Time Of Contempt was written by author Andrzej Sapkowski and originally published in 1995 in the Polish language. It was published in English in 2014 by Gollancz. It is the second novel in the Witcher saga.
Synopsis: The scene is being set for the gathering of the Conclave of Mages, where sorcerers throughout the four kingdoms will gather on the Isle of Thanedd to discuss political affairs and the threat of war from the land of Nilfgaard. Meanwhile a rebellion is brewing that will divide the Council concerning the fate of Ciri, an exiled princess, Witcher-in-training and prophetic child of the Elder blood.
The premise of this story inspires excitement with lots of promising build-up that ultimately fails to deliver. I believe the first part of the story was a lot stronger than the second part as it seemed to have a lot more coherence as opposed to the events that took place after the Conclave of Mages where the execution of the plot became very erratic, with different story arcs cropping up haphazardly.
The other-worldly quality of the story was it’s only redeeming quality in my opinion, being a reader partial to the fantasy genre. If you love stories about, sorcery, witches, monsters and elves, you’ll be glad to know that this book has them in abundant supply, which I found really transported me into its fabled world.
I also enjoyed the occasions of dry wit and cunning that was mostly predominant in the first part of the book. This fantasy story has a more mature edge in that respect and also in its allusion to politics. However, I also had a problem with the tonal inconsistencies of the book, where the light-humored tone and the comic relief seemed to conflict with the darker tone rather than complement it.
Time Of Contempt was overall an underwhelming story which is unfortunate considering how much I enjoyed the first two books. I thought the first part of the novel was paced really well, adding just the right amount of build-up to the plot and I also enjoyed reading about the family dynamic between Geralt, Yennefer and Ciri. But due to the erratic story arcs that became more prevalent as things progressed, it felt like the story lacked any cohesion and for that reason I rate Time Of Contempt..
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