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Blood of Elves Mass Market Paperback – May 1, 2009
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"The universe of Sapkowski's The Witcher is one of the most detailed and best-explored in modern fantasy, offering endless opportunities for fresh ideas ... Complex character relationships enrich this already complex world; this is the sort of series fantasy fans will cherish."―B&N
"One of the best and most interesting fantasy series I've ever read. Though it functions well as adventure fiction, it has added depth and value as satire and commentary on fantasy literature ... Sapkowski is a genuine stylist."―Nerds of a Feather
"Like a complicated magic spell, a Sapkowski novel is a hodgepodge of fantasy, intellectual discourse, and dry humor. Recommended."―Time
"Like Mieville and Gaiman, [Sapkowski] takes the old and makes it new ... fresh take on genre fantasy."―Foundation on The Last Wish
"A breath of fresh air in a well-worn genre. Don't miss it!"― Fantasy Book Review
"Sapkowski has a phenomenal gift for narrative, inventing sensational events, creating a suggestive mood, and building up the suspense along with a dazzling, slightly cynical sense of humor."―Jacek Sieradzki, Polityka on The Last Wish
"Sapkowski's The Last Wish is a great collection of short stories centered around a witcher, Geralt - a rare sorcerous breed who hunts down the monstrous but is feared by the innocent. With a wondrous mix of Eastern European folklore and myth, beautiful princesses, mischievous demons and where all is not as it seems, The Last Wish is a great read - perfect for dipping into or just reading cover to cover, as I did."―Waterstones
"It is [his] world-weariness combined with his battle-honed powers that make Geralt such an interesting character. Here's hoping The Last Wish is merely the opening chapter in his English language adventures."―Edge
"I really, really enjoyed this book ... None of the characters in Sapkowski's world are black or white; they are all shades of grey, including Geralt and the monsters."―The Deckled Edge
"Sapkowski is very good at creating interesting, imaginative characters with unusual levels of depth to them ... The Last Wish is an enjoyable book full of stories both melancholy and comic."―The Wertzone
About the Author
Andrzej Sapkowski was born in 1948 in Poland. He studied economy and business, but the success of his fantasy cycle about the sorcerer Geralt of Rivia turned him into a bestselling writer. He is now one of Poland's most famous and successful authors.
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I'm really just writing this review so people don't fall into the same trap that I did and skip over Swords of Destiny before reading this one. Amazon has this labelled as Book 2 and has Swords of Destiny labelled as Book 4. That is because Swords of Destiny was published later (the English version at least), but in terms of the story this is the order I would recommend reading them in: Last Wish, Swords of Destiny, Blood of Elves, Time of Contempt, Tower of Swallows, and Lady of the Lake (coming out in 2017). The Last Wish and Swords of Destiny are collections of short stories, but the rest all follow a specific story arc so it is really better to at least read the rest in the order that I mentioned. Hope that helps!
Both as a fantasy reader and Witcher fan buy I can safely say this book is amazing.
-Characters are very numerous, yet they are some of the most defined characters I've ever read in a novel.
-The world the book is set in is full of wonder and mysteries
-The pacing is quick and the Witcher is always on the move.
-There is adult content and violence but the author doesn't go out of the way to shove it in your face like other novels I've read.
-The writing style feels a little strange but that's probably because the book has been translated from another language.
For people who haven't played the video game and are new to the series this book is a well paced action/adventure/even kind of drama novel that revolves around a wanderer called a Geralt of Rivia. A Witcher, or a professional monster bounty hunter who kills evil monsters(there are good monsters too!) if the price is right.
For people who have played the video games, there isn't any overlap story wise(you aren't reading the video game), you will find a great deal of back story and how many of the people you meet playing as Geralt aren't just random characters thrown in by a developer but people who have a long history with the Witcher and have had purpose in Geralt's past.
Much like the poor editing, the presentation of the books is poor as well. They're rather ugly, all things considered - the artwork on the front appears to be artwork from the second Witcher game, and ugly artwork at that. The cover of Blood of Elves is blatantly artwork depicting a tortured Geralt from Witcher 2. Combined with the red binding, they're just an eyesore. Also, the paperback books come in different sizes and look terrible sitting on a shelf together.
