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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.

In this collection of short stories, following the adventures of the hit collection The Last Wish, join Geralt as he battles monsters, demons and prejudices alike...

The anthology is composed of several stories, loosely linked in a chronological order:
The Bounds of Reason (Granica możliwości)
A Shard of Ice (Okruch lodu)
Eternal Flame (Wieczny ogień)
A Little Dedication (Trochę poświęcenia)
The Sword of Destiny (Miecz przeznaczenia)
Something More (Coś więcej)

384 pages, Paperback

First published May 21, 1992

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About the author

Andrzej Sapkowski

198 books15.4k followers
Andrzej Sapkowski, born June 21, 1948 in Łódź, is a Polish fantasy writer. Sapkowski studied economics, and before turning to writing, he had worked as a senior sales representative for a foreign trade company. His first short story, The Witcher (Wiedźmin), was published in Fantastyka, Poland's leading fantasy literary magazine, in 1986 and was enormously successful both with readers and critics. Sapkowski has created a cycle of tales based on the world of The Witcher, comprising three collections of short stories and five novels. This cycle and his many other works have made him one of the best-known fantasy authors in Poland in the 1990s.

The main character of The Witcher (alternative translation: The Hexer) is Geralt, a mutant assassin who has been trained since childhood to hunt down and destroy monsters. Geralt exists in an ambiguous moral universe, yet manages to maintain his own coherent code of ethics. At the same time cynical and noble, Geralt has been compared to Raymond Chandler's signature character Philip Marlowe. The world in which these adventures take place is heavily influenced by Slavic mythology.

Sapkowski has won five Zajdel Awards, including three for short stories "Mniejsze zło" (Lesser Evil) (1990), "Miecz przeznaczenia" (Sword of Destiny) (1992) and "W leju po bombie" (In a Bomb Crater) (1993), and two for the novels "Krew elfów" (Blood of Elves) (1994) and "Narrenturm" (2002). He also won the Spanish Ignotus Award, best anthology, for The Last Wish in 2003, and for "Muzykanci" (The Musicians), best foreign short story, same year.

In 1997, Sapkowski won the prestigious Polityka's Passport award, which is awarded annually to artists who have strong prospects for international success.

In 2001, a Television Series based on the Witcher cycle was released in Poland and internationally, entitled Wiedźmin (The Hexer). A film by the same title was compiled from excerpts of the television series but both have been critical and box office failures.

Sapkowski's books have been translated into Czech, Russian, Lithuanian, German, Spanish, French, Ukrainian, and Portuguese. An English translation of The Last Wish short story collection was published by Gollancz in 2007.

The Polish game publisher, CD Projekt, created a role-playing PC game based on this universe, called The Witcher, which was released in October 2007. There is also a mobile version of the game which has been created by Breakpoint Games and is being published by Hands-On Mobile in Western Europe,Latin America and Asia Pacific.

The English translation of Sapkowski's novel Blood of Elves won the David Gemmell Legends Award in 2009.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 9,085 reviews
Profile Image for James Tivendale.
310 reviews1,326 followers
July 31, 2019
Much like The Last Wish before, Sword of Destiny is a collection of short stories following a talented witcher called Geralt of Rivia. Although you can start the series with Blood of Elves which is where the full-length novels commence, I can't recommend enough that even though a handful of these short stories are hit-and-miss, that they will add considerable depth to the future narrative arcs.

The Last Wish featured mostly isolated stories with the Witcher tackling a certain monstrosity for a set payment. He travels around the world to where his peculiar killing and magic techniques are needed to tackle a problem and individuals will hire him. In the first book, apart from a couple of brief interludes, there were no recurring characters. It was solely about a certain adventure at one end of the world and then another a thousand miles away. Sword of Destiny features a handful of main characters from the series who become more fleshed out as there presence recurs. Geralt's friend and lady loving bard Dandelion, his mysterious sorceress love interest Yennefer and a potential child of destiny called Ciri. If you've played The Witcher computer games I imagine you a familiar with these characters, the sort of missions set and the monsters the Witcher is assigned to eradicate, and how beautiful and vast this created world is.

I found the stories in The Last Wish more consistent but two or three of my favourites are from this entry. If you decide to read the short story collections first I'd truly recommend starting with The Last Wish and not Sword of Destiny. Two stories in The Witcher #1, one including Yennefer and one including a Queen and a Princess, add huge depth to the action and events that occur in this collection, especially with certain relationship complexities.

The Witcher tales are exciting and addictive to say that a story can be finished in about half an hour. Sapkowski doesn't dumb down the world and there are a plethora of complex characters and demons throughout these pages. My favourite story is The Bounds of Reason and it features about twenty-five different well-crafted characters who set off on a mission to kill a wounded dragon. I found this narrative exceptional, unpredictable, thrilling with a hell of a twist at the end. This sets Sword of Destiny up brilliantly.

I won't go into the details of the stories too much as it might approach spoiler territory. I will confirm that these tales feature many fantasy races as well as mermaids and underwater warriors, showdowns with sorcerers, a group trying to trace a doppleganger, and also meeting Ciri. It features monster hunting of course but not as much and as frequent as The Last Wish. Each The Last Wish story played like a level on the Witcher games. These are less standalone and cleverly building up for the full narrative which will start with Blood of Elves.

I adored The Bounds of Reason, A Little Sacrifice and Sword of Destiny. Eternal Flame and A Share of Ice were very average. The final story Something More I really struggled with initially. It follows two timelines as Geralt in a fevered state and I sometimes got confused where and when we were. If it was a full-length story I wouldn't have finished it but I did and I'm glad I fought through as the ending is highly satisfying with setting up what can possible happen in the next outings.

I decided to read all of the Witcher books before the TV series is released and I am glad that I have taken on this venture. I've read the first two books within four days and I can't wait to move on further. I often struggle with short stories but I can recommend these highly. The Bound of Reason is one of the top two finest short stories I've ever read alongside Sebastian De Castell - The Fox and the Bowman.
Profile Image for Miranda Reads.
1,589 reviews155k followers
Want to read
January 22, 2020
Library: 6 months

Online library:
8 months

Local bookstore:
what's witchy?

Non-local bookstore:
sold out.

Amazon:
random assorted paperbacks

Me (a hardcover addict):
hmmm. F*ck.
Profile Image for  Teodora .
303 reviews1,631 followers
March 29, 2023
Full review on my Blog: The Dacian She-Wolf 🐺

In the Sword of Destiny, there is no The Voice of Reason chapters, but the action seems to flow somehow even without them because in this short stories book, there is no, let’s say, “time travelling” between the stories. They happen, thank God, at almost the same time, in a continuous present. Except for the last story that got me a bit confused (I don't really do good with stories that leap from one time to the other without telling me EXACTLY what the bloody hell they're about to do).

There are also six stories here:

1. The Bounds of Reason (3.5/5 ⭐)
2. A Shard of Ice (5/5 ⭐)
3. Eternal Flame (4/5 ⭐)
4. A Little Sacrifice (4/5 ⭐)
5. The Sword of Destiny (5/5 ⭐)
6. Something More (5/5 ⭐)
____
Total rating for Sword of Destiny: 4.41/5 ⭐


“Destiny has many faces. Mine is beautiful on the outside and hideous on the inside.”

