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Publisher's Summary

The Witcher returns in this action-packed sequel to The Tower of Swallows, in the New York Times best-selling series that inspired The Witcher video games.

After walking through the portal in the Tower of Swallows while narrowly escaping death, Ciri finds herself in a completely different world...an Elven world. She is trapped, with no way out. Time does not seem to exist, and there are no obvious borders or portals to cross back into her home world.

But this is Ciri, the child of prophecy, and she will not be defeated. She knows she must escape to finally rejoin the Witcher, Geralt, and his companions - and also to try to conquer her worst nightmare. Leo Bonhart, the man who chased, wounded, and tortured Ciri, is still on her trail. And the world is still at war.

Translated from the original Polish by David French.

©2017 Andrzej Sapkowski (P)2017 Hachette Audio

Featured Article: 16 of the Best Fantasy Authors Ever


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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A satisfying conclusion to an epic series

So, after so long I've finally completed this saga of The Witcher novels. There is one other Witcher novel in print, but unfortunately it has no English translation, but that should be happening next year.

The thing that I was worried about with much of this series is that I had certain questions about the lore of The Witcher series (based on only having played The Witcher 3 PC game before) and I wanted to know if those questions were going to get answered. I've since learned that some of the questions I have were part of The Witcher video game series and not the books, so I'll be revisiting those, but this series did answer other questions I had about the lore. For one thing, Ciri's parentage is finally explained, and you learn about the nature of her powers to go between worlds and why it's so damn important to everyone.

Looking back now on the novels compared to the video games, I can see just how much CD Projeckt Red differed from the books with their games. The characters and their personalities are all intact and absolutely spot on to the way they're portrayed in the novels, but certain aspects of the world do seem to be portrayed differently in the games as opposed to the books.

For this book though, as an end to the series, it sort of has a long, slow burn beginning, and then culminates in this gigantic fiery clash about 3/4 of the way through. I was actually surprised that this seemed to be the climax of the novel because when I was listening to it, the novel still had six more hours of audio left to go, and I thought (there's no way they're wrapping things up already.)

The way it rolls out is after the big epic confrontation at that point in the book, (and it really is a quite satisfying climax) the book switches gears for, what I consider to be a rather lengthy epilogue which takes up about the last quarter of the book.

The major plot points of the saga, that is Ciri's parentage, destiny, safety, etc. are all addressed and wrapped up rather neatly. And if you're wondering, yes there is a confrontation with Vilgefortz and other big bad guys in the series.

Also, I must say, that Sapkowski's habit of having various narrators and perspectives actually seems to make more sense in this one, with the various narrators actually tying into the main plot overall.

Overall, this is a very satisfying conclusion to the series. Now, this is a spoiler, so watch out, but one thing I do want to mention is that at the very, very end of the novel, there is a very ambiguous section about the fate of Geralt and Yennifer. Now, if you consider the games to be part of the overall Witcher lore (which I do) then it's not as impactful, but if you consider only the books to be canon, then the final section of the novel would probably infuriate you, because it's this incredibly ambiguous sequence, which leaves the end fate of Geralt and Yennifer completely up in the air.


Much like The Witcher 3 which got me started on this whole franchise, I can say that this book series has been a wild ride. It's drawn me in even more, and now I'm playing the other Witcher video games that I hadn't considered before, in order to delve deeper into the lore, and also just because I don't want to leave the world of The Witcher just yet either.

41 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Doesn't Deliver On It's Promises

I'm normally a more positive reviewer, but maybe the disappointment of how Lightbringer ended (my last read) has put me in a bad reading "mood". I was recommended the Witcher series as a surefire cure-all for my Lightbringer let-down, but the 7 book Witcher series left me feeling pretty underwhelmed.

