Title: Sword of Destiny
Author: Andrzej Sapkowski
First Publication date: 1993
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. He roams the country seeking assignments, but gradually comes to realise that while some of his quarry are unremittingly vile, vicious grotesques, others are the victims of sin, evil or simple naivety.
In this collection of short stories, following the adventures of the hit collection THE LAST WISH, join Geralt as he battles monsters, demons and prejudices alike…
I have finally finished Sword of Destiny, the second collection of short stories accompanying The Witcher series, and I am left with very mixed feelings. By now I realized that Andrzej Sapkowski‘s style is a bit too philosophical, too pompous at times and I have come to terms with that. Maybe it is just the translation, as I am reading it in English, but there are times when the characters talk and talk about things as if for the sake of talking, as if the author wants to show he is verse in all themes. It’s rare to find a story where you love the style, love the characters and you love the story. In most cases you get just one of those.
Starting this book I was ready to give up on The Witcher for good. The first few short stories bored me to sleep or annoyed me to no end – the one with the shifter or whatever that creatures was, was absolutely pointless. Given, it may be important at some later point in the books but for f’s sake, just let us know then. I didn’t have to read thirty pages about it. And it had Dandelion in it, another character that annoys the hell out of me. I do get he will be an important one later on – and I suppose he does have a few redeeming qualities – but c’mon, most of the time I am praying for somebody to punch him in the face. And his friendship with Geralt makes absolutely no sense to me (at least from The Witcher’s pov).
The redeeming part about the book were the latter short stories involving Ciri. I didn’t like the girl that much, she was a spoiled brat, but I did love how Geralt suddenly changed when he was around her. It suited him somehow, and it did not feel fake or exaggerated. My favorite story was that of the dryads. It seems that the more exotic creatures you have in the story the more interesting it becomes. Sapkowski has a knack of writing about creatures but I think writing about humans is not his strong suit 😀 which is weird, because he is a human, as far as we know…
The sad thing is that those two books, The Lat Wish and Sword of Destiny, are indeed integral to the story. I already started Blood of Elves which is considered the first book of the Main Witcher series and from the very beginning the author jumps into the story talking about Yennefer, Ciri and Dandelion as if we know them. So if you have not read the previous books with the short stories you’re in for a steep learning curve and possibly a lot of googling. I’ve never seen such series structure before and I guess this should work for the die-hard Witcher fans who just want to learn more and more after playing the game but for the rest of us is a gamble since not everybody would read through the short stories and if they decide to skip them and start from the Blood of Elves they may become really confused and give up. Unless they are weird like me, in that case they will probably finish the series out of pure stubbornness.
I’l give Sword of Destiny a generous 3/5 rating although this may be exaggerated. But I really liked the dryads so I won’t bitch about it anymore.
What about you? What rating would you give? What are your thoughts and takes on Sword of Destiny?