Here, the chapters are longer, it seems, and also there is a certain political touch to it, even almost invisible. I tended to get a bit lost sometimes, but got right back when it came to a good old action scene *winks*.

I especially enjoyed A Shard of Ice . The story is based on H.C. Andersen’s tale The Snow Queen , which is one of my favourite fairy tales ever. So, of course, I enjoyed Mr Sapkowski’s reinterpretation of it. The same goes for that tiny part in The Sword of Destiny where Frexinet’s story is inspired by The Wild Swans fairy tale. Dziękuję bardzo, panie Sapkowski, I really needed that. Also, there was a Little Mermaid reinterpretation in A Little Sacrifice that I enjoyed too. This book was hardcore Andersen-inspired, apparently.

Apart from that, I realised that I’m not Yennefer’s biggest fan, it tends to repel me somehow, but I don’t entirely dislike her. She’s just tough to love I guess.

We also get to meet Ciri in this book and hey, that’s what I was waiting for. I also must say that her reunion with Geralt is waaay more different from the one in the TV show and it is ten times better, I'd say.

description
Profile Image for Petrik.
673 reviews42.7k followers
April 22, 2023
2.5/5 stars

Sword of Destiny is a huge step down from The Last Wish.


I’ll be lying if I say I’m not worried about how I’ll fare with the series after reading Sword of Destiny. I have heard many mixed things regarding the main novels of the series, especially in its ending, but tons of praises seem to have been given to the first two collections of short stories. I fully understand that technically this is Sapkowski’s first published collection of stories in The Witcher Saga even though it chronologically takes place after The Last Wish. But still, I expected more out of it because I enjoyed reading The Last Wish, and of course, I love the video games adaptation so much. However, I felt so mixed about this collection of short stories.

“There is never a second opportunity to make a first impression.”


Unlike The Last Wish, there doesn't seem to be a coherent sense of continuity between the stories contained in this collection. It is six short stories put into this book. In The Last Wish, in the present time frame, we have Geralt recovering, and the content told in this time frame chapters reflects the short story we will get to read. Everything felt more random and fragmented in Sword of Destiny. But that, in essence, IS what a collection of short stories mean. What caused my mixed feelings on Sword of Destiny was due to my dislike of the first four out of six short stories here. And I can't even claim that I loved the last two titles; they were alright, but not amazing.

Picture: Sword of Destiny by Navar



Let's start with the first two short stories: The Bounds of Reason and A Shard of Ice. Although these two were not boring to read, they were also frustrating. The main point of these two stories is simple: Geralt and Yennifer fight like teenage YA characters. Coming into this book from the games and the TV show adaptation, it actually felt cringe to read their bickering and flings. I need to note, and I know this will sound like sacrilege, that I am not a fan of Yennifer. Not in the games, and certainly not in the books so far. Honestly, I dislike her even more now after reading A Shard of Ice. But at least that's expected.

The third short story, Eternal Fire, on top of being one of the most boring stories I have read, somehow, has also made me incredibly dislike Dandelion. Dandelion in Eternal Fire has a mouth of an intolerable Donald Duck here. Yabbering, yabbering, yabbering, like we have to pay attention to this pitiful guy. I like Dandelion in the TV show adaptation and the games, but here? Nope. Seriously, a few days have passed since I read this short story, and all I remember now is only him being infuriating.

“Well, what can I say, it’s a base world,’ he finally muttered. ‘But that’s no reason for us all to become despicable.”


A Little Sacrifice was okay, but the development and the conclusion of the character stories here felt rushed. It would have benefited more for not being a short story. And finally we arrive at the last two short stories: Sword of Destiny and Something More. We finally meet Ciri in the books for the first time in the titular title, Sword of Destiny. I liked this one. Ciri is one of my favorite characters in the games, and I am happy I get to see Geralt and Ciri's first moment of encounter. As for Something More, I feel the TV show adaptation did a better job on this part of the story. I still enjoyed reading the ending of this story, but overall, I feel like the execution in the TV show has more of an impact on me than this one.

“Because I know that in order to unite two people, destiny is insufficient. Something more is necessary than destiny.”


I am disappointed with Sword of Destiny, and hearing how many fans of the series hated the last book made me more reluctant to continue reading it. However, I will try to read one or two books in the main novels first before I finalize my decision. There's always a chance that Sword of Destiny is a one-time occurrence disappointment. Here's hoping that I will love Blood of Elves when I get to it this year.

You can order this book from: Blackwells (Free International shipping)

You can find this and the rest of my reviews at Novel Notions | I also have a Booktube channel

Special thanks to my Patrons on Patreon for giving me extra support towards my passion for reading and reviewing!

My Patrons: Alfred, Andrew, Andrew W, Amanda, Annabeth, Ben, Diana, Dylan, Edward, Elias, Ellen, Ellis, Gary, Hamad, Helen, Jimmy Nutts, Joie, Luis, Lufi, Melinda, Meryl, Mike, Miracle, Neeraja, Nicholas, Oliver, Reno, Samuel, Sarah, Sarah, Scott, Shawna, Xero, Wendy, Wick, Zoe.
December 25, 2019
Uh-oh, I think my boyfriend Geralt is on strike. I mean, why else would the Most Deliciously Scrumptious Witcher Ever aka the Super Hot if Slightly Mutant Monster Slayer (MDSWEakatSHiSMMS™) butcher such a ridiculously low amount of supernatural beasts in this volume? Well, I guess it is also possible that his evil boring twin took over while I was, um, otherwise engaged with some of my other harem, um, boarders and stuff. Or maybe he was abducted by aliens, submitted to vigorous brain reprogramming sessions, and then shipped back to us via Expedited Shrimp Express (ESE™)? Who the fish knows? In any case, there is way too little delicious slaughter here and way too much pondering on the meaning of life, destiny, blah blah blah and all that crap. Not to mention the inordinate amount of Suicide-Inducing Lovey Dovey Crap (SILDC™) one has to bravely endure while reading this book.



Indeed.

Okay, so there's some really good, err, what's the word for this? Oh, yes, I remember now, "stuff" is the technical term I'm looking for. So yes, there is definitely some good stuff here: a little bit of intrigue, a pinch of adventure, a dash of Let's Gleefully Hack at Things (LGHaT™), a speck of humor, a drop of shenanigans and a soupçon of my homicidally sexy boyfriend. Alas, unfortunately and stuff, sufficient to make this short story collection as yummilicious as The Last Wish this wasn't. Most of the stories begin stupendously enough, I'll give you that, my Little Barnacles. One opens with a basilisk, free warrior women and crayfish. Which got me all excite because coming across my freshwater cousins in books always makes my exoskeleton tingle and stuff. Another story begins with tentacles, serrated claws and mountains of exploding trash. Which brought back fond memories of my past life as Marjory the Trash Heap.



Ah, good times.

