After watching the Netflix series, the books took my attention; because I wanted to learn about the future of the story, and what the fuss was about around the books. Yet, I was a bit suspicious, because there were a lot of negative comments on the translation of the books, and most of the positive comments were around the Witcher games, so I was quite suspicious.
I was wrong.
This entry book to the series has an interesting format. It follows a storyline and gives us a lot of flashbacks to explain the learnings of Gerald of Rivia during his adventures better, and in a more dense way.
Although there are lots to say about the stories being told in the book, I think the biggest message is that for most of the “monsters” Witcher has fought, the fight was not with the monsters, rather was with the humans and the troubles that were caused by them, due to their greed.
The Witcher is hunting down the creatures, where during these journeys, we’re always having a twist by the evilness that’s lured inside the human beings. The humans who caused the troubles to need to be dealt with, not the creatures that were pushed toward causing those problems. They’re creatures, sure, but conscious evil differs from instinctive damage.
During the journeys, Gerald’s and Dandelion’s conversations also give hints around this; where considering what we’re seeing every day, they don’t seem wrong.
“People like to invent monsters and monstrosities. Then they seem less monstrous themselves.”
Another layer that adds depth, is the motivation of the monsters. In most of the stories, monsters are, well, just monsters. They seek, find, and destroy; that’s how they’re portrayed in fantasy books overall. I think Witcher differs here slightly – where somehow we learn the back story of the creatures and see our character connecting with them emotionally; providing a safer and easier space for us to relate.
“Be consistent. Talking and regretting won’t get you anywhere. If I were to find that the demand for poetry had come to an end, I’d hang up my lute and become a gardener. I’d grow roses.”
I think the last story was the best one, where some stories did lack character building and spared some side characters just for the sake of the story. Yet, I can’t judge that too much, because this is a fantasy book, and I believe does its job more than the overall books in the same category.