“It is easy to kill with a bow, girl. How easy it is to release the bowstring and think, it is not I, it is the arrow. The blood of that boy is not on my hands. The arrow killed him, not I. But the arrow does not dream anything in the night.”
TITLE & AUTHOR: Sword of Destiny by Andrzej Sapkowski
SERIES: The Witcher, #0.75
GENRE: Fantasy/Short Stories/Retellings
FIRST PUBLISHED : May 21st 1992
MY RATING: 4/5
Geralt is a witcher, a man whose magic powers, enhanced by long training and a mysterious elixir, have made him a brilliant fighter and a merciless assassin. Yet he is no ordinary murderer: his targets are the multifarious monsters and vile fiends that ravage the land and attack the innocent. He roams the country seeking assignments, but gradually comes to realise that while some of his quarry are unremittingly vile, vicious grotesques, others are the victims of sin, evil or simple naivety.
In this collection of short stories, following the adventures of the hit collection THE LAST WISH, join Geralt as he battles monsters, demons and prejudices alike.
After reading The Last Wish, the next Witcher book in chronological order was Sword of Destiny, so I still haven’t started on the novels, but I will soon! I liked this collection as much as I liked the first one, and again I recognized many of these stories from the show and as retellings of well-known fairy tales. What I really liked compared to the previous collection is that we get more of Ciri and Yennefer here, because I really love them. There are six stories in this collection and I’ll talk a bit about each one.
The Bounds of Reason
This is a story that was pretty much retold in the Netflix series, with a couple of differences. Geralt meets a man escorted by two warrior women, who offers him a job of killing a mythical golden dragon. It turns out they’re not the only one on the hunt, because a band of reavers, a group of dwarves and a certain sorceress want a piece of it too, for their own secret reasons.
A Shard of Ice
This story explores the relationship between Geralt and Yennefer a bit more. Here they even manage to live together for a while before Yen’s true nature comes out again and drives a wedge between the two of them, this time in the form of a sorcerer.
The funniest story of the lot, mostly because it’s an adventure of Geralt and the ever funny Dandelion, but also because if features a mimic, who does some crazy things. It takes over the shape and life of a merchant and messes his life up, and it’s up to Geralt to suffer the consequences and clean up the mess. This mimic is nothing like the one in the show, that one was glamorized too much.
A Little Sacrifice
This is a loose retelling of The Little Mermaid, and another one of Geralt’s lady lovers shows up. The story shows that Geralt is incapable of loving anyone but Yen, even though he won’t admit he’s capable of love in the first place. A bit pathetic story, but it’s interesting because of the side story (Of the sea witch).
The Sword of Destiny
In this story Geralt and Ciri meet for the first time, both of them not knowing she’s his promised child. They go to the Brokilon forest, where the dryads live, and this is loosely translated to screen with Ciri alone going there, but I believe we get a more meaningful message in the book, because Ciri has a chance to stay with the dryads and lose her memory, but instead she chooses Geralt, not knowing their destiny, and that this event sets it in motion. Geralt is absent from this event in the series, which is too bad if you ask me, because it seems this particular event sets the whole saga in motion.
This story continues right after the previous one, after Geralt and Ciri part ways, Geralt gets wounded and ends up getting treated by Yen. She yammers on how they can’t be together even though they’re destined to, but that he can still keep his date with destiny if he goes to Cintra. This is set in a different chronology in the series, because it is here in this last story that Cintra gets destroyed, Ciri manages to escape, and in the end destiny brings her to Geralt, while in the series it’s set over a much longer period of time.
Even though Something More is the last story, and the end of this collection, it also looks a lot more like a beginning of something, and I truly hope the real adventures are about to start with Blood of Elves, the first Witcher novel, and that I’ll get a more cohesive, epic story, which will end up a five star read for me.
I’m really excited to truly start reading this adventure, after getting a good taste of it through these two collections. I really, really loved the Netflix series, and so far the books kind of fall short. I realize this is pure sacrilege for anyone who read first and then saw the show, but that is just my point of view after reading these stories. The novels could be much better, and I honestly hope they will.