. This is mostly seen from Ciri’s perspective, who doesn’t understand Geralt’s inability to not pick a side. Later Geralt finds himself hunting a man, who is trying to hunt him. Most of his scenes in the book revolve around this. There is a very tender scene where Geralt reads letters from Ciri who begs him to visit, yet he believes he can’t because he’s afraid to put her in danger.

There’s a lot more conversation than action in the book, more talking than action. On the one hand, you want to understand the political climate of the world but on the other hand, I think this is better displayed through action rather than conversation. Having said that there are also important themes that are brought up throughout the books, especially during the journey from Kaer Morhen to Temple of Melitele. We have a discussion about racism, as we see the different races from different perspectives. The degradation of the environment is also discussed as the world begins to change after the war.

Overall, I gave the book 3/5 stars. While I enjoyed it I don’t think it was as strong as the first two books in the saga.

5 people found this helpful