I’m reading Tower of Swallows right now. There’s definitely something appealing about them, but it’s hard to put my finger on what it is, because they’re also definitely broken and random and weird in many ways. Oddly, the games (1 at least) seem to have managed to absolutely capture this feeling of the books.
I enjoyed the short story book that I started with. I liked the first 1 or 2 of the series, but then the 3rd… hang on, I’ll just put this here because the reading order of the books is confusing, even now:
The Last Wish (short story collection)
Sword of Destiny (short story collection)
1- Blood of Elves (beginning of novels)
2- Time of Contempt
3- Baptism of Fire
4- The Tower of Swallows
5- Lady of the Lake
So, as I was saying, novels 1 and 2 were pretty good, and I cared about what happened to Geralt, Ciri, Trish, etc…
Then novel 3 went well off the rails. Some bits were quite good, but large parts of it were Geralt and random characters wandering aimlessly and unsuccessfully around for unclear reasons, making bad decisions and getting pretty much nowhere.
I’m never quite sure with Sapkowski how much he’s sending up tropes, so I half wonder if he’s taking the piss out of the usual fantasy trope of the heroes going on an epic journey.
Novel 4 (which I’m on now) seems to have gotten back on track (it seems to start with a summary of what was going on at the end of book 3, as if realizing that it was clear as mud), but he has again chosen to muddy the waters by using an overly complex narrative structure and by adding new party members and sidetracks even at this point.
I really need to see if there is a map… so I can work out what’s going on and where everyone is relative to each other.
His conversations still have these weird tics, like where characters will make dramatic declarations in a heroic fashion, in the way that heroes tend to do, and then change their minds a few pages later.