Sword of Destiny

Narrated by: Peter Kenny
Length: 12 hrs and 48 mins
5 out of 5 stars (11,016 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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

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

Excellent continuation of Geralt's tales

“The sword of destiny has two blades; you are one of them”

If “The Last Wish” was an introduction to who is Geralt of Rivia, then “Sword of Destiny” is where we learn what is his true purpose. Throughout the short stories, we get to see Geralt being forced to make choices, even when he doesn’t want to. These choices eventually lead him down a path he has been reluctant to follow and yet had been destined to follow. It’s an interesting juxtaposition we see, between making choices and having a destiny as it seems that one would be the opposite of the other. The idea of destiny has a finality to it because it implies a lack of choice, however, if we considered that the choices, we make lead us to a destiny then there’s no loss of free will.

The short stories follow somewhat the same template as the short stories in The Last Wish, though they are more in-depth and focused. Their fairy tale connection is also less overt as it focuses more on Geralt himself and how he reacts and responds to the events surrounding him.

The first short story “The Bounds of Reason” finds Geralt finds hunting for dragons, the only problem is the Geralt of Rivia, monster hunter, doesn’t hunt or kill dragons. He sees them as intelligent creatures that unless they are causing purposeful harm to others, he sees no reason to hunt them. Throughout his adventure, he meets an array of characters most of which wish to hunt the dragon, some of which might not. However, no matter who he meets and what happens Geralt does not waver from his beliefs and in the end is rewarded with an amazing surprise.

In “A Shard of Ice” we see Geralt and Yennefer together as a couple. Their relationship is very interesting, they for on/off because of different circumstances some of which are their own insecurities being who they are. What I love the most about the two of them is that they have a genuine love for each other that is not based on their physical form or their professions. Geralt knows the Yennefer use to be a hunchback and Yennefer knows that Geralt has been mutated by his training as a Witcher, yet she will not allow for anyone, even Geralt himself, to dehumanize him because of that. Likewise, Geralt holds Yen in the highest of estimations. He doesn’t care what she looks like or what potions she uses to make herself look younger and more beautiful; he loves Yen for who she is.

Following the theme of “less than human,” we have the short story the “Eternal Flame”. In the story, we explore the difficulty in surviving a world we you are not like everyone else. Given his experiences and who he is Geralt understand this more than anyone. He doesn’t always recognize it at first but in his wise way, he learns from his experiences. We also get to see more interactions between Geralt and his BFF 4-evah Dandelion. This story evaluates something that’s very prominent throughout the series which is discrimination. There’s a lot of exploration of discrimination and otherness throughout the series and it’s done in a way that it doesn’t come out as preachy, it’s a real issue in this world and our own and it’s something that needs to be exposed.

Next, we get to experience some mermaid action in Geralt’s next adventure in “A Little Sacrifice”. Geralt is accompanied once again by his friend Dandelion. Like all their adventure together nothing goes as planned but a few things happen along the way. Geralt realizes what loving someone truly means, you can’t just sacrifice a little if you love someone, you must be willing to sacrifice everything and this I think is an important lesson that will come into play later in the series.

In “The Sword of Destiny” we are finally introduced to Princess Cirilla of Cintra, aka Ciri. I’ve been anticipating her introduction as I know she plays a very important role in the main series. I very much enjoyed her interactions with Geralt. They do not get off on the right foot yet by the end you could see the bond forming between them, even if Geralt was not ready to embrace the bond by the end of this short story.

Finally, in “Something More” we see Geralt’s adventures and travels come to a head when he’s accepts that destiny can mean many things, not just death. Geralt was fond of saying that the only thing that was destined was death, yet he learns that there’s more to it than that. You can just carve a path straight to death, life happens, choices happen, and these things can’t always be predicted. The final scene is an absolute tearjerker and I loved it.

Overall, I enjoyed this book tremendously. Getting to know the characters better and meeting new characters and seeing how they grow both as individuals but also in their bonds to one another was a real treat. The stories were entertaining but meaningful and they made you care which is what any good story should do.

Overall score 5/5 stars

19 people found this helpful

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Enter the Witcher

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!

22 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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a true classic

Would you listen to Sword of Destiny again? Why?

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.

What about Peter Kenny’s performance did you like?

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.

25 people found this helpful

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this is the true second book of The Witcher Saga.

having made the mistake of reading Blood of Elves first and being somewhat lost, I went back and found that the Last Wish followed by this book were short introductory stories. They might as well be considered the true first and second books since Blood of Elves begins where this book ends.
overall though many of the stories are good in the collection actually quite good. the only thing I would say is that even the very beginning the almost all the characters seeing fully developed that you're just sort of continuing along with their lives. most characters already have established interactions with each other before they appear or me in the book so if you're the type of person who likes to know everything and see if develop this is probably not the series for you

12 people found this helpful

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wth

how are you going to call Dandelion "dan-dillion" in the last wish, then in this one you call him "dandy-lion" ????

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Dandelion

How is this dude's name pronounced? The first two books in the chronology pronounce his name differently. That, and Roach only being named at the end of this book instead of referring to the horse as simply a mare for 3 quarters of the book make it seem like the editing was pretty lazy. The stories themselves are still pretty good, and they're a good starting point, even if the book does feel a little disjointed.

10 people found this helpful

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  • J.
  • 05-05-17

Soap Opera

Way too much of the story was focused on the main character's [poorly conceived] romantic entanglement. Overall, not half as fun as "The Last Wish." However, the story of the dryads was well done; and Peter Kenny's performance was outstanding.

7 people found this helpful

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Best to read last wish then blood of elves

The begining is great with 3 jackdaws, but there is not enough monster slaying the rest of the novel. There are lots of relationship issues with the book largely being focused on Geralt and Yen.

13 people found this helpful

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adding to witcher Lore

such a good performance and story before the Netflix show. it also is a good tie in for the games!!

1 person found this helpful

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Great story, but...

Weak actor, he should dedicated his talent to romantic novels, but not an action story like the Witcher, very mellow way to narrate. Also Dandelion sounds so weak and feminine, and everyone now he is also a great fight companion.

I’m very disappointed with his performance.

1 person found this helpful