I haven’t seen The Witcher tv series, but I have played through The Witcher 3, and I went into it completely cold. I didn’t know the history, the mythos, the world, or the characters. That experience was actually mostly fine except I allowed a character to die who I didn’t realize was a big part of the series, and well they don’t come back. But something I’ve been curious about with the show is how much of it makes any sense to a brand new watcher. The game eases you in mostly.
This first book is a collection of short stories framed with a story of the Witcher, Gerald of Rivia, recovering from a injury and each story is posed as a memory. It’s kind of clip show of a book and reminds me in that way of the Miles Vorkosigan Borders of Infinity novella collection. The stories here sort of run you through the gamut of tasks of a witcher. A witcher is a special warrior-hunter who is a master of potions, magic, charms, swordfighting, tracking, and monster killing. He’s got a special sets of skills, training, adeptness, and knowledge toward the task of monster hunting, and as a free lancer governed by a various set of rules, is an outsider in many political conflicts sometimes as a would be pawn, sometimes an ally, sometimes a judge. So the stories we get work within this framework. Each could easily be a stand alone tv show episode, but there’s only bare references to the wider narrative arc of the whole world. I think I would get a lot from this book if it were the first real book, but it’s a certainly fine primer to the Witcher as a novel character for someone already quite familiar with the video games.