The Witcher 0.5
“People,” Geralt turned his head, “like to invent monsters and monstrosities. Then they seem less monstrous themselves. When they get blind-drunk, cheat, steal, beat their wives, starve an old woman, when they kill a trapped fox with an axe or riddle the last existing unicorn with arrows, they like to think that the Bane entering cottages at daybreak is more monstrous than they are. They feel better then. They find it easier to live.”
So what’s the book about?
What does a Witcher do to earn the bread in the soup? How do you cure a man-eating princess of her unsavoury habit? And why is it advisable to have your home insured against magical and supernatural events? The Witcher Geralt is an expert when it comes to eliminating monsters, vampires and other troublesome monstrosities. His best friends are the witcher’s sword and the bard, with whom he roams the land in search of commissions. But it is becoming increasingly difficult to find work, as the spread of human cities leaves little room for mythical creatures. And despite his bloody profession, Witcher Geralt is by no means the callous and indifferent butcher his clients often think he is. His apparently unrequited love for the sorceress Yennefer gives him a humanity that he does not want to admit to himself. Moreover, it becomes increasingly clear to him that he, too, belongs to that dwindling realm of mythical creatures.
Why I wanted to read this series?
I have wanted to read the Witcher series for years, as it is very popular, especially in Germany, because the author is Polish and this is a country bordering Germany. Somehow I never managed to start this series, because it only begins with a short story volume and I’m not really a fan of short stories. However, the hype around the Witcher series grew, also through the video games and finally through the series. I was completely carried away by the series and I think Yennefer in particular is extraordinarily well done! I can’t wait for the second season to come out. Because I liked the series so much, I finally wanted to venture into the original roots.
These aspects attracted me the most while reading.
- There are very few world designs in fantasy that can lay claim to uniqueness and freshness, but do so with an almost terrifying credibility. Geralt of Riva and his world undoubtedly belong in this category. The creatures alone, inspired by Eastern European legends and myths, and the very special narrative voice, a welcome change from the otherwise typically Anglo-Saxon fantasy, fascinate from the very first page and give the reader the feeling of entering a very special, novel world. The different creatures that Geralt meets on his various jobs are extraordinarily well done, as a variety of creatures is given here, through vampires, djinni or yet creatures of his own design.
- The protagonist Geralt is a witcher with honour, he follows a code, even if it is his own. His demeanour is always very authentic, he doesn’t mince his words and has an incredibly dry and sarcastically ironic sense of humour. Geralt of Riva is a multi-faceted character. He is emotionally broken due to the Witcher mutation. His environment and his suffering always makes him feel that he is different, an outcast and only created to kill monsters. The opinion of others is often important to him, because he keeps handicapping himself with it. That witchers like Geralt are emotionless is something Geralt is often told, which is why he also believes he has no real emotions. In reality, he cares about his friends and the people. Some jobs he does free, some monsters he doesn’t kill out of his own principles and often he asks for the welfare and advises his clients before asking for the money. Geralt is an adventurer who is comfortable in his easy life. He lives according to his own principles. Especially with his friend Dandelion, the famous bard, he engages in frequent exchanges of blows, in which both are in no way inferior to each other. Geralt angrily refuses to choose the lesser evil, who would so gladly maintain neutrality, bound by the Witcher’s Code – and then fails to do so, because he is not a mindless fighting machine, but a deeply moral, too often melancholic, all-questioning human being.
- The best short story for me was The Last Wish. While catfishing, Dandelion and Geralt find a jar sealed with a magic lock, from which a djinn escapes, attracting the attention of the sorcerer Yennefer von Vengerberg, among others. She senses her chance to become even more powerful than she already is and forgets what cunning creatures these elemental spirits can be. While the djinn unleashes fury and destruction on the town, Geralt and the townspeople look for a way to get rid of the angry genie. I particularly liked this story because you get to know a little bit about Yennefer, who I simply took to my heart through the series.
So what are my final thoughts about it?
Honestly, I was disappointed with this book, although I didn’t have such high expectations either, as it is a short story collection, however, I liked the world and also Geralt very much, but every single short story was extremely sexual. Every story involved a good-looking woman, most of whom also had a large bust, who had to be rescued or who was involved in the story in some other way. Of course, the theme was then also eviscerated. I have nothing against sex scenes in a book or when sexual jokes or remarks are made, but in this book it was clearly too much for me, because really EVERY short story, this theme was taken up repeatedly. However, I liked this Eastern European fantasy world so much and Geralt is also a very interesting character that I want to continue reading this story, even if I hope that this obsessive sexual narration will stop. Therefore, I still have hope and will not give up on this series as I also want to know more about Geralt as he seems like a strong character. Please Witcher series do me a favour and make it a good story!
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