Sword of Destiny – The Witcher #0.7
Continuing my journey through The Witcher fantasy series, I picked up Sword of Destiny. This is a prequel to the main series published by Andrzej Sapkowski. It is really a collection of short stories but provides a lot of interesting backstory to the main character Geralt of Rivia.
More interesting, we are introduced to a young princess named Ciri.
Cirilla Fiona Elen Riannon, aka Ciri, is a precocious princess that the Witcher finds in Brokilon, a forest protected by Dryads. These guardians of the woods are ruthless to trespassers, but Geralt has relatively free passage.
The relationship that develops between Ciri and Geralt makes the book. He carries her “pick-a-back” through the forest and says “She was warm and smelt like a wet sparrow.” He tells her a bedtime story, one she doesn’t immediately understand but will use later.
I’m excited to see how this develops further in future books.
Sword of Destiny is full of discussion about whether the characters are following a destiny or not. Geralt believes the only thing you are destined for is death. Ciri shows him otherwise.
The Witcher is billed as a “merciless assassin” trained to kill with unnatural skills. While his skills are amazing, he is not simply a murderer for hire. He is so much more. He will kill monsters of the fantasy, fairy tale sort. But more often he dispatches real monsters: humans.
Sapkowski’s writing style is rich without being pompous. He is a master at leaving pieces out that the reader can imagine and put their own thoughts too. He excels at showing, not telling.
The stories are full of mystical wonder. It has bards, sea monster-warriors, a mermaid, sorcerers, and much more. Even people only loosely interested in fantasy or fairy tales would love this book!
The Last Wish (the first collection of stories) was a bit more cohesive. But Sword of Destiny grabbed my attention throughout and settled it for me that I must read the whole series.