Then there is the story that kicks off with a delightfully capricious mermaid and later introduces super, um, friendly sea creatures. And then the story that starts with most, um, welcoming monsters. And severed limbs. Oh, and let's not forget the one with the dryads! So, you see, all the stories in this collection begin quite gloriously indeed. The problem is, most of them then proceed to deflate like the proverbial (if bloody shrimping) soufflé. Because too many pointless ramblings and endless dialogues, not enough blood-shedding. Because too much allergy-inducing relationship drama, not enough action. And don't get me started on Yennefer. Actually, no, please DO get me started on her. To think I locked her up in my harem kindly offered her asylum after reading The Last Wish! She was cool! She was cunning! She was badass! She was hot! She was mine! But now? It's pretty obvious the aliens kidnapped and then brainwashed her like they did Geralt. Why else would she act like such an exasperatingly selfish—or is it selfishly exasperating? I forget—bitch? And the angst! Bloody stinking fish, the angst! There's enough of it here to feed a battalion of Thoroughly Frustrated New Adult Fangirls (TFNAF™)!



Yeah, more or less.

But hey, it's not ALL bad. I mean, there's a super cute kid in two of the stories. Her name is Ciri. She made my black, withered heart do all kind of weird things. First of all, it started beating, which was kind of, you know, spooky and stuff. Then it kinda sorta felt like it was getting slightly squished and stuff. Strange, err, what was that technical term again? Oh yes, stuff. Strange stuff. Indeed. Disgusting, too. You have to admit that feeling so revoltingly emotional and human isn't really in my line of work. I find the idea both terribly repulsive and horribly inadequate, to be honest. So I very logically kidnapped Ciri. For her own good, obviously. Also, she'll make great blackmail material. I won't release her until my Geralt returns to his former MDSWEakatSHiSMMS™ self. Muahahahaha and stuff.



➽ And the moral of this The Evil Russians™ Quite Evidently Replaced my Geralt with a Sappy Doppelgänger That's It I'm Unleashing the Shrimps on the Kremlin and Getting the Real Him Back to the Harem and Stuff Crappy Non Review (TERQERmGwaSDTIIUtSonKaGtRHBttHaSCNR™) is: my pet Algernon misses his monster friends, Mr Sapkowski. Please bring them back, even if it's just to have them slightly slaughtered by my Geralt. Algernon feels awfully lost without them, you see. I mean, look at the poor thing! Doesn't he look utterly helpless and completely befuddled to you?



So please do the charitable thing, Mr Sapkowski. Bring my mutant beast slayer back and Make Algernon Gleeful Again (MAGA™)!

· Book 1: The Last Wish ★★★★★
· Book 3: Blood of Elves ★★★
· Book 4: The Time of Contempt ★★



[Pre-review nonsense]

Geralt, dear boy, we need to talk. I locked you up in my High Security Harem because you were a super hot monster slayer, not for your disgusting love sick puppy tendencies. So you stop this revolting display of vile maudlin sentimentality right this minute, or I'm sending you to the DNF Graveyard until you become yourself again, you hear me?!



What? You didn't know Geralt looked like a toast with tiny arms? You really are clueless, aren't you, my Little Barnacles?

➽ Full Who The Bloody Fish Are You and What Have You Done with My Sexey Badass Mutant Boyfriend Crappy Non Review (WTBFAYaWHYDwMSBMBCNR™) to come.
Profile Image for Adina.
827 reviews3,225 followers
February 4, 2022
English

I liked this short story collection less than the 1st one in this series. The first 3 stories were quite boring and useless and I preferred the on screen version of the last 2 where Ciri first appeared. As the previous book, there is a lot of dialogue and verbal confrontation. There was less fighting and more philosophy . I still enjoyed listening to this volume and I am planning to continue with the series as soon as Ionut Grama will record it (Hurry Up!)

Romanian

Audiobook narat de Ionut Grama
Mi-a placut acesta colectie de povestiri mai putin decat primul din serie. Primele 3 povesti mi s-au parut destul de plictisitoare si un pic inutile. De asemenea, am preferat versiunea de pe micul ecran al ultimelor doua povestiri, unde ne intalnim cu Ciri. Ca si in primul volum, este mult dialog, personajele se iau la harta din orice dar se bat mai putin. In schimb filozofeaza mai mult, iar Geralt este mai deprima(n)t si sufera din dragoste.

Voi continua cu seria imediat ce Ionut Grama va inregistra urmatorul volum. Despre audiobook, mi s-a parut foarte bine relizat, ca si cel precedent. Am semnalat mici greseli si repetitii dar nimic separator. Se vede ca s-au grabit un pic cu lansarea pentru a fi aproape de cea a sezonului 2 din serial.
Profile Image for Prongs.
21 reviews5 followers
September 28, 2021
Humans and Elves and Dwarves and Trolls. Oh, and Women.

That's what parts of this book felt like. Like women are a different, lesser race. I think the way women are depicted in this book is problematic. To have a medieval world behaving in a medieval way about women is something, to have clever and heroic protagonists going along with it is something else entirely. I really don't have anything against a hero who has lots of sex with lots of women. As a guy, I get why this is appealing to a Fantasy author. But I need strong characters. I need some non-sexualized girls. This had too many bits about women being annoying in the background for me to feel confortable reading it. Too many bits about women speaking their mind and somehow coming out less likable for it. So much effort in that direction that it feels like the author himself thinks that women are second-rate people, only tolerable inside a bedroom or a kitchen. With race equality as a recurring theme throughout the book, this is really clumsy.

And this was published in the 90's. It's always disappointing when this mentality shows up in an old fantasy book, but at least it's kind of predictable. It's like finding racism in a 19th century travel-adventure novel. But today... This should not be left unnoticed.

Am I supposed to like Dandelion at this point ? Apparently, the author thinks being a dick is a lovable trait because he keeps coming up and I can't believe this guy was meant as a long lasting character. This is not a good Rogue, this is a living embodiment of everything I hate about Fantasy.

And I am supposed to like Yennefer at all ? After research, I've read how Sapkowski brags about her not being a fantasy stereotype, which only confirms that he is only capable of writing either stupid-giggling-just-for-fantasy-sex-girls or cold condescending bitches (still up for sex mind you). Yennefer is the least likable female character I have ever found in Fantasy, and it is not because of unintentional sexism from my part. I don't understand in what world this character was meant as lovable. I genuinely thought that all the textual evidence was meant to foreshadow tragedy and how Geralt could only suffer with someone like this. It is now obvious that it was meant to be also part of the novels, and now I have too much info to really care about her or their relationship.

Now about the storytelling itself, I have mixed feelings.
I don't know about Polish, I read the English translation because the French one is crap (real real crap) and with now 3 different translations tested, I am pretty confident that the source material is far from great literature. The best I could get from this book was the Audible version. Peter Kenny did an amazing job with it, but even with David French's translation (which is the best I encountered so far), some bits were truly painful. It had some good chapters in the beginning, but this flirting with long-term plot got boring real fast. The long thoughts and dialogs during The Brokilon part were particularly clumsy, and The Beltane chapter with Yennefer might be one of the worst pieces of writing I have ever encountered in a success Fantasy novel, so bad you would think Terry Goodkind wrote it.

