Michelle's Reviews > The Tower of Swallows

The Tower of Swallows by Andrzej Sapkowski
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it was ok
bookshelves: witcherverse

I really really want to love this book, but the honest truth is that --this one is really not that great. “The Tower of Swallows is a difficult book to define, or even to recap. The writing feels lost: ambling around without direction, constantly jumping scenes, and forgetting about Geralt altogether about half-way through the book.

Of note, “The Tower of Swallows” isn't really about the eponymous witcher, Geralt of Rivia. Most real estate is devoted to Ciri telling the story of how she escaped Bonhart, a deeply menacing bounty hunter of unclear motivations; his erstwhile employer, Nilfgaardian coroner Stefan Skellen; and the Archmage Vilgefortz, who appears to be the series' main antagonist. Eventually she leaves her hiding place to make her way to the tower, followed by said pursuers, who are determined to catch her before she can enter the tower and reassume her powers. Geralt and his companions, meanwhile, are trying to make their way to Ciri or to where they believe she might be. Yennefer and Triss are also on Ciri's path, albeit on different timelines, and likely for different reasons.

The character narratives are not always linear, or even told straightforwardly in the close third person favored by the genre. Yennefer's story, for example, is told over several timelines, with crucial parts related by individuals who may not be reliable narrators. More often than not, the stylistic gambit works, but there are instances in which “The Tower of Swallows” would have benefitted from more conventional plotting. For example, there is far too much space given to the spy Dijkstra's visit to a far-flung (and newly introduced) kingdom--a plot point that doesn't really develop and, frankly, isn't necessary. Sometimes the same event is narrated by different narrators from different times. Then there's this build up that always starts with the same words and goes nowhere: "if someone looked into the cottage, they would have seen an ashen haired girl…” It says it like 7 times, and it's a full paragraph of text. Every time I read it, it heightens my anticipation for bigger things to come -- but nothing ever happens! It feels like Andrzej Sapkowski got bored, and just decided to jump around and experiment with the story from different angles --then decided to throw the whole mess together and call it a book.

It's also worth noting the gratuitous violence --the most I have encountered in series so far. Without spoiling too much, there's a great deal of focus on torture and humiliation during certain sequences, and though it has its purpose -- was uncomfortable to read.

Just as it gets interesting, it abruptly ends. There's little resolution, and half the characters are lost in limbo. Who knows where the hell Geralt is?! I get that it's trying to set up the next book, but the ending scene is strangely flat. There's little to suggest doom or hope --it just ends. This is, by far, the weakest book in the series. “Time of Contempt” was another tier of quality. I still think this is a superb series, and I hope “Lady of The Lake” will be a worthy finale.
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Reading Progress

May 28, 2017 – Started Reading
May 28, 2017 – Shelved
May 31, 2017 – Finished Reading
September 23, 2018 – Shelved as: witcherverse

Comments Showing 1-3 of 3 (3 new)

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Jason Glad I'm not the only one feeling this way, I'm about a third of the way through the book and I'm just really starting to drag through it and it's kind of confusing and I'm glad it's not just me, surprised at the overall high score of this particular book


Michelle Jason wrote: "Glad I'm not the only one feeling this way, I'm about a third of the way through the book and I'm just really starting to drag through it and it's kind of confusing and I'm glad it's not just me, s..."

I think this was the weakest installment of the series. I hope you are enjoying your current read, Jason!


Ashish Kumar Truly said. All characters except Ciri and Geralt’s team were underdeveloped. From where Bonhart came no one knows and what’s his motive for killing witchers. There is very trifle info about his history.
I’m going to finish this series for Ciri.


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