I’ve been reading the second installment of Mr. Sapkowski’s english translated Witcher universe, and I must say that it is quite awesome. It is interesting to read on several fronts, but before I go into why let me explain a little about Andrzej Sapkowski.
Mr. Sapkowski is a Polish fantasy writer of some note in Europe. His books are the foundation for The Witcher games, which are very popular in their own right. His books are slowly being translated and shipped over to the new world, where I (not so)patiently wait. So far just The Last Wish and Blood of Elves are available in English. The third installment, Times of Contempt, is due out sometime in 2012.
The Last Wish is a collection of short stories revolving around a man( the main character in the universe) named Geralt of Rivia. He is in the business of killing
nazis monsters, and business is booming. He is a mutant with white wavy, feathered hair rolling from town to town assassinating monsters and breaking curses. He is the local bad ass; women love him and men want to be him – kind of not really, he is fairly ostracized. At an early age Witchers undergo some upgrades that mutate them into being the million dollar man and because Geralt and by extension his brethren are so good at their jobs, monsters are disappearing at an alarming rate.
The first book rolls across seven short stories that involve the death and/or maiming of some very intriguing and unique monsters. Wrap your head around a half spider – half crocodile, yea that just happened. There is also a Djinn, which is what Genie from Aladdin is loosely based off of, that is essentially a giant floating head. For those who don’t know, Djinn’s are evil and fiery and do horribly evil things.
The second book, Blood of Elves, picks up a little time after the events of the last book. There is a prophecy and a child, fairly standard stuff, but what separates this book above most others for me is the structure and style of the book. I don’t know if it is Sapkowski’s particular style, the translation, or the language that it was written in but the book has a unique flow to it. Some grammatical tenets that are generally avoided are used quite effectively throughout the book. I guess it goes to show that there isn’t really a hard set of rules in writing, the biggest rule is to just be effective. Which this book does in handfuls.
I won’t talk too much about the second book because it would ruin the first book for some people, but I suggest picking it up if only to dissect the differences and structure from how English story telling is done. If that doesn’t interest you then just pick one up and take it for a spin, both are damn good books to start with anyway.