Worst thing is, I really really loved Ciri, and I think she is everything this series needed. We'll see about that. It's a shame her chapters were so weak.

I rated The Last Wish 3 stars because there's only so much plot you can expect from a short stories book, but now it is getting closer and closer to a novel, I really have doubts about Sapkowski's ability to keep these characters interesting.
Profile Image for Fredrik.
Author 2 books17 followers
January 25, 2021
I read this book in swedish (called Ödets Svärd - Sword of Destiny) and let me just say;

WOW. Sapkowski, you f-ing rule.

Everything about this book is awesome, from the characters to the world, to the humor and the fighting scenes. Geralt is a true badass, although he tries not to act like one. And his, kind of tragic, love story with Yennefer really gets to you. (unless you are a ghoul or something, and then Geralt will find you and destroy you.)

So, if you haven't yet read any Andrzej Sapkowski, do it now. Yesterday if you could. You wont regret it.
Profile Image for Michelle.
147 reviews235 followers
November 6, 2018
(Review of 2 books: “The Last Wish” and “The Sword of Destiny)

It’s been a while since I’ve indulged in some sword and sorcery, and I’m happy to have come upon a trailer of “The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt” on Youtube. It’s visually stunning and highly fascinating! I wanted to learn more about the game and, to cut this story short (I guess you know where this is going anyway), discovered Andrzej Sapkowski’s written wonders. I’m sure the games are awesome, but I’m quite glad that I can immerse myself in "The Witcher" universe through my preferred medium.

“The Last Wish” and “The Sword of Destiny” are each a collection of short, inter-connected stories that read very much like a character study. A study of the witcher, Geralt of Rivia, and his tormented relationship with the concept of destiny. The stories are nonlinear, but the links are easy to follow, and not every story turns out the way you might think or expect.

It's really hard for me to convey the depth of these collection of stories. They have a range of tone -- humor, romance, adventure, intrigue -- that is amazing. The writing is contemporary and yet has a resonance that feels timeless. It reminds me of Tolkien, in that there is a depth to the world Sapkowski has created that makes you feel like it's been around for a very long time. The books rank right up there amidst the fantasy genre as most immersive and entertaining. Sapkowski has an interesting way of setting up a story according to traditional fantasy and fairy tale fashion, then allowing the darkest facets of our own world bleed through the pages. Complicated questions about morality, religion, diversity, progress, and love are incorporated into the stories and the characters.

I fell in love with Geralt and his story,and he never disappoints with his perspective or his choices. He is relatable in a way that he is not the hyper self-righteous paragon of justice like many fantasy protagonists. He's merely a tradesman, of an albeit interesting line of work, trying somewhat desperately to keep his head above water and do the right thing. There's something of us all in Geralt in that respect.

I find the stories well written, suspenseful and engaging. The characters are diverse, colorful and relatable. One of the treasures of Sapkowski's style is how much of the plot is revealed through character interactions. Conversations flow naturally yet give all the necessary exposition and world building. The characters are interesting, believable and three dimensional no matter how small their role. The stories are at times bleak and grim, and yet there is an odd sense of whimsy like you might find in a classic Grimm's fairy tale. They can be comical or tragic but never contrived.

Overall, these are highly satisfying reads and I would highly recommend this to anyone who has a penchant for tough and gritty heroes who slay monsters and protect even the dumbest jerks from themselves with wisdom, dry wit, swordplay and a grounded sense of realism. Now I'm doubly excited to move on to the main series!
Profile Image for Hamad.
1,007 reviews1,327 followers
October 4, 2021
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“There is never a second opportunity to make a first impression.”


The Last Wish ★★★★
Sword of Destiny ★★★★

I am quite happy that I enjoyed those two books before the main series, I mean usually short story collections don’t work for me for some reason but those ones did and those introduced the characters so now it will be easier to read the main series!

I do think that “The Last Wish” is better structure wise from Sword of Destiny but I still enjoyed this one very lot. The main reason was that I watched the first season of the Witcher and as a visual person, it made my life much easier when I read this book. I already know the characters and their motives and how they look and some of the stories were adapted already so I flew through them.

As I said above, usually short stories don’t work for me because the books are condensed with those, maybe 10-12 of those in a 300-400 pages book which means they are very short stories and I feel there is never enough time to tell a story in an appropriate way. The good thing in this series that they were a bit longer which gives time to connect to the story.

I won’t be discussing each story alone here but I am gonna say what is the common thing I liked about all of them and what could have been better! I like Geralt and Yen and Dandelion, I feel it is easy to connect to their stories wherever the setting is. I think the plot lines were interesting but I felt that most of the endings were rushed somehow, I mean I enjoy the build up but usually the end result is unsatisfactory and the story ends with the shortest chapter!

“Our world is in equilibrium. The annihilation, the killing, of any creatures that inhabit this world upsets that equilibrium. And a lack of equilibrium brings closer extinction; extinction and the end of the world as we know it.”


I think I need to mention that the translator did a very good job and translator efforts usually go unnoticed but I think that would not be fair here. Another thing I should mention is that Sapkowski has the typical white male voice of fetishizing women and describing their round heavy breasts *face palm* which I understand for a book published in 1992 but I don’t quite like! I hope the later books are better in that aspect!

Summary: I did like this collection of short stories more than I expected given that they are usually books that don’t work for me. I liked the plot lines, the characters and mythology, I kind of felt underwhelmed by the endings and by the female descriptions. I am still looking for the main trilogy which I hope to start later this year!
Profile Image for William Gwynne.
354 reviews1,461 followers
July 26, 2021
I now have a YouTube channel that I run with my brother, called 'The Brothers Gwynne'. Check it out - The Brothers Gwynne


My expanded review has now been placed on BookNest - BookNest - Sword of Destiny

So Sword of Destiny is the second book in The Witcher Saga, but dates before The Last Wish. Many of the same characters are encountered as are many new monsters, one being a doppler.

Some stories were great, such as the one that seems to be a bit inspired by the little mermaid. It was surprisingly emotional and showed a completely different side to Geralt of Rivia that I have longed to see.

The story of a mimic who can change into anyone and adopt their mannerisms was hilarious, and rightly caused mayhem! Gerald showed his honourable side once again in this and calmly strode towards the solution. He can be so cool!

However, it does confuse me how Geralt is sometimes completely calm and executes plans perfectly, but becomes somewhat of a bumbling man in other stories, particularly around Yennefer.

So overall, Sword of Destiny was another fun experience with Geralt of Rivia in this world of monsters and hunters. His camaraderie with Dandelion was a high point once again, as were the interesting creatures that feature. I look forward to reading the other novels in the future.
Profile Image for NAT.orious reads ☾.
845 reviews338 followers
July 23, 2020
4 STARS, destined for great things ★★★★✩
This book is for you if… high fantasy with room for humour and modernised language suits your tastes. Be prepared for a lot of angsty romance and badass fighting scenes.

