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Andrzej Sapkowski II

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Amazon uk has pretty much all of the witcher books on kindle for £1.99 as a "daily deal" promotion. For some odd reason the only one missing is "blood of elves" which as book 1 seems to defeat the point from a marketing strategy. I've heard "blood of elves" is only book one of the novels though so maybe the short story collections work better as a taster?

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It does not hurt to read the collections (The last wish, The sword of destiny) before the first volume. Otherwise some things in Blood of Elves are hard to understand. (I have only read those three, so I cannot comment on the whole series.)

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11 hours ago, C.T. Phipps said:

Also, he's a dude in his seventies who spent much of his adult life in a communist country.

Actually Sapkowski is 68. Poland is not a communist country anymore since 1989. So as a matter of fact he hasn't spent most of his adult life in a communist country. He's just not a gamer, but I doubt it has anything to do with him growing up in the communist country.

And the right order of reading The Witcher series is definitely as follows:

The Last Wish (short story collection)

The Sword of Destiny (short story collection)

The Blood of Elves

The Baptism of Fire

The Time of Contempt

The Tower of the Swallow

The Lady of the Lake

 

The Season of Storms is more or less a prequel (IIRC it takes place between short stories from The Last Wish).

 

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I wonder what kind of small shit storm he'd cause with fans of the books and games if he wrote a true sequel that completely disregarded the events of the games. I doubt he'd do it, but I do wonder...

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The communist country part was mostly an afterthought. Of course, I was always amused he was writing science fiction inspired by Moorcock in the Eighties.

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I just started The Witcher series a week ago, and I'm really enjoying it.  I thought The Last Wish was good, and Sword of Destiny and Blood of Elves were very good indeed.

Sapkowski has a good sense of humour, which offsets the darkness of some of the stories quite nicely.

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Posted (edited)

Totally agree, it's a wonderful series :-)

Edited by Galbrod

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Love it.

Always read THE LAST WISH and SWORD OF DESTINY before the main series, though.

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14 hours ago, C.T. Phipps said:

Love it.

Always read THE LAST WISH and SWORD OF DESTINY before the main series, though.

 

17 hours ago, Galbrod said:

Totally agree, it's a wonderful series :-)

One small, but good, thing is that he understands economics, which adds credibility to his worldbuilding.  Things like prices, taxes, and exchange rates have a bearing on the story.

One example, in Time of Contempt, is where a banker is able to deduce that war is imminent because the price of gems has shot up, relative to the price of gold. The reason being that gems are much easier to carry with you then gold, and lots of rich people are making preparations to flee the impending conflict.

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That's probably because Sapkowski has studied economics and has been working in trade industry before he became a professional writer. :) 

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On 6/18/2015 at 7:29 AM, C.T. Phipps said:

Well,

 

I have just re-read the Blood of Elves because I enjoy the series that much so, honestly, I don't think it's that big of a deal the translation errors. There's some missing humor but the thing about the Witcher books is they have a lot of CHARACTER which really is missing from a lot of other fantasy novels.

 

The Last Wish and The Sword of Destiny are kind of the odd men out as they're mostly adventure stories about Geralt fighting monsters or getting himself into oddball situations. They're humorous and contain the weird element that every fairy-tale is seemingly true but just sort of random history going on in the background--an element which gets excised in the main novels.

 

Blood of Elves, however, is one of the few things that I would think can match a SECTION of the Song of Ice and Fire, however. George R.R. Martin wins on sheer volume as well as the depths of the unexepcted but if I were to measure things in GigaFantasy then I'd say George is about 10GF, while Sapkowski gets a good 7GF, and say, most (still entertaining popcorn fantasy is about 1GF).

 

For example, the majority of the BOE isn't about "stuff" happening but it's Geralt and Ciri wandering around the aftermath of the Nilfgaard war and dealing with the resulting changes to the politics, relationships, and world. I call it, "The Hound and Arya tool around the Riverlands" section. For example, you find people trying to rewrite history of the massive casualties of a recent battle to favor their political point, starvation and losses have reduced many people to bandits, racial relationships have broken down as both sides think the other is better off, and everyone is looking for a scapegoat. It's about the only book I can remember outside of David Webber where the politics play a role on both the top and ground--but unlike Webber, doesn't bore me to tears at times (sorry, David--go back to space battles!)

 

It also has a strong anti-war theme which somehow manages to sell to me that not only do fantasy Dwarves exist but that they exist in a complicated socio-economic relationship with humans.

 

From, The Blood of Elves.

 

"Let them call me a traitor and a coward. Because I, Yarpen Zigrin, coward, traitor and renegade, state that we should not kill each other. I state that we ought to live. Live in such a way that we don’t, later, have to ask anyone for forgiveness. The heroic Elirena… She had to ask. Forgive me, she begged, forgive me. To hell with that! It’s better to die than to live in the knowledge that you’ve done something that needs forgiveness.”

Again he fell quiet. Ciri did not ask the questions pressing to her lips. She instinctively felt she should not.

