This is book two in the main series of Witcher books. What’s still fascinating in this series to me is how much the Watcher, Geralt of Rivia, does not factor into the book. Because I’ve played Witcher 3 and in the game he’s not only the main character, but you’re literally playing as him, this has a little disconnect with the books. The game does intimate repeatedly that the Witcher is a kind of free-lance or free agent, and that larger events are always happening around him.
We are still in the lead up to the war between Nilfgaard and the Northern Kingdoms, and Geralt is acting as a kind of go-between in some important ways. We also have Ciri coming into her own a little more and maybe making some choices about her life where she hasn’t been allowed to otherwise, and like a lot of people who are finally able to make some choices on their own for the first time ever, well, they’re not always the best.
The book is interesting in structure too. A LOT happens, but almost all of it is based in political and espionage maneuvering, so it almost feels like very little happens. It’s also a book (and maybe a series) in which most of the scene feel very much like it’s a conversation happening at all times and some small attendant movements at the same time. This can make for a slight run-in between various scenes. (Like things blend together a little too much). Alas.
And additionally, as I have felt after finishing the other three books I’ve read, I am still interested in reading the rest of the series, but not without a break.