This is the second collection of short stories based on the character of Geralt of Rivia. He’s a Witcher, someone who wanders the land and fights monsters for pay. Like a mercenary for fantastical creatures. They’ve made several video games about the character and the world and now a Netflix series.
I’ve been avoiding spoilers but it’s inevitable that I’d hear bits and pieces especially as I finished this collection and had to look up some randomly mentioned characters. Apparently the last several stories serve as the background for the beginning of the show. So I’m glad I read them first before beginning the show. I typically like to read the books first.
The last three stories were great examples of the genre. I’m typically not a fan of short stories but these packed a punch. Honestly, they’re closer to novellas but still great examples of what can be done with short fiction. “A Little Sacrifice” has an homage to “The Little Mermaid” but sticks closer to the mythical mermaids rather than Disney. Although the female character who falls for Geralt smacks of the “male authors who can’t write women” the plot was intriguing. The more I’ve read of the Wither series, the more I see how bad some male authors write women. There’s not many female characters in the series but the ones who do show up are sometimes flat or very male-gaze oriented.
Yennefer of Vengerberg is Geralt’s main love interest and she’s the archetypal “mysterious woman who plays hard to get” and the two of them have this “we love each other but can’t be together” relationship throughout 🤮. What really got me is that while she’s this amazing sorceress, her biggest conflict is that she can’t have children. Really, Sapkowski? From what I’ve heard the show has improved on this so I’m looking forward to seeing the differences.
This was still a good read although the better stories are at the end, so be prepared for the first two to be ho-hum.