Tag Archives: books

“Sword of Destiny”: The Best Background Book for the Witcher Games

A few years ago, when getting into The Witcher series of video games, I decided to pick up the books too. The games are based on a series of short story collections and novels by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski, and the books provide tons more backstory that the games just throw at you to figure out (not in a bad way). Back then, I read two books: The Last Wish, which is a short story collection that introduces the main character as a lone wolf type, and Blood of Elves, the first of a handful of novels about the witcher.

A couple of months ago I heard that Netflix is going to adapt the books into a new show, which got me on a Witcher kick. I would totally pick up the video games (again!), but I have too much other gaming on my plate right now. So I decided to go back to the books, starting the series over again and continuing on to (hopefully) read all the novels this time.

The best part of this re-exploration of the books? I discovered that I missed one last time! And it’s my favorite so far: a series of short stories called Sword of Destiny, which actually comes between The Last Wish and Blood of Elves.

Here are a few reasons Sword of Destiny is such a memorable read, and why I recommend it most for fans of the games!

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Getting to Know the Witcher in “The Last Wish”

At its heart, The Last Wish is a series of monster stories. The first book in Andrzej Sapkowski’s Witcher series (which CD Projekt RED’s video games are based on), it’s not so much a novel as a line-up of short stories that depict Geralt of Rivia taking on monster-hunting contracts. It feels like reading dark fairy tales, similar to The Bloody Chamber, and the reason is that the monsters aren’t all crazed animals or mythical beasts — they are usually regular men, women, and children who have been cursed.

I read the book a few years ago, when I first got into The Witcher video game series. After hearing that the series is going to be made into a Netflix show, I got onto a Witcher kick and decided to re-read The Last Wish and then continue with the novels that follow. I purchased the audiobook, which is excellent, although I think I prefer reading rather than listening to this series due to the depth of the conversations and world-building. This is a book full of details you don’t want to miss.

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The Future is Weird in J.D. Robb’s “In Death” Series

Lately I’ve been listening to the audiobooks of J.D. Robb’s In Death series. (That’s Nora Roberts, in fact.) It’s a science fiction romance series that’s actually more murder mystery than anything. The main character is Eve Dallas, a homicide detective who falls in love with a billionaire industrialist (or something like that) named Roarke. He also happens to be Irish.

While I wouldn’t recommend this series to just anyone — you need to enjoy romance, and expect entertainment rather than a windstorm of stellar writing — there are quite a few things that are keeping me hooked on it. It’s the perfect series to keep my mind occupied (yet unburdened!) while I’m on my commute every day. And I finish about a book a week; the last one I listened to was the fourth in the series.

The most charming aspect of the series is its depiction of the near future: the 2050’s. These books were written back in the 1990’s, so we’re already a lot closer to this future. But the author’s predictions can sometimes be fascinating — or totally off-the-mark. It makes for an interesting world, anyway!

Here are a few of the author’s predictions…

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