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Wednesday, 27 August 2014

The Witcher - For People Who Like Fantasy

Dearest friends,

After finishing The Inheritance Cycle book series, that was quite awesome and I wish one day they would really give it another go and do a TV series or a cycle of movies on it, I started yet another series of fantasy books. The Inheritance Cycle indeed has potential and the movie Eragon totally screwed up the story (hence Paolini did not agree to sell the rights to the other books). The series I have started a while back is called The Witcher and for the fantasy fans - of both books and video games - it may sound very familiar. 
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The Witcher (Polish: Wiedźmin) by Polish writer Andrzej Sapkowski is a series of fantasy short stories (collected in two books, except for two stories) and six novels about the witcher Geralt of Rivia. In Sapkowski's books, witchers are monster-hunters who receive special training and have their bodies modified at an early age to provide them with supernatural abilities so they can cope with dangerous monsters. The books have been adapted into a movie and television series, a video game series, and a graphic novel series. The novel series (excluding the short stories) is also called the Witcher Saga. The Witcher short stories and novels have been translated into several languages. The books The Last Wish, Blood of Elves, Time of Contempt, and Baptism of Fire have been officially translated into English.
The sad part is that not all the books were translated in English language - as the writer is Polish - so the order may be a little messed up. Theoretically between The Last Wish and Blood of Elves there should be another book. I did not read it but Marek did :) for him is much easier to read it directly in Polish and I believe it is much more fun as well. I was told by several friends that read the books that they are quite a hit and that Sapkowski writes beautifully in an old-type of language, like how the old history books were written. I find that fascinating and interesting but unfortunately my Polish is not taht brilliant as to read them in the original language... 
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Marek is the one who saw me almost finishing the Inheritance Cycle and recommended me The Witcher. He told me it was about time to try a Polish writer as well and check how he sees fantasy :) I have finished The Last Wish, which is actually a list of short stories about Geralt's adventures is capturing/killing/curing the monsters running loose upon the world. I must admit I am confused if I liked that book or not. The first page for me war pure porn, describing a particular scene between him and the sorceress Yennefer more vividly than anything I read before. I was torn between stopping reading and going ahead but I wanted to give it another chance. The stories of Geralt and the momsters were quite interesting and very nicely done. Sapkowski borrows the stories from Brothers Grimm and twists and turns them into his benefit. Overall I quite liked it and I went on to the next translated English book: Blood of Elves.
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The series continues with a bigger picture where we see the war between races and the unrest that comes upon the land - the war against elves and the war brewing between people. We finally meet Ciri, the princess lost and hunted. Tell you the truth, until now I believe the best character of the book is Ciri. She very much resembles in spirit and style to Arya Stark from the GOT - Song of Ice and Fire series. She is the grandaughter of the queen of Cintra and she is the protegee of Geralt. Ciri is the first female trained to be a witcher but thanks to another wonderful character (that unfortunetely we do not see much in the books... called Triss Merigold) she is not genetically altered by the witchers special potions... Triss is adorable and way more human and warm and feeling than Yennefer. She is straight forward and quite enjoyable. Everytime I see her on the page of the book I get a grand smile :) Did I mention that she is red-haired and a sorceress herself? The only huge minus until now of this book and actually the entire series is how Sapkowski sees the elves. He made them too vile and evil and vindictive. They are not even 10% of how the elves from LOTR are. I quite disagree with Sapkowski on this point as for me the elves are and always will be the representation in fantasy and fiction of the angels.
I am currently reading the 3rd translated book: Time of Contempt. I have not finished it yet but I see it continues to focus of the raising/training up of Ciri as a sorceress (as guess what?! She has the Elder Blood = Blood of Elves in her and she has The Power of magic as well). I love how Ciri develops and she has a will of her own - just like Arya Stark does - and takes action upon her own, no matter the consequences. We see more of the world of sorcerers and sorceresses and we see the relationship between Yennefer and Geralt much more than in the other books.  
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I especially love at Sapkowski the way he writes the dialogues and how he develops the connections between the characters so I try my best not to hold him against screwing up with the elves... Did I also mention that Obama (yes, the President of the USA) is a huge fan of The Witcher video games?! :) Well, overall it is a good series! it is not like LOTR or GOT or The Inheritance Cycle but it aquits itself nicely and I can hardly wait to read it through :) How about you? Have you ever played the game or read the books? What was your opinion upon them? I would love to hear it :)

Yours truly,
A LadyBug That Loves Elves