I’ve been playing Witcher 3 for a month now, with a hundred hours or so clocked in, and simultaneously I started reading the saga again. Two volumes of short stories, arguably the best part, and now I’m in a forth novel, with one more to go. Than another short story volume published recently, and a couple stories from Maladie collection (now wholly about Geralt and his world).
The whole series, probably in its finite form by now, goes as follows:
- Sword of Destiny
- The Last Wish
- Blood of Elves
- Time of Contempt
- Baptism of Fire
- The Swallow’s Tower
- Lady of the Lake
- Season of Storms
and Something Ends, Something Begins/Maladie anthology that includes some Witcher stories.
1-6 are published in English by now, with 7 to follow in 2017, and I can only assume the rest later on, it seems to have some popularity, at least among numerous fans of the game. Knowing the books changes one’s perspective on certain game events, I can tell you that. Forums are full of people changing their loyalties and swearing to re-play to aim for different outcome.
For certain, my gameplay has always been influenced by my book-based preferences. Always sceptical about Triss Merigold, going out of my way to help certain friends, and supporting non-humans whenever possible
(That doesn’t mean there are not evil elves in the books, it’s a world even more morally complex than the one in the games. But I have my allegiances…)
and my hate towards Nilfgaard is strong, I will be very disappointed if Emhyr survives my adventure with Witcher 3. My favourite gameplay video shows Geralt dispatching a battalion of Nilfgaardian troops 🙂
Back to the books though…
I enjoy them immensely. I find myself giving them slightly better scores than I did when I joined Goodreads a couple years ago. To be hones, I’m yet to get to the parts I actively hated originally, so the final judgement here won’t be 10/10, but I believe the series aged well. It is best understood with some familiarity with the regional (Central/Eastern European) context – we will try to write more about it in our review – but it will stay in my personal canon of great fantasy.
It’s far more than your usual sword-and-sorcery adventure. Sapkowski touches some profound topics with sensitivity and insight. Often with subtlety, so it’s not what many readers expect, when they read if it was games’ tie-in series. The games offer more than a thoughtless slaughter of monsters, and the books require readers’ attention and thinking.
And it goes together so well with the games, and the comics…