The Time of Contempt by Andrzej Sapkowski
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
You know, when I come right down to this series, like any other epic fantasy I've read, it all hangs on how much I get into the characters.
No matter what kind of action sequences come around or how much cool magic gets thrown in our faces or what kind of war blows up, I'm still tied up in my love of Geralt, Yennifer, and Ciri. When things get dark and the contempt surrounds everyone, I'm rooting for them. And the bard, too. :) And little miss unrequited. :)
After that point, I'm honestly amazed at how well I received this novel inside my head. Its structure and the way it flits from several different storytelling styles, its truly surprising (and awesome) jabs in the plot, and the wicked turns that come about later make me rather want to scream. But that's only because this book DOES NOT FOLLOW NORMAL STRUCTURE. Then again, neither did Blood of Elves. Or the two story collections. The way the tale comes out always keeps me on my toes, keeps everything feeling fresh, and there's no way I can't compare this against so many other epic fantasies, but one thing I CAN say is that it tells stories around corners. You may KNOW something is coming, but Sapkowski truly lulls you into believing that THIS cool scene here is the pinnacle of THIS section, and then he comes right around and slams your head against the table and you're either stunned or you get really pissed or it jerks tears out of you because the SCENE IS JUST TOO FREAKING GORGEOUS.
I'm sure some of you know what I mean. Yennifer and Ciri? As a mirror to a certain queen? OMG that just cut through all my defenses. And then the hits just kept coming and coming.
Yes, this series has a hard world to live in. It's not just hard for the elves, but it's hard for women. But damn, if there aren't a lot of hard women in here hitting back!
The love story. I'm sorry, but I started blubbering like a little baby. I thought it was great in The Last Wish, but this just made me an ugly little mess.
I can't not give a book that affects me the way anything less than a full five stars. It not only holds up well against all these modern epic fantasies, but I see precisely where it blows the previous generation of fantasies out of the water, ushering in everything we now know and love. :)
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