So after binging the Netflix series, Witcher, right after Christmas, I thought it would be fun to try out the source material by Andrzej Sapkowski—while I was on vacation. I downloaded Book 1 (Blood of Elves) on Kindle—curious to see how it would compare.
The good news is that this book picks up right where the Netflix series ends—with Geralt, the witcher, and Ciri, the young princess who may be more than just a princess, finding each other. No need to wait for Season 2 to find out what happens next. (I learned right after starting the novel that the first season of the series is based on two collections of short stories that come before.). Like the Netflix series, this novel bounces around a bit—though not chronologically—but the main thread of the story involves Geralt trying to keep Ciri under the radar and to train her as a Witcher (or at least using Witcher techniques) and later as a magician. Of course, many other forces in this world (both malevolent and otherwise) are on the hunt for Ciri so Geralt has his work cut out for him. The wizard Yennifer plays an important role as does the poet/bard, who in this novel is called Dandelion.
The bad news (for me) is that I found the novel less than compelling and sometimes a bit of a slog. I’m not sure if it simply suffers in comparison to the series, which moves at a fairly decent clip, or if something gets lost in translation. I liked when the novel focused on the women—Ciri, Yennifer, and Triss—but Geralt feels like even more of a cipher here than he is in the series—and I found it hard to get my head around the world this novel is building. Maybe that is another reason to read the short stories first.
So, my overall reaction to this is “meh” and I’m not sure if I will pursue the series further or simply wait for Season 2 on Netflix.