Blood of Elves by Andrzej Sapkowski – A Book Review



For more than a hundred years, humans, dwarves, gnomes and elves lived together in relative peace. But times have changed, the uneasy peace is over and now the races once again fight each other – and themselves: dwarves are killing their kinsmen, and elves are murdering humans and elves, at least those elves who are friendly to humans …

Into this tumultuous time is born a child for whom the witchers of the world have been waiting. Ciri, the granddaughter of Queen Calanthe, the Lioness of Cintra, has strange powers and a stranger destiny, for prophecy names her the Flame, one with the power to change the world – for good, or for evil …

Geralt, the witcher of Rivia, has taken Ciri to the relative safety of the Witchers’ Settlement, but it soon becomes clear that Ciri isn’t like the other witchers. As the political situation grows ever dimmer and the threat of war hangs almost palpably over the land, Geralt searches for someone to train Ciri’s unique powers. But someone else has an eye on the young girl, someone who understand exactly what the prophecy means – and exactly what Ciri’s power can do.

This time Geralt may have met his match.


Author: Andrzej Sapkowski

Publisher: Gollancz

Date Published: 21/05/2009

Page Count: 320

My Chosen Format: Paperback

My Rating of ‘Blood of Elves’: 2 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon UKAmazon US



The Witcher is one of my favourite videogame series (closely behind Assassin’s Creed and Final Fantasy) so it was with massive amounts of excitement that I picked up a copy of ‘Blood of Elves’ and dove right into it.

Never before have I been so happy to start a book yet even happier to finish it. I mean, seriously, I thought I was going to have to DNF this part way through. If it was any longer than it was, I think I just might have. It pains me to have not enjoyed this as it was one of those titles I just knew I was going to enjoy. What do you know, it turns out I don’t know everything.

It started off slow. And when I say slow, I mean ridiculously slow. It seems to take forever to move on from what feels like the first scene. The book seems to be filled with more conversation than anything, conversation that progresses so slowly and, in some cases, loops back on itself that you no longer care what it was they were talking about. One of the worst things about the conversation is that the author uses it in place of describing actions. “I did really well there. Ah, did you see how hard I threw that? And that one went even further.” It just smacked of lazy writing and took me right out of the scene. If the author doesn’t care enough to tell me what’s going on, why should I care about his story?

The book also relies heavily on politics and political intrigue (most of which is explained in such a painfully dull manner that it ceases to be intriguing after the first couple of paragraphs … yet carries on for a good ten to twenty pages.) The main players in the politics game cease to be characters to me and are just names on a page that I continually hope never appear on said page again.

The action, what little there is of it, is very fast-paced and exciting. It’s a shame the author couldn’t apply such traits to his conversations, dull descriptions or politics. I literally cannot remember caring about anything throughout the entire book other than my self-imposed rule of not ‘DNFing’ books if I can help it. When the only driving factor is my own stubbornness, it doesn’t say a great deal for the book. In fact, the only reason I gave it a two instead of a one is because some of the scenes are interesting. For me, a one is only given if everything is terrible or I genuinely can’t finish it.

I may be a tad spoilt by having played the games and can instantly tell that the characters in the books and the characters in the game, even though they are the same characters, do not transfer across well. In the game, they are likeable. In the book, they are anything but. Every character seems bratty and snappy where conversation is concerned and just thoroughly unlikeable as a whole. The only character that seemed in anyway enjoyable to read was Geralt, and he doesn’t appear in the novel nearly as much as I would like. He, and he alone, saved this from a one star rating.

I also keep calling it a novel. I do so purely because that is what it is billed as. What it actually feels like is a series of loosely connected events that just happen between the same front and rear cover. Each chapter spells the end of one of these events and the next chapter gives no indication if it is happening shortly or years thereafter. After the third ‘chapter’ I soon began to lose interest in this style.

I had read the Last Wish (a short story collection in the Witcher Universe) and enjoyed it. That was because it was Geralt plying his trade killing monsters. In this, we see one monster, barely, and there isn’t a whole lot of action. It just felt thoroughly dull.

I really wanted to like this one and am a tad upset that I didn’t. Not sure I’ll be carrying on with the series unless I find them all incredibly cheap/for free. I certainly won’t be paying full price again for a Witcher novel just in case I am in for the same level of tedium. I know I had a similar experience with the first Assassin’s Creed book I read and the following ones turned out to be gems, but I just really don’t have the same feeling about this.

