Blood Of Elves by Andrzej Sapkowski is the first book in the canonical Witcher saga, a fantasy world where Geralt a supernatural warrior protects and fights for the weak against fearsome beasts; monsters, dragons and elves.
Geralt has been charged with the protection of Princess Cirilla or ‘Ciri’ of Cintra whose home and city was sacked by the wrath of the Nilfgaardians. Geralt takes Ciri, our strong willed heroine on many adventures where she learns the way of the Witcher.
This novel feels like a coming of age story as it is mostly told from Ciri’s perspective. As Ciri grows, learns to fight and discovers hidden secrets about her abilities, she comes to realize how rife with conflict the world is. She discovers the power of ignorance in breeding hatred and fear. Hatred towards Witchers who are to many unnatural and ungodly beings. And tensions running high between Elves and Men.
I love Sapkowski’s story-telling. He sets the scene brilliantly placing you firmly in the moment with the characters. The story has a strong political element, mostly in the form of dialogue between the leaders of the four Kingdoms. But at times these exchanges felt too drawn out and uninteresting.
As much as I enjoy Sapkowski’s unique characterisation, some characters seemed completely redundant, contributing little to the story such as Triss Merigold whose only purpose was to identify Ciri’s special abilities and, as with Yennefer, fawn all over Geralt. Even Yennefer’s character seemed a bit more pacified in comparison to the non-canonical The Last Wish.
Blood Of Elves is a very distinctive fantasy with a mature edge. It has all the winning attributes of prophecies, epic battles and magic. I’m still loving this series and can’t wait for the next part; Time Of Contempt!
Because I, Yarpen Zigrin, coward, traitor and renegrade, state that we should not kill each other. I state that we ought to live. Live in such a way that we don’t, later, have to ask anyone for forgiveness.”
It will be reborn of the Elder blood…of the seed that has been sown. A seed which will not sprout but will burst into flame. Thus it shall be!…I say unto you: first the earth will flow with the blood of Aen Seidhe, the Blood of Elves…”
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