Blood of Elves – Andrzey Sapkowski

Blood of elves

Published: 1 August 2009
Publisher: Gollancz
Pages: 315
Series: The Witcher Book 1
Format Read: Physical + Audio

Blurp:

Geralt, the witcher of Rivia, is back – and this time he holds the fate of the whole land in his hands …For more than a hundred years, humans, dwarves, gnomes and elves lived together in relative peace. But times have changed, the uneasy peace is over and now the races once again fight each other – and themselves: dwarves are killing their kinsmen, and elves are murdering humans and elves, at least those elves who are friendly to humans …Into this tumultuous time is born a child for whom the witchers of the world have been waiting. Ciri, the granddaughter of Queen Calanthe, the Lioness of Cintra, has strange powers and a stranger destiny, for prophecy names her the Flame, one with the power to change the world – for good, or for evil …Geralt, the witcher of Rivia, has taken Ciri to the relative safety of the Witchers’ Settlement, but it soon becomes clear that Ciri isn’t like the other witchers. As the political situation grows ever dimmer and the threat of war hangs almost palpably over the land, Geralt searches for someone to train Ciri’s unique powers. But someone else has an eye on the young girl, someone who understand exactly what the prophecy means – and exactly what Ciri’s power can do. This time Geralt may have met his match.

Thoughts:

Honest thought number 1 here is that the person that wrote this blurp clearly read a different book because the shit that is written up top is not as clear as it all seems to be over there… Unpopular opinion time, this is Dave, bringing you the whats hot and what’s not in all the latest Witcher craze out there joined with me are m four co hosts; MilouSpalanz and Jenn. Let me start with saying thank you for being along for the ride. I promise we can start the next book soon… Please bare with me as I did not take notes when reading and read this book quite a while ago so this review might be all over the place.

Getting back to that blurp, Geralt is SUPPOSED to be a Witcher, a legendary character that goes from town to town to take care of unwanted pests, pests that can range from Neckers through to Vampires. Where we saw a little of that in the short stories leading up to this “Book 1” we again do not see an awful lot of monster slaying and yet I was oke with it. I was still playing The Witcher 3 on my days coming back from work and having the book read to me while I was working did put a lot of things into perspective. I do not know how it is for people who have not played the games before, but as far as I know Spalanz only ever heard of it, but is having a blast with the books too, which is a good thing. Milou has watched me play some of the game as well as saw the sex scene that gets referenced in on of the short story books that involves a stuffed Unicorn (no the Unicorn does not get stuffed, but there is stuffing going on on top of it…), I do not know for sure what she makes of it, but the fact that we can go through the series together makes it all the more special to me, especially if the books suck.

Let me get the rating out of the way and then we can see why I scored it the way I did. Blood of Elves got a 3 out of 5 on GoodReads.

I did not hate it, I was just confused as to where the person that wrote the blurp got his information from. Does the English translation stand up to that of the original language it was written in? Or are we of the English persuasion getting a watered down version of it? Geralt does not do that much monster slaying, he kills, or rather, battles one sea creature in the whole novel and that was that. For the rest of it he is just a sort of observer in showing us how the world he lives in is put together, even though the world building happens through long two or three person conversations. Geralt also does take out his sword a few more times and when that happens it was very well done.

There is a lot of women after a piece of Geralt. The book starts of with Triss coming to Kear Moren in the help of the training of Ciri. Triss gets horny, at least nothing happens as Geralt is not even in the room when it happens. And then there is the hate love relationship that Yennefer and Geralt has. Geralt is like a puppy when he comes into contact with her, yet it´s not like he goes looking for her at any point. They`ll end up running some errand in the same town, Geralt will get a wiff of LILAC AND GOOSEBERRIES and just knows there might be a chance that he and YEN gets it on. We are at least spared too much vulgarities. At least.

