My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is the second book in the Witcher series by Sapkowski, and once again, it is a collection of short stories. The longer novels begin with the next book in the series. There are six stories in this one, and like many collections, some are better than others. They draw on mythology and folklore and have Geralt battling mermaids, dryads, dragons, and other assorted creatures. There is also one that centers on the often angsty relationship between Geralt and the sorceress Yennefer.
The stories in this one are self-contained and don’t have as much of the time-hopping as the first book, nor is there the over-arching narrative to tie it all together. In many ways, that makes this collection work somewhat better than the first set because you don’t have to keep track of where (and when) each story falls. And, much like the first, this collection helps to introduce characters that will recur in later books, and helps to get to know them a bit before the larger stories. There is some character development and we start to see Geralt as not just a kill them all monster hunter. I did find Yennefer kind of annoying here but then, I found her annoying in the TV series, too, so that may have colored my perception some. There’s plenty of action, as there should be in this sort of universe. We get to see a bit more of Geralt’s world and how it works. There is some humor, especially in Eternal Flame. Most of the stories are at least satisfying, if not all fully engaging.
This is a good continuation of the Witcher saga for those just getting into it through the TV series (like me). It took a while for this collection to be released in English, but if you are new to the world of Geralt of Rivia, reading The Last Wish and then this one is the way to get into the books with some understanding of who, what, and where things are.
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