This final Witcher novel was written over 10 years after The Lady of the Lake, the finale of the Witcher series, apparently because the Witcher video games had taken off and Sapkowski figured he could milk that cash cow one more time. Season of Storms is actually set before the rest of the series, which fits in with Sapkowski’s predilection for out of whack time lines. I can’t say that it really adds much to the series overall. There’s plenty of violence, treachery and gore, as well as the usual “everyone hates Witchers” theme and the old power-hungry-mage routine.
The premise behind Season of Storms is that Geralt’s two swords have been stolen and he is on a quest to find them again. The treachery occurs in Kerack, a small but wealthy Kingdom ruled by Belohun, a king who goes through wives like water and has a number of heirs, but not the one he wants. Belohun is preparing to marry yet again to produce another son while his grown sons seethe. Meanwhile Geralt, fresh off a nasty job, enters Kerack and not only loses his swords but ends up imprisoned thanks to the sorceress Lytta Neyd, aka Coral. Coral is, of course, totally hot because all sorceresses are, and she is working for the sorcerers’ guild. The members of the guild detest Witchers in general and Geralt in particular because of his relationship with Yennefer (a weak plot point and one that doesn’t add up, as I will explain below). A couple of powerful sorcerers are particularly interested in Geralt because they have a bit of a problem and a discreet monster hunter is what they need. The problem has to do with another sorcerer who is not just evil but EEEEVILLL! He’s like the beta version of Vilgefortz. So Geralt finds himself having to deal with Coral (and of course they have a sexual relationship because apparently all sorceresses have it bad for the Witcher) and also with the civil authorities of Kerack in order to get his swords back. Oddly enough, the chief “instigator” (who I think is an investigator) happens to be a cousin of our old pal Dandelion, who is in Kerack, too.
This story features a LOT of violence and gore. Geralt, in his job for the sorcerers, encounters all manner of mutants and monsters, most, but not all, of which are deadly. The business with King Belohun and Geralt’s swords is not very well developed or explained. Yennefer does not appear in this novel but does play a role from afar. At the end, Geralt hears about King Foltest and the Striga, which is the first story in the first Witcher book, so we know that even though he expresses no interest in that case, he will end up going there.
One big problem with this story is that it essentially ignores the timeline of the series. I went back to this site to make sure of this. When Geralt encounters the Striga in book 1, he has not yet met Dandelion or Yennefer, so how does he know both of them in Season of Storms? Sapkowski also provides an “interlude” and an “epilogue” with a very young Nimue, who appeared in Lady of the Lake, and I’m not sure what the point is. I’ll admit that concentrating on this story and a review was a challenge what with all that is happening right now and with everyone at home; yet I just don’t think this story measures up to the rest of the series. It feels like Sapkowski put together a “Geralt’s greatest hits” album in book form: Dandelion, a hot sorceress, nasty bad guys, weird monsters, crazy fight sequences. Perhaps diehard Witcher fans were willing to overlook the inconsistencies (or forgot the original timeline) in their excitement over a new book, but I’d say this is one you could skip.
*Edit: my husband disagrees with me that the chronology is out of whack. He says that the Netflix timeline is not necessarily the book timeline but admits that Sapkowski’s chronology is murky. It still gets one star.