This is for the audiobook. Possible Spoilers Ahead
I came to this series through the Witcher video games, so I was vaguely familiar the world. I played all the way through Witcher 2 which picks up before this novel, and Witcher 3 which is after this novel. It is because of those video games that I tried this novel out.
What I noticed was the world was even richer in the book. I really like the in depth writing about Geralt, Ciri and Yennifer. Magic made more sense after reading the book, and an appreciation for Geralt was even better. Hearing his thoughts and seeing him interact with Ciri and Yennifer changed a lot of my perspective from the game. I think when I go play the DLC for Witcher 3 it will be even better. I still like hooking up with Triss better than how the book works and I still Yennifer is still cold and distant and I don’t like her, but the infighting between Geralt, Yennifer and Triss makes more sense.
The book itself is will be very slow for most people. Coming from the video game I expected the book to have a lot more action and adventure. It is actually a lot more talking and passive interaction between characters. I don’t think this is bad in itself it was just a surprise and I think it would have been better served to have a quicker pace, or a more ruthless editor.
The writing itself is very dense. The author likes to use in-world languages and then translate them and it throws things off. I realize for “realism” there would be other languages, but this is probably the most extreme situation like this. I grew a bit tired of listening to the author first have a character say something in a language I didn’t know, then translate it and say it again.
I also haven’t figured it out if its so distracting and ponderous because the way the novel itself is written, or if its because it is a translation from Polish, or because it is an audible book of a translation of a book that is already too dense. Either way the writing does lose some of the steam it built in other areas.
Overall I appreciated the book. I will probably still get the second book but I won’t hurry to it. If you can get this book on sale, then I would recommend it, otherwise just play the video game.