Author: Andrzej Sapkowski
American release date: August 27, 2013
Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Fantasy/352 pages
Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★
Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes
Geralt is still tracking Rience, and goes to the law offices of Codringher and Fenn, seeking information. He learns that a sorcerer may or may not be controlling Rience, who may or may not be in the service of Nilfgaard. Also, King Foltest is searching for a certain princess. But he has been provided evidence, by a certain specialist, that the princess is, alas, no more, having died three years before of diphtheria in a refugee camp. What does Child of the Elder Blood mean?
Yennefer is riding, along with Ciri, to the Conclave of Mages on the Isle of Thanedd. Hopefully they can do something to end the war, as Nilfgaard is determined to consume everything in its path, and is doing a fine job of it so far. Ciri knows Yennefer is anxious to meet up with Geralt, despite all her protestations to the contrary, which becomes obvious when she stops along at the way at a dwarf bank and asks if there are any letters for her. No letters, but the dwarf Giancardi has interesting information regarding taxation which leads to an understanding of who is backing whom in the current crisis. Ciri begins to realize that Yennfer intends to dump her off at a school. When the sorceress and the banker have secretive business to discuss, Ciri is sent to explore the town of Gors Velen with a junior clerk, Fabio Sachs. Ciri discovers that the school, Aretuza, is not far from there, on the isle of Thanedd, which she can see from the city. On her return, Ciri meets some old friends of Yennefer.
Having learned where Geralt was last seen, Ciri decides to postpone school and runs away to find him. Dandelion is in Hirundum, waiting for Geralt, observing the proceedings, as is his way. No doubt intending to write an epic song or two. Even Dandelion has no idea why Geralt wants to meet him there and won’t go to the Isle of Thanedd, even though he obviously wants to. Soon, three people meet there, in search of one another. When push comes to shove, will Ciri choose the Witcher or the witch?
Brought together by Ciri, Geralt agrees to accompany Yennefer to the banquet at the Conclave. It’s only natural for people to be curious about him, and for certain sorceresses to attempt to seduce him. Geralt makes the rounds and meets many people. Geralt ends up spending the night with Yennefer. And because he has a modicum of manners when it comes to relieving himself, the course of events is unexpectedly changed as all hell breaks loose on Thanedd.
Why is Nilfgaard the aggressor in this all-encompassing war? Simple greed, or something more? As is usual at such times, there are those who fight back and those who bow down and those who refuse to take a stand for what is right. Geralt could never be one of those, and neither could Ciri. I’m not so sure about Yennefer. I think she only has her own interests at heart and I’m suspicious of her, especially as regards Geralt and Ciri. Frankly, I think he has terrible taste, at least when it comes to her, for I see nothing to recommend her. Having seen her backstory in the series, I can tell how ruthless and cold she is and I do not trust her at all, and neither do I like her. Ciri is more of a blank canvas, but as her “picture” begins to fill in, I see potential in her. Dandelion is, as usual, a delight. He may not be the brightest man in the land, but he has a good heart. Even if Geralt isn’t overly fond of his singing. Regardless, he’s a good friend to Geralt, the best he has.
This volume of the Witcher series is chock full of intrigue, and it’s really hard to keep track of the players without a score card. Alas, none is provided, so one must muddle through the best one can. It’s still less complicated than the Ice and Fire series, which provided a glossary in the back of each volume. Ciri becomes stronger with each book, and this one is no exception as she finds herself having to survive being portaled to who knows where. She is more resourceful than many young girls of her age, and I have no doubt, she will survive and play a great part in what is to come. Perhaps in the downfall of Nilfgaard itself.
Wheels within wheels within wheels. Alliances forming and breaking. Everywhere death, destruction, and utter chaos. Which tends to bring out a great deal in the worst of people, human and not. Another great book in the series, looking forward to more of the same.