Preface.
Can we please, collectively, complain to Netflix for taking off The Witcher soundtrack of Spotify? I literally need to listen to Toss a coin to your witcher until I shout it from my grave.


UPDATE: It seems our collective karening has helped. I've not only enjoyed the original, but also this amazing cover by the incredibly talented Orletta Vicover

Overall.
Different from The Last Wish in its style of adventures but still very enjoyable, this collection of short stories is less a sequence of cases, as was the previous book, but more of a deep dive into what shape and traits Geralt's character has, which is very useful considering I've not read the following books or played the game.

A close up on the witcher characters is the unofficial title of Sword of Destiny book, I swear! It was very enjoyable to remeet with the men and women I came to love in The Last Wish. They are now a bit less of a mystery and more like old friends to me.

World(-building). It was more of a world deepening in my experience. The political dynamics became a bit clearer, as did the ethnic diversity which leads to an overall improved understanding of the world.

The arch of suspense. Hmm [in Henry Cavill's voice].

Some of the stories were really exciting and others kinda had me skimming the pages for dialogue. This is probably my biggest point of critique. Still a page-turner overall.

You will find me in bed, inhaling the entire Witcher Season. Oh, and harassing both Netflix and Spotify on Twitter, for obvious reasons.

What’s happening.
‘Doubts. Only evil, sir, never has any. But no one can escape his destiny.’

Whether he knows it or not, Geralt of Rivia is getting closer to his fate with every step he takes in this unusual but enlightening collection of short stories. Dragons, mermaids, dopplers and dryads, this book challenges him in very untypical ways.
Con:
the monsters are getting bigger
destiny has fangs, not feathers
incompetent morons everywhere
Pro:
more dandelion
more yennefer
more angsty romance

_____________________
writing quality + easy of reading = 5*

pace = 3.5*

plot/story in general = 4*

plot development = 3.5*

characters = 5*

enjoyability = 4*

insightfulness = 3*
Profile Image for Sara.
1,080 reviews359 followers
March 3, 2020
The Bounds of Reason - ⭐️⭐️⭐️ DRAGONS and a shocking twist
A Shard of Ice - ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Yennefer and Geralt angst (with hints of a certain infamous stuffed unicorn 🦄 )
Eternal Flame - ⭐️⭐️⭐️ An intro to Dudu and Dopplers.
A Little Sacrifice - ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Mermaids, love and sea monsters
The Sword of Destiny - ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ A lost princess, Dryads and the bonds of destiny
Something More - ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ The fall of a kingdom, and a law of surprise

I really enjoyed this short story collection, more so than the first The Last Wish. I think it helped that I had a better grounding in the lore and history of the world, and was less put off by the odd time jumps and pacing. I will say that the second half is a lot snappier in pace, and introduces the wonderful Ciri, which helped propel this to a 4 star read for me.

As always, I love Yennefer and Geralt. I love the complexity to their relationship, often with years in between their meetings, yet the undeniable love they share for each other. Destiny and more bind them together, and their exchanges are always a delight to read.

I’m really excited to dive into the ‘proper’ novels in 2020 now that I feel I have a good background knowledge to our heroes.
Profile Image for Markus.
471 reviews1,522 followers
May 9, 2017
This second short story collection is unfortunately the weakest part of the Witcher universe that I have read. It is not on the level of The Last Wish, the stories feel mashed together without the same sense of purpose as in the other book, and they are less exciting, less symbolic and less epic.

However, I love experiencing the world of the Witcher and following Geralt of Rivia and Yennefer of Vengerberg on their adventures (even though Yennefer is dreadfully annoying in this book compared to other volumes). Sword of Destiny is also very much worth reading for a Witcher fan as it provides a proper introduction to Ciri, adding more context to the happenings of The Last Wish and the main saga.

Overall, this is a decent book, although it doesn’t quite fulfil its huge potential.

Witcher reviews:
#1 The Last Wish
#2 Sword of Destiny
#3 Blood of Elves
Profile Image for Anniebananie.
535 reviews399 followers
March 7, 2020
4,5 Sterne

Ich fand diesen zweiten Kurzgeschichtenband ein klitzekleines bisschen schwächer als den ersten. Das lag vor allem an einer der 6 Kurzgeschichten, die ich nicht so leiden konnte, da mich Geralt und sein Verhalten da echt haben mit den Augen rollen lassen. Außerdem fand ich es hier etwas schade, dass die einzelnen Geschichten hier nicht so schön miteinander verwoben waren wie im ersten Band.
Davon abgesehen fand ich dieses Buch wieder absolut genial und auch das ganze Thema rund um Vorhersehungen sehr faszinierend. Wir treffen hier wieder auf alte Bekannte wie Rittersporn und Yennefer, aber lernen auch neue Weggefährten kennen wie beispielsweise Ciri. Wir kommen auch wieder gut rum in der Welt des Witcher und lernen einige neue schaurige Kreaturen kennen.
An mancher Stelle knüpft das Buch an Stellen aus dem ersten Kurzgeschichtenband an, was jedes Mal irgendwie total mindblowing war :D
Profile Image for Overhaul.
267 reviews602 followers
October 10, 2021
"No existe el destino, pensó él. No existe. Lo único que nos está destinado a todos es la muerte. Sólo en las leyendas puede perdurar lo que en la naturaleza perdurar no puede"


Puntuación: 🐺⚔🐺⚔


Al igual que "El Último Deseo", "La Espada del Destino" es una colección de relatos que siguen a un muy talentoso, imparable y aventurero brujo llamado Geralt de Rivia. Temía que aquí la calidad bajase, sí es cierto que me gustó más el primer libro, todos los relatos, aquí la calidad la mantiene pero hubo relatos no captaban mi interés. Soy muy fan de Yen y Geralt pero su historia, aún siendo algo importante o lo más para muchos fans, no es por eso por lo que sigo la saga. Pero ha sido una buena continuación y sin duda un puente a la por fin trama e historia principal. Joder que ganas tenía de leer ya el nombre "Nilfgaard". Hay gente que no conoce esta saga o no está bien informada y comete el error de ir a por el 3° " La Sangre de los Elfos" ahora que he leído estos dos os aseguro que es un fallo garrafal, hablamos de que el primero nos introduce a este mundo, una sublime y muy aventuresca carta de presentación, también nos presenta a sus personajes más importantes sobre los que gira la rueda del destino, y sobre destino va la cosa, leeremos como sus caminos se cruzaron, el porqué y las consecuencias en el futuro, nos enseñan lo que son los brujos, unas putas maquinas de matar, si bien no con unas habilidades de lo más famosas o llamativas en el género, pero están genial. Cazan monstruos, y se les suele dar muy bien.


