The Witcher

Detailed thoughts and rankings after finishing all the books.

I just finished reading the Witcher books for the first time and I loved them. Took me about two and a half months and that was time well spent. I did beat the Witcher 3 and watch the not-so-great show on Netflix before reading the books, so perhaps that has something to do with my opinions. Here are my thoughts on each book and where I would rank them up against each other. This is not ranking of how objectively good I think the books are. It's ranking how much I personally enjoyed them. (minor spoilers)

  1. The Last Wish – I know it's common for the first in a series to be someone's favorite purely for nostalgia purposes. However, this is the only book I have re-read bits of and I genuinely think I enjoyed the most. I loved every single story in it. They were all fascinating to me, and really set-up things that get developed on later in the series. This one was the most consistent the whole way through for me. I can't think of a single boring section. The dinner with Queen Calanthe was basically all conversation and was still tense as hell. The story with Nivellan was super fascinating and a good look at what kind of guy Geralt was. The Striga story was fucking badass and a great opener. And the story where Dandelion and Geralt meet Yennefer for the first time was funny and set the stage for their relationship very well. EVERY STORY in this book was awesome. This is the only one I will probably end up re-reading in the near future.

  2. Time of Contempt – The section on Thanedd with Geralt meeting all the sorcerers and how all that ends up playing out might be my favorite part of the entire series. We got to really see who Vigelfortz, Dijkstra, and Phillipa were in this one and they are all great characters. Additionally, lt has my favorite Geralt line in the entire series when he won the bet with Codringher at the beginning. I also really loved the part with Ciri in the desert because it showed how mentally strong and determined of a character she was. My one slight critique would only be that the book did take a little bit to get going. The part with Ciri going through the city while Yennefer was at the bank was not bad, and the part where she called out the fake Basilisk was cool. However, that whole section didn't have a whole lot to do with the rest of the book. But once this book got going, man was it going. The Wild Hunt stuff was pretty cool as well.

3.The Tower of the Swallow – I could imagine this one having a lot of conflicting opinions. The story was told differently than the others. There was a LOT of jumping back and forth through different points in time with many different interconnecting story-lines going on. It was a little jarring at first but I got used to it. Shit goes down in this one! A whole lot of stuff happens in this book compared to others. I personally loved it. Bonhart is pure evil, but is also a badass in his own way. I even got a little emotional during the part with Bonhart and the rats. The moments with the "hanza" were all great and gave us more insight into who Cahir is. The part with Ciri in the fighting pit was pretty cool and the ending on the ice was wild. I might have put this one above Time of Contempt if it didn't jump around so much. One moment your reading about Yen on Skellige, then all of sudden it shifts to Ciri and Vysogota, then jump to Tawny Owl's storyline, now Dijkstra and the king of Kovir are making deals, then jump forward In time to Kenna in court telling the judge what happened when she was with Tawny Owl. It was a little all over the place, but was still one of my favorites and is basically tied with ToC.

  1. Lady of the Lake – I have more mixed feelings on this one than any of the others. There are moments that are undoubtedly some of my favorite of the whole series. It's the most ambitious of all the books as well as the most emotional. I definitely had a few moments where I had to put the book down and take a deep breath. The stuff in Toussaint was great, Ciri jumping through worlds was fucking awesome, and the moment with Nimue helping Ciri actually made my jaw drop. My main problem with Lady of the Lake is the pacing. There were so many crazy things going on, but it was all spaced out by sections that I found boring or slow. I think the best example of this is when Geralt, Ciri, and Yen finally get reunited. They had been working to see each other again since Time of Contempt, and they finally are with one another again. So what happens next?….50 pgs of Continental politics. I wanted to finally see them together as a family, not read about piece treaties between Nilfgaard and the Northern realms, Jarre (who I could not give a flying fuck about), and Boreas Munn. I don't mind having that stuff in the book, but right after the insane events at Stygga castle, it felt like a huge adrenaline dump. The Nimue stuff was fine but was such a slow change of pace from the rest that was going on. And for heavens sake I can not express how much I do not care about Jarre. I get that he was supposed to give us insight into the war and what the people in the army were like, but I feel like the dwarves could have served that purpose much better. I remember reading the part with him meeting those knuckleheads and going to join the army and thinking "Is this almost over, I don't care about these characters at all. I want to get back to Ciri, Geralt, and Yen". And the Battle of Brenna started out cool, but then it started jumping around through time, shifting to Rusty and the medics, and swapping the point of view from the North to Nilfgaard to the point where it became a bit messy. I love most of Lady of the Lake, but not all of it.

  2. Blood of Elves – I will admit, this one was a lot of setting things up and was not as eventful as the others. The middle of the book was a bit drawn out and not much happened. The Rience story-line was also a little disappointing. But even still, I thought it was great. I loved the beginning with Ciri at Kaer Morhen learning from all the different witchers. Eskel, Vesemir, Lambert, and Coen were nice additions even if Lambert was a total ass. I loved Triss and the big sister little sister relationship she built with Ciri. She could help Ciri with things that the Witchers were totally oblivious to. I thought the glimpse into Ciri's visions were cool and trippy. I also think this book was Dandelion at his funniest. The dynamic with him and Djikstra was great. He's literally going back to his old college LOL. Plus, the parts with Yennefer teaching Ciri magic built their relationship in a very effective way.

  3. Sword of Destiny – I suppose this is somewhat of an unpopular opinion. This one seems to be a lot of people's favorite. And I did really like it, but not as much as others. I think it came down to me not caring for some of the stories in this one. The story with the female bard and the mermaid had a great ending, but the rest of it was just okay. I was also not the biggest fan of the story in Vengerburg with Yen having an affair and Geralt not willing to tell Yen he loves her even though he obviously does. Again, its okay but was not as interesting to me as the rest. I do think that the story with the dragon, the story with Dudu, and the story with Ciri in Brokilon are fantastic though. And Something More is masterfully told. I think part of me not liking this book as much also had something to do with the circumstances I read it in. I read this one at a time when I had a lot of things going on and probably wasn't as focused as I should have been. I would not be surprised if I read this one again and liked it way more.

  4. Baptism of Fire- This book was by no means bad. I still enjoyed it. And I think it introduced some of the best characters in the series. Regis, Milva, Zoltan, and Cahir were all great. And the ending was fucking amazing! Its the beginning of the book that was quite slow in my opinion. It is a lot of Milva, Geralt, and Dandelion arguing while riding through the Continent. I remember being over 100 pages in and thinking "wow, not much has really happened". But once Zoltan and ESPECIALLY Regis were introduced, the book got better (Regis is probably my favorite character in the entire series). The stuff with the Lodge was also interesting, and the small segments with Ciri and the rats were cool, but both were few and far between. Man, that ending though. That ending!

  5. Season of Storms – Again, the book is not bad by any means. There are some parts that I had fun reading. However, there is a reason this one took me the longer to finish than any of the others. I think because this one has nothing to do with the main story-line, I just did not care as much about anything. There is no Ciri and Yen is in it for like two pages maybe. The other books in the series made me want to finish them so bad to see what was going to happen. Knowing that nothing major was going to happen to any of the main characters, or any game changing events were going to happen in this book, I did not have the same motivation as others to read it whenever I could. The book does have a pretty quick pace, which is a nice switch up from the main saga, and I found the second half to be a bit better than the first. It is not bad at all, but coming straight from Lady of the Lake to this one, made it seem "small" if you know what I mean.

Read more:  Possibly unpopular opinion... The show doesn't follow the books as much as people claim they do.

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