The Sword of Destiny – Andrzej Sapkowski

sword of destiny

Published: 21 May 1992
Publisher: Gollancz
Pages: 383
Series: The Witcher Book 0.7
Format Read: Physical and following on Youtube at work.


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)


In my previous Witcher review I said I wanted more, I am in love (I do not say this easily) with the setting and what the developer CD Project Red has made of the books what the books (so far) only hints at. I have been a fan of the idea of the Witcher for a ver long time and just never gotten around to reading the books. Then two years ago I collected the whole series on two trips to Amsterdam and finally now have started with the book side of things. While there is already a season two on Netflix, an animated film set before the time of Geralt and the three Witcher games that were all massive hits and garnered the most fans world wide in realizing that these books even existed, does not mean that all things within are not flawed. I enjoyed the collected stories in this series, but the book left me a bit underwhelmed and I feel it is the weaker of the “introductory books” before we continue the main series. I say “We” as I am going to be reading the rest of the series with not only Jenn, but also my wife Milou and Mark a.k.a Spalanz. Jenn and I buddy read this one as I only just started the series with one book under belt and and she needed a refresher for the next one in line which I believe we all three will be taking on together in the not too distant future.

On some stories I took down a few notes, for others I have kinda forgotten what they were all about so wont be going into too much detail for each (sorry not sorry)…

These stories take place either during, before, or after key events that follows the main story arc of the series, its a bit of a brain buster to know exactly when it does happen as it has been said that Sapkowski himself contradicts some of his timelines. Having read so far into the Horus Heresy now, I tend to just sit back and let it all happen and try not to feel that it phases me too much, but some things do tend to irk me at times, but that is a me thing and not a book thing. While the latest video game of the witcher has some form of structure in the way the narrative is driven, the book tends to be a bit all over the place at times. I can forgive it for that. Some stories were less fun to get through where other were an absolute joy to read. Sapkowski is still blending his fairy tale re-tellings in with his own world and mythology and that part scores top marks in my opinion. What doesn’t score high is the  characterisation of some of his main characters. If he wrote them to be idiots and adult children then I cannot fault him for that, but if this was the fault of the translation not being up to par then I blame publishers. I do like the portrayal of Geralt in some cases and in others he just looked like an utter idiot. Again if this was the magic of the character being flawed and exerting actual human flaws then I am the idiot for thinking otherwise. Forgive my short character summery in the next paragraph, I wrote it just after the book ended and I have no time for editing, it’s not like I loose sleep over how many people read my thoughts.

Geralt is not really the main character in his own series, he comes across more as an observer in the world he has been created into. A man supposedly shunned by the masses for who or what he is, yet a man not having to reach too far when in need of a friend or help. Yennefer is just pure unadulterated adult bitch child that I would like to just slap into growing up up, yeah, I am a man and slapping a woman is frowned upon so don’t take me too literally, we are talking about fictional characters here. Dandilion is where it’s at if you are just looking to have a few laughs in the bleak world, not that Geralt isn’t without some good oneliners. Ciri was just introduced for the first time in this novel and I am not yet decided upon her. As she is still just a child when she meets Geralt, a princess child at that, I did like the interactions between her and Geralt the most in this anthology.

Where the book blurp talks of Geralt being a monster hunter/slayer, he did not do an awful lot of it in this collection. There was one dragon mentioned and then later some sea creatures, but other than that he dealt more with the notion that humans and basically everything walking on two legs and some form of intellect was a different kind of monster to deal with. I think the charm lies there, while humans are looking for a monster slayer to deal with a curse, a demon, a vampire even, they tend to forget that the interactions they have or the preconceived ideas they have and how they treat Geralt puts them very much in line with the same malicious monsters they themselves want taken care of. The fable of each person being inherently evil becomes apart the deeper and the more interactions Geralt has with them. I do not know if I am putting this book in a bad light, it is not my intention to put shade on it, I actually liked it… It just shows you how confused I can be at times. Shall we maybe look into some of the stories?

Bounds of Reason:

The book starts of with Geralt on a mission to rid a town of Basilisk. Bumps into a guy who calls himself Three Jackdaws, who keeps the villigers trying to steal from his belongings while he is taking care of the basilisk. Not long after Jackdaws and Geralt have a few beers and there is talk of killing a golden dragon. Lots of lore info dumps come rolling from Geralt and I liked that of this story. They later bump into Dandilion who just happens to be around on the of chance that there is a ballad he can write about said dragon. Yennefer then makes an appearance and then just pisses all over my batteries. I do not get, while I do get why Geralt is the way he is around her, I think it has to do with the events of the previous book and The Last wish story in general, but cant really put my finger on it. When Geralt so much as catches a wiff of Lilac and Gooseberries his twelve year old kiddy hormones just rises to the surfes and its Yen this and Yen that, clearly I am not a love story kind of guy… The fact that Yennefer treats him like a lap dog also grates on me, sure strong independent women are not something I try have a problem with, but Yen is just a whole different kind of anus. I have to say, the way the Witcher 3 has portrayed her is pretty spot on so far…

