This installment of my reading enjoyment comes at the hands of Andrzej Sapkowski’s Blood of Elves. For those who aren’t videogamers, this is the first novel in the Witcher series, in which the game The Witcher is based on.
The thing with this book is that it is hard to briefly describe the book as a whole because the chapters are 50-some pages long and each are more similar to vignettes instead of chapters. The first chapter is a story told by a famous poet named after a plant (Dandelion) about the Witcher and his ward, Ciri. The poet is then attacked by a wizard and saved by a magician at the end. The second chapter has another magician going to the home of the Witchers to meet Ciri. The third chapter has the magician stating that the young Ciri is a wizard and she needs to be treated like a normal girl and not like one of the Witchers. The fourth chapter has the three leaving to take the girl to a temple to learn. Along the way they are ambushed by this rogue elf clan. Chapter five takes place some time later with the Witcher on a job hunting a monster in a river. The Witcher is then attacked by a group of thugs by the wizard in the first chapter as well as the monster. The Witcher obviously wins. Chapter six starts by a bunch of royals planning to start a war. Then the Witcher is attacked by the wizard after Dandelion leads him to the Witcher. And the final chapter is where the first magician meets and trains Ciri before leaving somewhere.
The book is a very fast read. Though each chapter does go for 50+ pages, there are enough scene breaks that one can put the book down and pick up again later.
The characters are expertly detailed and well-written. There is enough mystery with each character that it isn’t truly known what their motives are.
The world is also a well-rounded entity that you feel like you are plopped down into without missing a beat.
As I said in the summary, this feels like a series of small scenes. And this is definitely true throughout the book. The book just ends and it doesn’t feel like there is an active plot within it. I know this books is part of a series, but I like books that have a set plot within the overarching arc, and this books doesn’t have it.
One thing that does tend to drag is that Mr. Sapkowski likes to add characters into scenes that just like to talk. There is a ton of back- and-forth dialogue with secondary characters that don’t necessarily move the “plot” along. Perhaps some of these characters come back in the next volume.
3 out of 5