Sword of Destiny is a slavic fantasy book that contains the brilliance captured by the video game series, as well as the repertoire of characters that Andrzej Sapkowski has at his disposal. This second collection of short stories in the world of the Witcher is a book that those who enjoyed the first collection, will love, as it brings more of the same.
’What a hideous smile I have, Geralt thought, reaching for his sword. What a hideous face I have, and how hideously I squint. So, is that what I look like? Damn’
Geralt is such a great character, we have now had two whole books to get to know him as a Witcher, and understand his motives and background. Sword of Destiny does a good job of building upon the foundations of his character, lain by The Last Wish. Although still a short story collection, the development of Geralt is satisfying and evident much more in this volume. These chapters are linked, through characters that appear in multiple short stories, and Geralt’s engagement with them creates a fun experience.
Geralt’s cool-rating went up and up with each conversation, his witty and intelligent self shining in this collection. However, what frustrated me was his bumbling and pretty strange character when in the company of Yennefer, though maybe I’m still too used to the Geralt from the Witcher 3.
‘Don’t teach me how to trade you prat’
The stories in Sword of Destiny contained some fantastic examples of fantasy done at it’s highest, with dragons, dwarves, shape-shifters and doppelgängers, ferocious monsters, and high-magic. The variety ensures that you will love at least one of the stories and enjoy most of them. I loved how different each story was, with their own morals and messages they portrayed. This is one of Sapkowski’s many strengths, where he carves a small book into a unique experience that challenges your ideas. The realisation that this is a fantasy book is pushed to the back of your mind, where it can also be perceived as a social commentary regarding issues that are still relevant today.
Also there’s swords. Lots of different swords. It’s pretty awesome, and the action is well-done, however rare. The dialogue was a big step-up in this second chapter, and the exchanges between characters was enjoyable and fun. Dandelion comes into his own in this, showing the many layers of his character (more layers than Shrek!). I also enjoyed the introduction of Ciri, a character so central to the Witcher 3. Although it was equally amusing and shocking to listen to the narrater’s thick Scottish portrayal of her.
‘Has anyone ever told you that you are gorgeous?’
4/5 – A similar but satisfying continuation of the Witcher series. A step-up from The Last Wish that delivers emotionally and physically punching stories. The variety keeps you on your toes, and the development is good. Geralt is still a very cool guy, and I look forward to beginning the full novels of these soon.