"Lo que representa el Caos es una amenaza, es el lado de la agresión. El Orden, en cambio, es el lado amenazado, que necesita de defensa. Que necesita de defensores"


En otras palabras el primero es como un origen, una parte muy importante y fundamental del pasado, formando una carta sellada a cera con un escudo, un lobo. Espada, magia y aventuras pero algo distintas de las clásicas, basándose también en los clásicos cuentos de hadas con su puntazo de la mano de Sapkowski. Un puñado de estos cuentos que son impredecibles, agregarán una profundidad considerable al arcos futuros. El segundo libro sigue esta misma pauta pero acercándose más al futuro de los personajes y finalmente el inmutable destino los alcanza en el presente.


La Espada del Destino, nos presenta un puñado de personajes principales que ya hemos conocido de la saga, y que aquí se vuelven más desarrollados a medida que su presencia nos acompaña. Jaskier, el amigo de Geralt y bardo, su misteriosa e indomable hechicera, Yennefer, y una potencial hija del destino llamada Ciri. Si has jugado a los videojuegos de "The Witcher", imagino que estarás familiarizado con estos personajes, yo lo estoy, y admito de buen grado y contento, que no hay nada mejor que un buen libro, es todo más completo, la historia, diálogos, luchas acercamientos y relaciones.


Encontré los relatos en "El Último Deseo" más consistentes, pero dos o tres de mis favoritos son de ese libro lo cual también influye. Estos agregan una gran dosis profundidad a la acción y los eventos que ocurren o ves que ocurriran, especialmente con ciertas complejidades de algunas relaciones.


"Desde que el mundo es mundo, los ejércitos que recorren un país matan, roban, queman y violan, no necesariamente en ese orden"


Los relatos son emocionantes y adictivos para decir que uno  se puede terminar en poco menos de media hora. Sapkowski no simplifica el gran mundo que ha creado, lo expande más y hay una plétora de personajes complejos y demonios a lo largo de estas páginas. Mi historia favorita es "Las fronteras de lo posible"y cuenta con unos cuantos personajes diferentes, bien elaborados que se embarcan en una misión para matar a un dragón. Encontré esta narración excepcional, impredecible, emocionante con un giro increíble al final. Esto puso ya el nivel a la altura de los anteriores. El que no me gustó fue "Esquirlas de hielo".


"Asquero es el mundo alrededor. Pero esa no es razón para que nosotros todos nos volvamos asquerosos"


Estos relatos nos presentan muchas razas de la fantasía, sirenas y guerreros, enfrentamientos con hechiceros, un grupo que intenta rastrear a un vexling que es mi segundo relato favorito y desde luego el más gracioso de todos y también los encuentros con Ciri. Cuenta como no con la caza de monstruos, por supuesto, quizás a mi parecer no tan frecuente como el anterior y sin falta de interludio que junte las cosas. Forma una construcción inteligente para la narrativa completa de la trama principal que comenzará con "La Sangre de los Elfos".


La historia final me costó algo más con lo que realmente luché un poco en su lectura. Sigue dos líneas temporales, a Geralt en un estado febril y a veces me confundía dónde y cuándo estába. Si fuera una historia de larga duración, podría ser algo molesto para algún lector no lo negaré, pero son historias cortas y se tienen en cuenta ciertos factores como unos personajes memorables, y la narrativa de Sapkowski que es muy buena, el final es muy satisfactorio con la configuración de lo que puede suceder en las próximas entregas.


"Lo sé, Villentretenmerth. Pero yo también quisiera creer que no hay límites de lo posible"


“El último deseo” y “La espada del destino” son cada una una colección de historias breves e interconectadas que se parecen mucho a un estudio de personajes. Un estudio del brujo, El Lobo Blanco, Geralt de Rivia y su atormentada relación con el destino. Los relatos en este no son lineales, el primero lo fue más debido a los interludios, pero los enlaces son muy fáciles de seguir, y no todas las historias resultan de la manera que el lector puede esperar, un punto a favor. Se incorporan  preguntas complicadas sobre moralidad, religión, diversidad, progreso y amor en las historias y los personajes.


Están bien escritos, un estilo narrativo que nos  llena de suspense y adicción de la buena y sana. Los personajes son diversos, coloridos y fáciles de identificar. Uno de los mejores factores del estilo de Sapkowski es cuánto de la trama y la historia de este mundo se revela a través de las interacciones de los personajes. Conversaciones que fluyen de forma natural pero brindan toda la exposición y la construcción del mundo. Los personajes son interesantes, creíbles, además sin importar cuán pequeño sea su papel. Con historias a veces sombrías y, sin embargo, hay una extraña sensación de fantasía como la que puedes encontrar en un cuento de hadas clásico de los hermanos Grimm. Sea cómico o trágico, reluciendo lo bueno de las personas y criaturas o lo peor de ellos, pero nunca artificiales. Sin duda muy, muy pronto después de una lectura iré a por el siguiente, a ver que tal la historia principal per se.


"En mis tiempos los brujos no apestaban a dinero sino a peal, se cargaban a lo que se les señalara, y les daba igual que fuera un lobisome, un dragón, o un cobrador de impuestos. Lo único que importaba era si los cachitos eran lo suficientemente pequeños"
Profile Image for Kayla Dawn.
291 reviews892 followers
July 30, 2019
Ach, ich liebe diese Welt. Ich liebe Geralt. Ich liebe Rittersporn. Ich liebe alles. Bin so froh, dass ich noch eine ganze Reihe Bücher vor mir hab.
Profile Image for Knjigoholičarka.
150 reviews8 followers
December 17, 2018
Review iz 2014.: Jedne večeri se Džon Grin i Paolo Koeljo otkinuli od Rubinovog Vinjaka i odlučili da pišu fantastiku pošto tu sad leži lova. "Ti dnapišeš onaj 'lozofski deo one... one... 'nutrašnje mono-loooge... i spoljašnje...kaksezovu", zapetlja Grin jezikom, "a ja ćdnapišem ljubvne priče i dialogitakoto". "Ae", reče Koeljo, pre nego što je glavom opalio o već lepljivi sto i skotrljao se na pod bifea "Čep".

I tako je nastala ova knjiga.
Profile Image for TS Chan.
699 reviews868 followers
July 24, 2019
3.5/5 stars.

The compelling characterisation of Geralt and the imaginative world of Slavic lore and fairy-tale retellings continue in Sword of Destiny, the second collection of prequel short stories.


Sword of Destiny was published after the first three full-length novels of The Witcher series. As a new reader to the series, however, I was able to read the books in chronological order which is quite essential as this instalment served as the bridge between The Last Wish and Blood of Elves.

I found that The Last Wish is overall a better book than Sword of Destiny with the connectivity of having a frame story wrapped around the short stories. This latter book feels more disjointed for me, and I did not enjoy Geralt's development as much, especially when it comes to his overwhelming obsession with Yennefer, whom I do not like much. It pains me to see how Geralt seemed to lose a bit of himself and his badassery whenever he is around the sorceress. It didn't help that she can be quite a bitch at times.

There are also less 'killing monsters' and more romance in this collection of Geralt's adventures. Truth be told, I don't typically favour a lot of romance in my stories. Nonetheless, the tale which borrowed from The Little Mermaid was one of the best in this book, and the love story herein is quite touching. Dandelion, the bard, can aggravate me as much as make me laugh, but the ending of 'A Little Sacrifice' brought tears to my eyes.