THE GOOD

Writing Style: I will give the author this: he experiments quite a bit with telling a story from multiple viewpoints, often jumping around in time while doing so, and I acknowledge that there is some real storytelling brilliance taking place here. However, I'm not sure the author successfully balanced his experimentation with good storytelling. Too much was sacrificed for the narrative shenanigans in my opinion. I feel the author cared more about trying to make it the most epic fantasy story ever written than he did about how entertaining/compelling the story actually was.

Strong Female Characters: they truly abound in this series, although Ciri definitely has a strong Mary Sue thing going on, and honestly her character never matures throughout the entire series. And it only took her a few months of training with the Witchers to become one of the most badass duelists to ever live?? A little hard to believe, even with her being the "Elder Blood" and all.

Respect for the Genre: This entire series is a love letter to the Fantasy genre as a whole, and there were many callbacks and homages to classic Fantasy series like LOTR and Wheel of Time. There were likely others that went over my head, and I appreciate the respect shown to the genre. The series itself is straight out of a classic Dungeons and Dragons players guide, with the author cramming in every Fantasy trope under the sun, and often giving them an interesting and original new spin. Kudos for creative new uses for genre cliches.

THE BAD

Character Development: The lack of character focus is brought home most sharply when comparing the two prequel novels with the main 5 book sequence. The prequels are laser focused on Geralt and Yenneffer which is good because otherwise those two characters are poorly developed in the main 5 book series. Ciri to me remains the only truly well developed character in the main series.

Too many characters: The author seems to have adopted a "the more the better" approach to characters, so we end up following dozens upon dozens of characters for short periods so as to offer a slightly different viewpoint of the story. The only problem is you don't care about these characters at all, and 20 to 30 of them could have been cut in favor of telling the story through the viewpoint of the characters we DO care about.

The Bloat: due to the authors focus on epic storytelling structure over well developed characters, there is probably 2 books worth of bloat in the 7 book series. Percentage wise, I'd say it's about on par with Wheel of Time (not dissing WoT, it's my fave, but it could have been 3 books shorter). This series really needed some tough love from an editor, and there were long stretches, mostly books 5 & 6, that were painful to get through.

Grimdark Tone aka rape, rape, and more rape: While this series isn't quite as grim as some grimdark series, the threat of hideous death and torture is ever-present, and all of the women in the series have to deal with constant rape threats. Yes, that's supposedly how it was back then, blah blah blah, grimdark is realistic, blah blah blah, but can we please find some other means of threatening our female protagonists?

Lack of Exciting Scenes: There is just a literal lack of exciting scenes in this series. You know how in Wheel of Time it's a slow build at the end of every book, until it's like a giant fireworks explosion in your brain? There's none of that here. There are occasional exciting scenes, but mostly the series is on cruise control set at 35mph.

THE UGLY

The Ending: I have several issues with the ending.

1) The final book tries to awkwardly wedge the Arthurian legends into the plot, with no real reason other than I assume it was the only major fantasy trope not used by the author, so he felt he'd go for bonus points? I doesn't work at all, and just felt tacked on.

2) The author did the most frustrating thing that authors love to do: give you a vague and unsatisfying ending because that's supposed to be more "artsy". We are left wondering exactly who is alive and who is dead, where the characters are, and of course they can't all be together and happy for some reason that isn't explained.

Overall, this seems to now be an “important” Fantasy series now, and I'm glad I read it, but I doubt I'll ever reread it. It’s not without charm, but it's just too much of a slog, and the ending is unsatisfying.

15 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

This story, while expertly narrated, wanders badly

I loved the Witcher game so I thought I'd try the books. First and foremost I thought the narrator did a sterling job. The story is a great one but it wanders like a drunk at Mardi Gras. Trying to keep track of the characters, the story lines and the time bouncing was extremely difficult for me. If it wasnt for the narrator I would have put it down.

15 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Slow motion train wreck

Is there anything you would change about this book?

