Stylistically, this is pretty similar to Blood of Elves. Sapkowski continues to have a really episodic writing style. Each chapter features a new location with new POV characters, and each chapter features the characters engaged in one or more long conversations as a way to bring across plot. These books are extremely talky, which I like! I like the long-form conversational format almost for its novelty alone. But it does have drawbacks, one of which is that the reader is often left scrambling for the larger picture, and the larger picture here is pretty confusing. It also tends to put you at a remove emotionally at times, because the conversations are the focus here and there isn’t very much linking the chapters together. It puts a lot on the reader. Maybe I just didn’t have the bandwidth for that right now. It took me almost a full week to read this 331 page book.
I was going to round up to four stars until the end of the book, because when I was in the book, a lot of it was quite enjoyable, particularly the stuff with Geralt (though I do think Sapkowski hit the contempt motif a little hard by the time the book ended). But then a weird sexual thing happened at the end with Ciri, and it put a bad taste in my mouth. It was either poorly translated by David French, or poorly written to begin with. SPOILER The gang of teenagers that Ciri takes up with has a dude in it that wants to have sex with her, and she clearly doesn’t want to, so a female member of the gang defends Ciri, and then proceeds to sort of sexually assault her anyway, but it’s confusing the way it’s written because it sort of seems like Sapkowski wants us to believe she’s into it? I honestly don’t know END SPOILERS. A sour note to end on.