I think some things are important to note when reviewing this book. For one, while the video game and TV series inspired by this series of books is called The Witcher, this series of books actually isn’t entitled The Witcher, and none of the books are. It’s also important to note that while this is, indeed, the first novel in the series, it’s not the first book, as there are two short story collections that you really need to read first. It’s also perhaps interesting to note that those short story collections were originally published in Poland in a different order than their English editions.
You see, while Geralt of Rivia, the Witcher, is in this novel, it’s not about him. Oh, and if you think it might be about Dandelion/Jaskier from the cover of the edition I read, you’d be wrong too. He’s in it, of course, but it’s not really about him either.
It’s about Ciri.
Particularly it’s about her time at Kaer Morhen, training to be a Witcher, followed by her time at Melitele’s Temple, training to be a wizard, with Yennefer. There’s some other stuff too, some politics and a bit of subterfuge…all of it mainly involving Geralt trying to stop everyone from finding Ciri and various monarchs planning to start a war with Nilfgaard. But, mostly, this is either directly about Ciri or people looking for Ciri.
And it’s really, really good. Having thoroughly enjoyed both short story collections it’s no real surprise that I enjoyed this, but, nevertheless, I did.
If you come to this novel straight from the TV show (I can’t speak for the video games as I’ve not played them) then you’ll probably be disappointed. As I said, Geralt’s barely in this, there’s not a lot of monster hunting and there’s none of him bedding beautiful young women while secretly wishing they were Yennefer. Instead we get a group of haggard old Witchers failing to deal with an adolescent girl having her first period. So, you know, be warned.
What we also don’t get is a complete story. Which in some ways is unsatisfying, but, you know, I’m not going to knock points of for that as I’ve already ordered the next book.
But, yeah, if you’ve finished the TV series and you want MORE, then…well, read the two short story collections, which lay the groundwork for this novel and are referenced A LOT in it…and then read this novel.