Ben's Reviews > The Time of Contempt

The Time of Contempt by Andrzej Sapkowski
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really liked it
bookshelves: fantasy

This was certainly an improvement on Blood of the Elves. I enjoyed the escalation of the plot, and the cynical humor. The Witcher series is a character drama played out against a high fantasy background, and that can sometimes put the books tone at odds with it's plot. So while the book does get a high rating from me on the strength of its characters, I do have a few complaints.

A lot of time is dedicated to describing the names of powerful political actors and the various entities, organizations, and/or countries they represent. We will find out as the book goes on that basically all of them are very stupid and/or evil. I'm not really sure who we're supposed to be rooting for. We know that Nilfgaard are the bad guys because they were mean to Ciri, but the alliance that Nilfgaard is fighting is also engaging in a systematic genocide of non-humans. The good news is that conundrum won't be with us very long because everyone who isn't Nilfgaard is as incompetent as they are evil.

I also can't decide what I think of the way that Sapkowski organizes a plot. The Witcher reads a lot like a book written by someone whose main literary influences are television. We bounce not just between character perspectives, but also between time. Whole chunks of the plot are given via screenplay-style flashbacks where Dandelion relates a past event to Geralt, but we see the event play out in real-time. The only indication that this is a flashback is double spacing. Also it's not really a proper flashback because Dandelion wasn't actually present for any of the events that he's describing. I guess he's imagining them. It's not a technique I've seen used in a lot of other books, but I see it often in visual media. It seems like a short cut rather than an intentional creative decision. Basically Sapkowski has realized that none of our main characters actually have anything to do with the plot, so here's some short segments on what's been happening around the world.
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Reading Progress

May 25, 2020 – Started Reading
May 25, 2020 – Shelved
May 25, 2020 – Shelved as: fantasy
June 26, 2020 – Finished Reading

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