A Shard of Ice:

This was a love triangle story between Yen Geralt and Istreth. Istreth being a person from Yen’s past and a magician. Yen can’t make her mind up about who she likes more. It is common knowledge that being a witcher means one has or does not have feelings. There was a little more depth added to Gerald’s character in this story at least, but it smelled of youngboy sex fantasy too much for me to think about it in any other way. The fact that Yen fucks Geralt, then goes out to fuck magic boy nearly directly afterward also made me like her a whole lot less, call me an idiot. Am I too old for this series???

Eternal Flame:

I just noted that Geralt and Dandilion were in Novigrad and that Novigrad, probably the biggest city in the Witcher world, while the city itself has a lot of character and lore surrounding it, so far in the game it was my least favorite segment as it felt like mostly running from this person to that person a.k.a fetch quests. What this story did have was a doppler, or shapeshiter, called Dudu, this was a pretty neat story, but I cannot remember what exactly happened. Another note also just states that it is handy to know that the Eternal Flame is an organisation or cult/religion that basically hates all things magical and loves burning it’s victims at the stake Salem witches,style. I am thinking Dudu was hiding from them or something.

A little sacrifice:

Geralt plays interperpretor between some baron and a mermaid (siren). He also runs into Essy with whom he shares some akwardnes as well as a one night stand. Story has a lot to do with what the title states. It is also sort of a re telling of the Little Mermaid? In that either the baron needs to grow gills if he wants to be with the mermaid or the mermaid needs to grow legs, but living on land will also mean that she will loose her voice. This was also a pretty cool story apart from the one night stand thing, came out of no where…

Sword of Destiny:

This story in short tells us a small bit of Geralt’s philosophy how he sees himself as walking on the path of Destiny and how Destiny is a double edged blade. Think that was the jist of it apart from giving us a glimpse into some of the main story to come or serving as filler for the main story.

Something more:

This story was where Geralt and Ciri meet, it ties into some other parts of the first anthology as well as give us a small glimpse as to how the main plot of the over all story is going to be. I think, I have not read the other books so I am not the best source of info on all things Witche, yeah I know, shocking…

Overall I enjoyed the book, but I did not enjoy it as much as the first book. I gave this a 3 out of 5 on GR and hope that the next full length novel will make up for it. Hoe is a big word. We will see.

Thank you for your time if you managed to make it this far.

15 thoughts on “The Sword of Destiny – Andrzej Sapkowski

  1. Glad you enjoyed it, even if not all of the stories equally. Yes, the novels will be more focused, and the plot will tighten – what you’ve read so far was more of a preparation, introduction to the world and the main players. Although I myself like the short stories here even more than the novels (and I don’t like the final novel at all, but you have a long way to go before you have to confront yourself with this one…), for reasons explained in our two-part review 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  2. After Jenn’s review I was kind of expecting Salty to take over for you on this one. Glad it turned out better than that 😀

    Good luck on this journey and have fun! I started following Spalanz too 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Nice! Spalanz does a lot of things you might also be interested in. He is still very passionate about some Star Wars stuff. Amd the guy can paint!

      Regarding this review, Salty will not be joining this read, he pursues other avenues. Guy is becoming a very serious reviewer i.m.o. From just being pissed off the whole time to actually helping me take books of of NetGalley. We do still play pranks on one another here and there. Glad to have him on the team.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Great review! For me, one Witcher book was enough. I liked The Last Wish and Sapkowski’s blend of fairy tales with modern writing is interesting. But I feel like I don’t need more of it. It was fun reading about this second introductory novel. Will you continue on with the series?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As a matter of fact i will be continuing the series alongside 3 other bloggers as stated in one of the opening paragraphs. We have no date set for the next book yet, but you can be sure that i’ll continue it. Been wanting to for a long time.


  4. I am sooo interested to see what you guys make of the main arc given that it’s seemed a bit critical from you and Jenn so far on, arguably, the weakest of the three best books in the series in my opinion 😂 I’m actually starting to feel glad I read the prequels after the main arc, as I think I enjoyed them a lot more having slogged through the bad ones 😋 At least the prequels have structure and make sense, something you may appreciate in particular once you read The Lady of the Lake! I am honestly hoping at least one of you will enjoy it enough to be able to explain to me what the fuck happens 🤣

    Liked by 1 person

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