“We have to live next to each other,” Yarpen continued. “We and you, humans. Because we simply don’t have any other option. We’ve known this for two hundred years and we’ve been working towards it for over a hundred. You want to know why I entered King Henselt’s service, why I made such a decision? I can’t allow all that work to go to waste. For over a hundred years we’ve been trying to come to terms with the humans. The halflings, gnomes, us, even the elves – I’m not talking about rusalkas, nymphs and sylphs, they’ve always been savages, even when you weren’t here. Damn it all, it took a hundred years but, somehow or other, we managed to live a common life, next to each other, together. We managed to partially convince humans that we’re not so very different—”

“We’re not different at all, Yarpen.”

The dwarf turned abruptly.

“We’re not different at all,” repeated Ciri. “After all, you think and feel like Geralt. And like… like I do. We eat the same things, from the same pot. You help Triss and so do I. You had a grandmother and I had a grandmother… My grandmother was killed by the Nilfgaardians. In Cintra.”

“And mine by the humans,” the dwarf said with some effort. “In Brugge. During the pogrom.”

 

So, I still felt moved by the translated versions.

 

There's some good and bad elements depending on how you like the characters as well, too. For example, I love Geralt of Rivia and I think just about everyone does, hence why he's the titular character. However, there's a lot more controversy about his love-interest Yennefer. Sapkowski clearly considers her to be the love of Geralt's life but fandom is pretty split in the English-speaking world over whether or not she's got some sort of emotionally disorder or is just abusive.

 

She's a very-very unlikable character and I prefer every single other one of Geralt's love interests. It gets further complicated by the fact I *LIKE* Yennefer and think she's awesome and fun when she's being an awesome [searching for a non-gendered version of bitchy--jerkish?] wizardess but the books just STOP whenever she and Geralt's love arc shows up.

You should also be warned a lot of the books deal with Ciri and her coming of age drama. Ciri, to me, is one of two young girls in the entire history of science-fiction fantasy who don't annoy the hell out of me (the other is Newt from Aliens) so I don't mind the sections of her growing up. Especially since, in later books, they become absolutely horrifyingly traumatic on a Martinian level.

 

But it's not JUST a series about Geralt but Geralt AND Ciri.

Actually, this series has really sucked me in the way that ASOIAF did, when I first read AGOT in 2011.  I've just finished Time of Contempt and I've been round half a dozen bookshops looking for Baptism of Fire which no one has in stock.  I'd put it on a par with ASOIAF.

Cirri's a bit of a brat to begin with (I was wishing her grandmother had used her switch more often) but she comes to suffer as much as Arya does. 

It answers Roose Bolton's Pet Leech's point about why do sympathetic people willingly serve the Dark Lord.  The treatment which the rulers of the North have meted out to non-humans ranges from very discriminatory (at best) to genocidal (at worst). Unsurprisingly, when the Dark Lord offers them a better deal, many of them jump at the opportunity (however much they may suspect his motives).  The surprise is that so many of them remain loyal to their human rulers.

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4 hours ago, SeanF said:

Actually, this series has really sucked me in the way that ASOIAF did, when I first read AGOT in 2011.  I've just finished Time of Contempt and I've been round half a dozen bookshops looking for Baptism of Fire which no one has in stock.  

SeanF, I would seriously recommend buying all volumes of The Witcher series prior to reading, it sucks like a swamp. And it contains the second best battle description I've ever read (in The Lady of the Lake).

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Meet Andrzej Sapkowski on his UK Tour!

Quote
Andrzej Sapkowski  Bafta Talk Courthouse Hotel, 19 – 21 Great Marlborough St, W1F 7HL
Andrzej Sapkowski  Signing Forbidden Planet
Andrzej Sapkowski  Talk and Signing  Waterstones Birmingham *SOLD OUT*
Andrzej Sapkowski  Talk and Signing  Waterstones Nottingham
Quote

His books have now been translated into almost 20 languages and The Witcher games, inspired by Sapkowski’s books, have sold over 20 million copies worldwide. A signed copy of one of his books was given to President Obama as a diplomatic gift by the Polish Prime Minister.

Wonder if he read it ? :D

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On ‎3‎/‎11‎/‎2017 at 8:19 PM, 3CityApache said:

SeanF, I would seriously recommend buying all volumes of The Witcher series prior to reading, it sucks like a swamp. And it contains the second best battle description I've ever read (in The Lady of the Lake).

I finally found Baptism of Fire.  But, I cheated, and read Tower of the Swallow anyway.  There were a couple of real fist-pumping moments at the end, as good as Arya stabbing the Tickler, and "Ed, fetch me a block". 

I loved how Cirri finished off the four brutes in the Inn, and then sliced off Rience's fingers with her skates

12 minutes ago, AncalagonTheBlack said:

That's a damn nuisance.  I wasn't even aware that he was visiting this country.

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Don't forget to come here after you finish reading to complain about the ending. ;)

Edited by 3CityApache

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5 hours ago, 3CityApache said:

Don't forget to come here after you finish reading to complain about the ending. ;)

Well, I have now finished, and thought it a great series,

I've not yet decided what I think about the ending.  It's obviously ambiguous.

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The video games offer one possible continuation of the storyline, although Sapkowski was not involved in plotting them (and his attitude to the video games seems to change every day from approval to disgust and back again).

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15 hours ago, Werthead said:

The video games offer one possible continuation of the storyline, although Sapkowski was not involved in plotting them (and his attitude to the video games seems to change every day from approval to disgust and back again).

That's true, although there are significant parts of Witcher 3 that can't really be reconciled with the text of the Lady of the Lake.

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