Overall I loved the series, but this book concluding the series was very disappointing. The story just slowly fizzled out. It didn't conclude so much as pieces slowly fell off until it was done.
The author resorts to not completing sentences as a replacement for plot. While flashbacks and multiple perspectives can flesh out a story, there were so many timeline shifts, backward, forward, and just cutting off in the middle, that it got really hard to follow at times, and totally lost momentum. Chopping up stories, and even sentences is not an excuse for not writing plot.
I thought the series was building so well, it was frustrating watching it soar into a gooney bird landing.

8 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful and Bittersweet

As a huge witcher fan, this was bittersweet to end but sooooo good!!!!! at times the dialogue can drag on but it all comes together, you really need to pay attention to the story while you listen. Highly recommended!

7 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

I don't know

For me this has to be the worst of the Witcher book. Worst not meaning a bad read but the most disjointed and difficult to follow. None the less a good end.

15 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

More interested inWorld building than storytelling

This book was a real disappointment especially, after the great books that started the series. no more do we follow the adventures of geralt of Rivia loan Witcher in a magical world. now we're introduced to random new characters and then presumed to care deeply about their fates two chapters later.

6 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Novels Take a Nosedive - Not Worth Investing Time

I absolutely loved the short story collections. But the novel's are not worth starting. The first 2 novels are pretty good but the series gets darker, uglier, and meanders... a lot. I don't mind it when authors jump between characters. But in the last few books of the series, the story is constantly jumping between random, inconsequential characters for, what, artistic affect? It's pretty bad. It's so bad in the last novel (Lady of the Lake) that theres hardly any time with the actual main characters at all. I could've skipped whole chapters at a time and not really lost anything. And to top it off, it's a bad ending. I hated the fate of Geralt's company, as well as the fate of Geralt and Yennifer. And the way the author starts writing Geralt, I start not liking him much either, which makes me sad because I loved him in the beginning. Theres a lot of evil acts described in the book as well that I think were unnecessary and distracted from the enjoyment of the series. I only finished because I wanted to know how it ended after I had invested so much time but it was so hard to finish. I'm glad I'm done. Overall, I'd recommend the novel collections (The Last Wish & Sword of Destiny). But as tempting as it will be to start the novels, I do not recommend them at all.

5 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Good series, disappointing ending.

I love fantasy books & have become a huge fan of The Witcher in recent years through the games. Then when I heard about the TV series coming out based in the books I figured I'd finally give them a shot. Overall have loved the series, but unfortunately this final installment/ending left me extremely disappointed, to the point where I found it almost a chore to finish.

I agree with many of the more negative reviews on here, the story was incredibly disjointed & all over the place. The pointless Arthurian legend stuff, the constant jumping around, the random time skips, the huge amount of additional/needless characters I didn't care about, the incredibly drawn-out "fillers" with said needless characters (the main characters are maybe in only half the book, it seemed like hours sometimes before the story finally got back to them...), & then of course the ending...the ending left a sour taste in my mouth indeed.

I felt it was too quick, rushed, random, totally convoluted, & left way too much unexplained. As another reviewer previously said "they fit a 5 min ending into a 20 hour book". I was dumbfounded & even upset when the realization set in that this was how it was all going to end after 7 books & so many hours invested. I felt like I was left hanging much more so than having closure. I found myself doing the "who, what, when, where, why" thing regularly for several days once I finished it.

Loved the series up to this last book. Pretty disappointing.

Oh! The narrator was excellent though! Peter Kenny did a fantastic job for the series!

5 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Terrible

The story is disjointed and hard to fallow, it has almost nothing to do with Geralt, Ciri or Yennifer. 90% of the story focus' on minor characters that where introduced in the first book or short stories, and events that have nothing to do with anything. It seems that Sapkowski ran out of ideas for the main protagonists and focus of all the books and short stories and so cobbled together a bunch of half thought out boring short stories that nobody would be interested in by themselves to pad out the the book. You can easily skip hours and loose nothing of the story, in fact if you only read the parts that involve Geralt, Ciri or Yennifer you would get a better experience and save yourself 15+ hours of boring padding.

22 people found this helpful