I don’t think I’ve been this glad to finish a book in a very long time… and it was all for the wrong reasons. I think The Witcher: Blood of Elves is probably the most disappointing book I’ve read to date. How can the show be so good and make so much sense, but the source material have me so lost?
This book was written far differently to anything I’ve read before, and at first I tried to find the positive, and respect that this could be a translation issue or the writing style of a non-English speaking country. However by the end I came to realise it was just poorly written.
It took about 250 extremely long pages for anything interesting to happen, bringing the book to a decent pace, before falling off again 50 pages later. If you asked me what this book was about, and I hadn’t watched the show, I wouldn’t be able to tell you.
The book was speech dominated in that most of the words that filled each page was preceded by and ended with quotation marks. Now this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but when quite literally nothing is happening, you tend to get bored real quickly. Because of this I think a skimmed a good 70% of the book.
Then we get to the chapters. How does a 300+ page book only have 7 chapters! Yes, you read that correctly, only 7 chapters… With about 50 pages a chapter you can see where I struggled and got frustrated. God was this an effort to read.
But despite al this, nothing compared to the disappointment of the characters that we love from the show, in their original form. Yennefer was only introduced at the end of the book, in chapter 7, and barely had a supporting role, despite being a supposed integral character to the plot. The plot which was non-existent throughout this novel. Ciri’s importance as the child of surprise and being of elder blood was played down to a point where had I not seen the show, I wouldn’t have realised how important she was. And Geralt, the titular character, had very little page time, bar a great appearance in chapter 6, and was given no chance to develop (which was the same as all the other main characters). Then of course you have a smattering of all these other characters who I couldn’t name because they were so insignificant to a non-existent plot, who just left me bored to tears. I did however enjoy Dandelion, the poet/bard. He was a small ray of light in an otherwise extremely cloudy day.
I must take a small slice of responsibility in this failed read as I did read this book out of order. You see there are two preceding novels before Blood of Elves (book 1 in the series) which are in fact not prequels – as I assumed – but stand alone world builders. I discovered this towards the end of my read, which has led me to believe that had I started with these books things may have been different.
Now here comes the tough part. Would I read this novel again? Absolutely not. However, given that I purchased the entire box set, I feel obliged to give these books another chance. This is ultimately because of my stupidity in skipping two books, and in buying the entire box set, coupled with a decent chapter six and a great final sentence which made me think, I wonder what will happen next?
Will it be a mistaken continuing this series? Probably, but I’m willing to take the risk because of a few decent moments. I am however going to shelve the series for now as I need a break from what was a very trying month of reading, and I will read something else until I can muster the strength to go a second round with The Witcher.