34 thoughts on “Blood of Elves by Andrzej Sapkowski – A Book Review

  1. The Last Wish is pretty good, I enjoyed it. I didn’t think think that this was that bad and read the next one but gave up after that. I did read the standalone last year which was OK but damn, when you’ve played the games the books really aren’t very good. Much rather be playing the game than reading the books.😂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sorry to hear you didn’t enjoy it… I keep wondering whether it’s the matter of translation, or something else, because I wasn’t bored at all with Sapkowski – well, up until The Lady of the Lake 😛
    Not sure about the games, but the books are mostly about Geralt trying to become something other than Witcher, and revolve around questions of fate, free will, and predetermination 😉 And lots of politics 😂😂

    Liked by 2 people

      1. The short stories are my favourites as well – did you read Sword of Destiny? It’s the other tome collecting short stories from Witcher’s world.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Going through both collections first is the first thing any Witcher fan would recommend. Also, the language is an issue, many jokes and references rely on the reader knowing a bit about the history and culture of the region. I’ve seen the translations, and they did not have that feel.

        That being said, I generally like slow-paced, complicated stories that are heavy on politics.

        Also… I don’t like the author himself. And he hates the games. So it’s always a joy to hear from people who prefer games to the novels 😉

        Netflix series will probably be adjusted to modern audience sensibilities, they will certainly work on pacing and try to make Slavic themes more generally understandable… might be great, as long as they keep the original spirit.

        Go to our blog and thrash our review of the entire Saga 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I’ll certainly check your review out when I have a few spare minutes. I also genuinely felt that something must have been lost in translation.

        I don’t think many people like the author due to his attitude. I can’t remember seeing many positive thoughts on him.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I can’t remember is this book 2 or 3? I adored The Last Wish But I do remember book two being much slower. I’ve owned book 3 for two years now and can’t find the energy to pick it up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There are two short story collections that come before this. So technically this is book 3 but it is the first ‘novel’ in the Witcher series.


      Happy to have found your blog. Its rare to come across other sci-fi and fantasy blogs. Mainly YA/Romance by the looks of it on the blogosphere.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. RE: “Its rare to come across other sci-fi and fantasy blogs.”

        I am so happy you found me because I feel exactly the same. I’m happy to interact with any reader, but I’m particularly passionate about adult scifi/fantasy.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. I think I own the first one- I haven’t read it yet but I’m hoping to get to it this year! I have heard that it is one of the best Viking fiction series out there!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I just realized I have the other one- Blood Eye (Raven #1)- but I put Gods of Vengeance on my list! Got any other good recs? Doesn’t have to be vikings.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I also have Blood Eye, not started it yet, though.

        Have you read the Low Town series by Daniel Polanski? That’s good. Its a bit old, but I loved the Jurassic Park novels. Have you get any little gems to suggest?

        Hell Divers is a good sci-fi read. And if you like audio books, Black Ocean is the best 85 hours (16 books) you’ll listen to 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      4. 85 Hours?! I’m dead. Lol. Can I just get one book to try? I LOVE Jurassic Park. I have not read Low Town but I’ll add it to my list!

        When I get home I’ll poke around your blog and see if I can come up with some good recs for you!

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I read both of them! And to be honest, I liked Lost World even better. Crichton is one of the few science fiction authors who was writing strong female characters before most people even realized that was something they wanted.

        I came up with a couple of recs from what I could glean off your reading list!

        Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence- super dark, but so much fun (based on your 5 star rating of Red Sister)

        Similarly- The Grey Bastards by Jonathan French – a fantasy from an Orc perspective. Filthy dirty language, a few plot surprises along the way. Full disclosure- I only gave it 3.5 Stars, but I think I was being super critical. Most of my reading buddies loved it.

        New Moon by Ian McDonald – Again, super dark. It’s got an organized crime thriller feel and it’s set on the Moon. The world building is crazy inventive. It’s blurbed as Game of Thrones in space, and that’s not too far off.

        A few other random ones I can think of: The Grim Company, The Black Company (both mercenary stories with a similar feel to King’s of the Wyld I think), Django Wexler writes a flintlock fantasy I can’t recall the name of that you might like, and if you like Vikings, I can not recommend enough, The Last Kingdom/Saxon Stories by Bernard Cornwell. It’s technically historical fiction but I noticed you had a few of the Sharpe books on your list so I thought I’d toss it in too.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Love historical fiction and believe I read/listened to those a good while back.

        Yes! The Lost World was a far better book. Those camoflauged dinosaurs!

        Didn’t get on with Prince of Thorns but will certainly be looking at the rest for my reading list. Grey Bastards is already on there. Been meaning to try it 😊 Grim Company is something I have heard a lot of good things about.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ll have to see if I can find it! I have a feeling it would take me many months to listen to. I once attempted to audio IT and at 48 hours I only made it to the halfway mark.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Man ive been very hesitant in picking this up. Ive read time of contempt way way back and also did not understand how this sparked the amazing games. But then i had a thought, i thought that this would be better read maybe in the authors original language? I have had similar experiences when it comes to Metro… the english translations just feel a bit of… imagine some publisher actually took the time to propper proofread…

    Liked by 1 person

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