I didn’t find this book quite as exciting as The Last Wish which blew me away, but Sword of Destiny was still an absolute pleasure to read.
I think one of the issues I took with this collection of short stories were that the stories themselves were not all that short. Part of how I got hooked on The Last Wish was that I could easily read one story a night before bed and feel excited each day for a new adventure. This wasn’t the case for Sword of Destiny and the pacing in the first couple of stories was definitely slower, not to say that any of them were bad, I enjoyed every one of them.
The romance between Geralt and Yennefer also takes several complicated turns, making things feel that much more real to me. There are plenty of books where the main characters fall in love and everything is just great, but anyone that’s been in an actual relationship before knows that things aren’t always so happy and easy. People fight. People hurt each other. People do the wrong things, sometimes even break up for a while. I appreciate how complex the love is between Geralt and Yen, like a small slow burning fire that needs to be stoked regularly, as opposed to the roaring infernos we’re all used to having shoved in our faces.
“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.”
Besides the romance, I loved how we are finally introduced to one of the other major characters in The Witcher series, Ciri. I don’t want to give too much away, but the Ciri stories ended up being my favorite of the collection and I’m rather excited to continue the series and see how things play out for the destined child.
Fairy tales also make an appearance in this book as they did in The Last Wish. I’ve always had a deep love of fairy tales and I loved the slightly more humorous retelling of The Little Mermaid. The other most notable fairy tale was The Wawel Dragon, a famous Polish fairy tale that I found fascinating. Sapkowski weaves these stories in clever ways within the background of Geralt’s story and I just wish there were more short stories.
I can’t say it enough – I honestly really recommend this series for the fantasy lovers out there. The Witcher series is a gem.
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.