And thus officially begins the story of the witcher in Andrzej Sapkowski’s first book of his 'Witcher' series, 'Blood of Elves'. The story “A Question of Price” told by Geralt in The Last Wish had the Queen of Cintra, Calanthe, promising her granddaughter, the Child Surprise, to Geralt. The very end of The Last Wish left readers with Geralt leaving Nenneke and Melitele’s Temple in search of the Child Surprise, for he had been waiting for her to be born. After a siege on her home in Cintra, the Child Surprise, Princess Cirilla, is found by Geralt. Young, alone, and afraid, Geralt takes Ciri under his protection and destiny begins to work its magic.
What a way to begin a fantasy series. With the plot being about a child of destiny and this child being destined to someone else and that someone else being said child’s protector, one would think the story is a typical, cliché, and predictable fantasy story. On the contrary, 'Blood of Elves' is incredibly unique and is in no way predictable. The first in the 'Witcher' series is, like its predecessor: well-written, action-packed, and humorous.
With the premise stating that Geralt and Ciri were destined to be together, it is great to begin with the witcher and the princess. Their relationship is not that of lovers, but rather as a father and daughter and it works beautifully! Because of destiny, Geralt is thrust into the role of not only protector, but of father and it is one he never thought he would have. Same goes for Ciri: she was very young when she lost her parents and Geralt is not only her guardian, but a father she doesn’t remember having. One would think before reading that, due to Geralt’s personality in 'The Last Wish', he may find Ciri a nuisance; however, the scenes with them together are wonderful to read. They get along very well, joke around with each other, and Geralt has taught Ciri to defend herself, though he still keeps a sharp eye on her. This is a pleasant surprise for readers who assumed the aforementioned.
There is a wonderful blend of serious action and witty comedy throughout the story. Sapkowski improved on writing his battle scenes, making it easier for the reader to imagine how Geralt and the others are fighting. Dandelion is still as humorous as ever and a new character is introduced that is just as funny: Triss Merigold. Triss is a sorceress like Yennefer and met Geralt through her as well. When she travels to find Geralt at Kaer Morhen, the home and training grounds of the witchers, she is able to meet Ciri there. Geralt and a handful of other witchers have been training the young princess on how to fight and defend herself; however, these men have forgotten a very important fact about Ciri that Triss was not shy to remind them about: that she is a teenage girl blossoming into womanhood. The exchange of dialog between Triss and the witchers during this explanation is clever and a crack up for readers to read.
The only true downside about 'Blood of Elves' is the length of the chapters. There are only seven chapters, but each one spans roughly about 50 pages each. This makes it difficult to pick a stopping point, whether a reader wants to stop or not; however, there are gaps between the events that happen where readers can stop if they need to, which Sapkowski probably strategically placed knowing how long he would make each chapter. And, if readers ever forget while reading what the title of the book is, do not fear. Sapkowski refers to the title many times. The first time it is mentioned is in the first 20 pages, for of the different names given to Ciri (child of destiny, the Child Surprise), she is also called a child of Elder Blood, the blood of elves. Also within these first few pages, much is explained about destiny, Ciri, and how Geralt and Ciri were destined to be together, so anyone who has not read The Last Wish will be caught up on what is happening and those who have read it will be reminded.
'Blood of Elves' is a beautifully written book and a wonderful way to officially begin the 'Witcher' Series. Every turn of the page offers events and happenings that will make it difficult to put the book down, disregarding the long chapters and the difficulty in finding a stopping point. Readers will admire Geralt more as a hero than he was in The Last Wish and will fall in love with his father-daughter relationship with Ciri. It is a book that one can start with if one is curious about the series, but the series would be much more enjoyable and easier to follow if one has read the prequel first. Due to its well-written prose and the large world Sapkowski created, one will immediately want to pick up the sequel, 'The Time of Contempt', shortly after finishing.