One other thing that I kept seeing with this novel was the fact that it did not read as a novel should. It was a mixture between short story but shorts, following on one another to tell a greater whole. I was not expecting that as I thought after Sword of Destiny we were done with shorts for a bit. Here is where I am lead to believe that that is going to be how the series goes from here on out. Nothing will have a point A too Z part, some things will just follow on one another and we as readers will be responsible for filling in the blanks. I am oke with that so far as I have heard it said often that Sapkowski screwed with his own time lines and, let´s face it, after reading the amounts of Warhammer novels I have had so far (which is not nearly enough yet) I am kinda used to that way of story telling. Does not mean I have to like it though.

ne pet peave I already stated in a previous review was that at certian points Geralt is not even in the story of the series that is supposed to be about him. He is more of a mouth piece, or observer of the times than he actively partakes in. I am quite amazed after finishing Whitcher 3 that the people at CD Project Red, the developer of the game, could turn the books into the masterpiece it was/is and will be for a few more years to come. There is a lot going on and one has to pay quite close attention to some of it as there is world building and a quite complex political story going on, but that all takes place within conversations on the fly and discussions between members often more than four exchanging their observations. I have to say I do like the political side of things. I got more out of the story there than through the whole book as to what was exactly going one. Geralt who is supposed to be a smart Witcher plays really dumb as he does not see or does not believe the treasure he has before him. But here is hoping he will be clued in soon…

One thing that I did let up on a little was my hatered for Yennefer, yeah she can be an insufferal bitch at times, but she is a powerful mage and she knows exactly what she wants. The last part of the book where she has taken on tutoring Ciri redeemed her in my eyes somewhat. I understand her better. The best parts for me still are where Geralt and Ciri are together. That and the part with a character called Yarpen Zigrin, a dwarf (or was it a gnome?) who is not afraid to speak his mind. I did have a decent time with this book even though I have a lot of negative things to say about it. Maybe I was not prepared as well as I thought I was, but then again there is theWitcher 3 game that helped me out so much.

For now, I am going to leave it at that. This book was a beautiful mess…

Till next time.

19 thoughts on “Blood of Elves – Andrzey Sapkowski

  1. Your reviews, amongst other, have convinced me that these books are not for me. I don’t do videogames so I don’t have that draw either.
    I am glad that this got a 3star from you though. Nothing worse than slogging through a book and ending up disliking it…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Its not bad, but definitely not for everyone. One thing that naga at me is the question if it reads better in its original language. The translation as far as i am concerned os no where near as bad as Metro was. Just curious if Poitre or Ola would be able to answer that question.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m very sad to say that the English translation is apparently rubbish. The episodic nature of the storytelling will continue, though bit less pronounced than in Blood of Elves, with more characters thrown in the mix, but the general timeline is quite solid. I’d warn you to get ready for the fact that the main 5 book saga is more about Ciri than Geralt ;). I just feel dismayed by the fact that the English translation is so bad, because the Polish original is written really well, in a unique style that fits the story rather nicely. Ah, well, the milk is spilled already, no use crying over it 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thought as much. Thank you for clarifying that Ola. That it is mostly about Ciri os fine. The fact that she trains to be a witcher herself is understandable then when it comes to the title. Wish i understood Polish now…

      Liked by 2 people

      1. That would be cool 🙂 I generally believe English is better suited for genre literature, but this is one fantasy series I love & think part of why it’s great is how Sapkowski plays with our language. Most of our stuff is just an attempt to apply universal cliches to Polish, this has some added value that perhaps best translates into other Slavic languages.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I think I enjoyed this one more than the rest of the group, but I agree its structure makes it difficult. There was a lot of interesting background, particularly with the elves, and the bit with the politics near the end seems to have been far more important than I gave it credit for! But I see that the English translation can be blamed for a lot of the points I found to be negatives, so I guess I need to slacken off a bit.

    Agreed, though: if this is about The Witcher, why isn’t he doing any Witching? Hm.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. As I see it, the short stories introduce him as a witcher. His story in the novels are more about how he transcends this role and learns to be more… human? Well, humans aren’t all that nice in this universe… so… humane?

        Liked by 1 person

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