Fascinating creatures continue to pop up, and my favourite in this book was the mimic or the doppler - a creature which not only can mimic one's physiognomy but also one's psychology - from the tale 'Eternal Flame'. The story on its own did not seem to contribute much to the overarching story of Geralt except to again solidify the inaccurate general perception of witchers being cold-blooded killers.

However, the arc that I was most looking forward to was the titular story, Sword of Destiny. Ever since I've read the short story 'A Question of Price' in The Last Wish, I was waiting for this crucial moment; the introduction of Princess Ciri and her first meeting with Geralt. And it was a darn good one, which was made all the more interesting with the appearance of the mysterious dryads and their protected land of Brokilon where all humans cannot trespass on pain of death.

The final piece 'Something More' was the clincher to this theme of destiny. As much as the White Wolf did not appear to believe in destiny (or perhaps refused to), it will not let him go. And war is coming with the invasion of the Nilfgaardians.

All I can say is that if you are a fan of The Witcher, do not pass up on this novel. While I find a few of the stories here less than impressive, the last two are essential to the storyline, and the overall book is still enjoyable.

You can purchase the book from Amazon | Book Depository (Free shipping worldwide)

You can also find this, and my other reviews at Novel Notions.
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 6 books3,962 followers
March 10, 2020
Okay, so I've arrived very late to the Witcher party. I feel like I really ought to be embarrassed or something, too, but I've decided just to roll with it.

I... might have become a fanboy.

I mean, shoot, I've got Cavill in my head as the penultimate Geralt. Yennifer is someone I think I'll always love. I've got that whole season stuck in my head, and reading these two collections preceding the first official novel has made something very clear to me.

The first season IS these to books.

Maybe not a few of the stories, or nowhere near this form, and a couple really deepen the connection between Geralt and Yennifer, and the whole cycle in the tv show that gives us a close look at Yennifer but it doesn't show in these two books... but ASIDE from that, I loved meeting the dragon, getting the Destiny setup from new angles, and, let's face it... I LOVED the story about the mermaid and hope to hell we get that in the next season. :)

Did I mention that I'm fanboying?

I'm having so much fun with these. Now let me be clear about one thing. The fantasy element is well done but not wholly original. The characters are rife with riffs in mythology in general and the interactions are easily familiar and fun for anyone who enjoys fantasy in general.

What makes this special is the sheer force of personality, of characterization, of the FEELS. And let's not forget the fun. I'm having SO much fun. :)

I guess it's not that much of a surprise that the series is still growing in popularity. I barely even knew about the books until after the games started taking off, and I still haven't played the games yet. For shame, right?

I'm still happy. :)
Profile Image for Ole Midthun.
6 reviews
September 21, 2018
I don't know why I raised my expectations on this, I probably shouldn't have. But this this is the most sexist filth I have ever read. The book feels like one big male fantasy, defining female characters only by their look and boobs and romanticising assault. A female character is only introduced is she poses an opportunity for Geralt as someone to fuck. Even the "powerful" female character Yennefer (whom I loved in the games) is treated like shit. I find it disturbing how her main motivation as a character is to regain the ability to have children. This was already uncomfortable from the beginning but then you get lines like this (talking about losing her fertility): "I paid with everything I had... Nothing remained." Because if a woman is no longer able to have kids she is basically worthless right?
Profile Image for Laura Tenfingers.
562 reviews88 followers
February 16, 2022
Inconsistent quality of stories and Geralt is nowhere near as good of a broody badass as he was in The Last Wish. The kiss of death that brought it down to 2-stars was the extreme objectification of women.

Every woman we meet is described based on her beauty, lack thereof, or her breasts and shapely legs. Got old with the very first one. And he was quite uncharitable in his descriptions. One would have been beautiful if she would keep her mouth closed. Another one
had gorgeous, utterly perfect breasts. Only the colour spoiled the effect; the nipples were dark green and the aureolas around them were only a little lighter.

It was completely unnecessary and added nothing to the story, plus alienates female readers by being obviously written with only a male audience in mind.

I did enjoy the last two stories: 'Sword of Destiny' and 'Something More'.

I absolutely couldn't stand 'A Shard of Ice' where Geralt acts like a lovesick teenager fighting over Yennefer with Istredd, also acting like a douche, and Yennefer is portrayed as the hyperdesirable megaslut. The whole thing was out of character, pointless and pathetic.

If you're out to read the whole series I'd still recommend it but beware.
Profile Image for Deborah Obida.
673 reviews602 followers
January 19, 2020

Chaos is aggression, Order is protection against it.


Still awesome! I was so scared this won't live up to the first book/novellas but I was wrong, I so do not agree with most folks on this, this book is as good as The Last Wish, some characters like Dandelion and Yennefer that was introduced in that novella made more appearances here. Not to mention Ciri the child of promise, I cannot wait to see what happens in the next book.

Just like the first book this book is written jn Geralt's narrative, I really loved the novella that Geralt met Ciri and the one with the doppler, I really felt bad for the creature, to be hated for something you can't change sucks. I just have one issue with one of the stories Sacrifice everyone's hair was been ruffled by the wind it was so annoyingly repetitive.

In the morning each of them was going to go their own way; in search of something they already had. But they did not know they had it, they could not even imagine it. They could not imagine where the roads they were meant to set off on the next morning would lead. Each of them travelling separately.

The world building and writing is as great as that of the first book, I hope this continues as I start the initial series.

‘Then tell him… Tell him to dry up!’
‘What did she say?’
‘She told you,’ the Witcher translated, ‘to go drown yourself.’


Profile Image for Natalie Monroe.
591 reviews3,541 followers
May 17, 2020
“The only thing that everyone is destined for is death. Death is the other blade of the two-edged sword. I am the first blade. And the second is death, why he dogs my footsteps.”


Unpopular opinion: the show is better than the books.

Show Yennefer is my favorite character. A friend of mine complained that she's too greedy and entitled and is never satisfied however much power she gains. I view her as ambitious and that can turn people off because she is absolutely unapologetic about it. She's an unlikable heroine, but relatable—or at least to me—because we know her backstory and understand her.



Book Yennefer is plain unlikable. We only see her through Geralt's perspective, so she gives off a Pixie Girl vibe. She is gorgeous, powerful, and unattainable. The same characteristics that empower Show Yennefer make Book Yennefer unsympathetic because we never see her side.

The book seems slightly misogynist as well. People have said that about the A Song of Ice & Fire series, but I disagree due to the nuanced female characters and perspectives. The Witcher series, with its sole male POV and sexist universe, cannot say the same.

My review of The Last Wish
Profile Image for Dannii Elle.
2,032 reviews1,422 followers
June 8, 2020
This is the second prequel short story collection that begins The Witcher series.

Like the former anthology, this follows Witcher, Geralt. Unlike the former anthology it largely deviates from detailing his work and the many beasts, creatures, and magical beings that roam these lands, and instead focuses on more personal topics, including his relationships with women and his preoccupation with one female in particular.

