Hello, everyone! Thank you for stopping by, and welcome to the first installment in what Candice and I hope to make into a regular blog column here on the site where we can talk about the books we are currently reading. My first foray into all of this will be to talk about the Witcher books by Andrzej Sapkowski, which I have recently become obsessed with.
This series follows the adventures and misadventures of the titular Witcher, Geralt of Rivia. A Witcher is a monster hunter who has been trained since early childhood to become the ultimate killing machine--his forced mutations, baseline magical abilities, and sword skills all make him far more qualified than the average human to hunt vampires, dragons, or whatever other unnatural creature of darkness assails your village. Geralt is a refreshing character in the fantasy genre, and his constant sarcasm and how completely unimpressed he usually is with power or wealth really place into stark contrast how obsessed many corners of the fantasy genre have become with monarchs and courtly politics.
That is not to say, however, that none of that is present here in Sapkowski's complex world inspired largely by Eastern European folktales in addition to the usual Tolkien-esque brushstrokes present in almost all fantasy. That is easily seen in the odd accumulation of friends and allies Geralt carries around, from powerful sorceresses such as Yennefer of Vengerberg and Triss Merigold, to the bard and poet Dandelion, the steadfastly loyal dwarf Zoltan, and young Cirilla, the exiled princess and child of an ancient prophecy from deep within the world's lore.
Though my first taste of these stories came from the highly successful video game series out of Poland that has probably gained many American readers for Sapkowski's work, the best place to begin with Geralt's adventures is with the first collection of short stories about him, entitled The Last Wish. I'm currently on the second novel in the series, The Time of Contempt, and I plan on pushing on through and reading all I can get my hands on.
That said, what do you all think of this? Any other Witcher fans out there? Anyone who might now be curious about the setting? And what are YOU reading right now? Let us know in the comments below.
Jeremy DeFatta is the co-founder and co-owner of Blue Spider Press/Blue Spider Books. While his genre interests sometimes seem to outnumber the stars, fantasy, especially unique and well-drawn fantasy, will always hold a special place in his heart.
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