I found I appreciated the contents of this one less as it did not contain the scenes of magic and bloodshed that I was anticipating but it was interesting to get to know this elusive witcher a little better. I also loved how, just like in The Last Wish, the stories were interconnected to make a chronological history of Geralt's life. I think I'm ready to move onto the full works in this series, now though.
Profile Image for Mogsy (MMOGC).
2,028 reviews2,605 followers
December 17, 2015
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum http://bibliosanctum.com/2015/12/17/a...

Sword of Destiny is a collection of short stories featuring Geralt of Rivia, and it is actually the second book in The Witcher sequence. But because the English editions of the series’ first three full-length novels were released before this one (not to mention I was also pretty adamant about waiting for the audiobook, which wasn’t released until December 2015), I had to read it out of order.

Now that I’ve completed the book though, so much is finally falling into place! Sword of Destiny bridges the events between the end of The Last Wish (the first short story collection) and Blood of Elves (the first novel of the series), making it a must-read for fans of The Witcher. Even if you’re not a “short story person”, picking it up is absolutely essential if you want to get the full picture.

The book opens with “The Bounds of Reason”, a story about a good old-fashioned dragon hunt. Well, things begin innocently enough, anyway. Geralt and his friend Dandelion get together with a group of adventurers to investigate rumors of a rare gold dragon. They eventually come across the creature, only to be met with some pretty big surprises! Geralt is true to form, stepping up and proving himself to be someone you want to root for. Yennefer, one of the series’ major characters, also makes an appearance. This was a great story to start the collection, with lots of action and a healthy dose of humor. I also enjoyed the classic quest narrative…with a twist.

The second story is “A Shard of Ice”, which I admit I didn’t enjoy quite as much. It’s not a typical short story, with not much of a plot, instead centering its focus on the romantic relationship between Geralt and Yennefer. Still, I liked how it revealed more about both characters, how they are both flawed people with plenty of cracks and vulnerabilities in their defenses. How can two people be so right and yet so wrong for each other at the same time?

The collection continues with “Eternal Flame”. In my opinion, this is another rather ho-hum tale, though it certainly had its moments. Geralt and Dendelion are up to their shenanigans again, heading back into the city to visit a friend, only to discover that he has been replaced by a mischievous doppelganger. It was a fun story, but ultimately I didn’t find it very memorable, and overall it didn’t add to the narrative in any meaningful way.

Next up is “A Little Sacrifice”, and I have to say, this story is where the audiobook excels. There’s a good reason why I choose audio format for this series, and that’s because narrator Peter Kenny is awesome—but more on that later. In this story, we get a twisted little take on The Little Mermaid. A duke and a mermaid fall in love and Geralt is hired as a translator to negotiate the terms of their relationship. The results are as hilarious as you would expect, and funnier still, the mermaid “language” involves singing the words. Peter Kenny rises to the occasion, delivering the lines the way they were meant to be spoken—in sing-song. Major points to him for that, because I have a feeling very few other narrators would have made the effort. This story made me laugh a lot, but it isn’t all humor either; Geralt reacts unexpectedly to another woman’s affections, realizing how his relationship with Yennefer has changed and affected him.

Finally, we come to the most crucial story, “The Sword of Destiny.” Geralt is tasked to meet with the Dryads, and while traveling through their forest, major events come to pass which will forever change his life. This is perhaps the most important story to read in this collection, as it is the one that introduces Ciri, the lost princess of Cintra. She plays a huge role in the rest of the series, and Geralt’s first meeting with her is not to be missed. As watershed moments go, it was a pretty good one.

There’s one more story left, and that’s “Something More”, aptly named because it is like an addendum to the previous story, reaching back to link Geralt’s past with his present and future. It also references more of the fairy tales and myths that make this world so fascinating. Geralt sustains a grievous injury after one of his harrowing battles, and he drifts in and out of consciousness during his long recovery, flashing back to memories and regrets from the past. This last story is a very powerful and touching one, a perfect end this collection. It ties things up neatly, and the final scene is enough to bring any Witcher fan to tears.

All in all, Sword of Destiny is a fine collection of tales, though as most collections go, it is not without its ups and downs. Nevertheless, it is an essential part of The Witcher series, especially the last few stories. Now that it is out, I highly recommend reading the books in order. This one in particular covers a lot of the events before Blood of Elves. The audiobook release schedule has also now caught up to the print release schedule, which is great news because I can’t imagine experiencing these books any other way. For me, Peter Kenny has become the voice of this series, and I look forward to hearing him narrate the next novel The Swallow’s Tower.
Profile Image for Edward.
361 reviews908 followers
January 29, 2020
Check out my review for Sword of Destiny by Andrzej Sapkowski on Grimdark Magazine here: Grimdark Magazine

Sword of Destiny is a slavic fantasy book that contains the brilliance captured by the video game series, as well as the repertoire of characters that Andrej Sapkowski has at his disposal. This second collection of short stories in the world of the Witcher is a book that those who enjoyed the first collection, will love, as it brings more of the same.

’What a hideous smile I have, Geralt thought, reaching for his sword. What a hideous face I have, and how hideously I squint. So, is that what I look like? Damn’

Geralt is such a great character, we have now had two whole books to get to know him as a Witcher, and understand his motives and background. Sword of Destiny does a good job of building upon the foundations of his character, lain by The Last Wish. Although still a short story collection, the development of Geralt is satisfying and evident much more in this volume. These chapters are linked, through characters that appear in multiple short stories, and Geralt’s engagement with them creates a fun experience.

Geralt’s cool-rating went up and up with each conversation, his witty and intelligent self shining in this collection. However, what frustrated me was his bumbling and pretty strange character when in the company of Yennefer, though maybe I’m still too used to the Geralt from the Witcher 3.

‘Don’t teach me how to trade you prat’

The stories in Sword of Destiny contained some fantastic examples of fantasy done at it’s highest, with dragons, dwarves, shape-shifters and doppelgängers, ferocious monsters and high-magic. The variety ensures that you will love at least one of the stories and enjoy most of them. I loved how different each story was, with their own morals and messages they portrayed. This is one of Sapkowski’s many strengths, where he carves a small book into a unique experience that challenges your ideas. The realisation that this is a fantasy book is pushed to the back of your mind, where it can also be perceived as a social commentary regarding issues that are still relevant today.

Also there’s swords. Lots of different swords. It’s pretty awesome, and the action is well-done, however rare. The dialogue was a big step-up in this second chapter, and the exchanges between characters was enjoyable and fun. Dandelion comes into his own in this, showing the many layers of his character (more layers than Shrek!). I also enjoyed the introduction of Ciri, a character so central to the Witcher 3. Although it was equally amusing and shocking to listen to the narrater’s thick Scottish portrayal of her.

’Has anyone ever told you that you are gorgeous?’

4/5 - A similar but satisfying continuation of the Witcher series. A step-up from The Last Wish that delivers emotionally and physically punching stories. The variety keeps you on your toes, and the development is good. Geralt is still a very cool guy, and I look forward to beginning the full novels of these soon.
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