Friday, May 20, 2022

Season of Storms (The Witcher Saga, #8) by Andrzej Sapkowski

Where do you begin when it's time to say goodbye? I'd say that I'm unsure about this book especially in regards to the recommended reading order. I'll say this with conviction - this book NEEDS to be read after the first installment of short stories ("The Last Wish") BUT the epilogue should be read ONLY after finishing the last full length novel ("The Lady of the Lake") if possible IMMEDIATELY after. I think it will give the reader a much more positive way of concluding the series. Though I still consider it a VERY open ending. 

This book, as mentioned, takes place, chronologically after the story "The Last Wish", which means, Ciri is not a part of the story and not mentioned even briefly. This is mostly Geralt's story as a Witcher (something he really HADN'T been for a few books). Going after demons and finding the real monsters are humans. His connection with Yennefer is still confusing to both of them. Geralt finds a "romantic interest" even if he realizes Coral isn't the one he really wants. And Yennefer? who knows with her, right? She has a rather short appearance in this one. But at least we have Dandelion with his shenanigans hehe. 

The story itself was intriguing even if annoying in the way Geralt was treated and the misfortune following him around wherever he goes. I felt bad for him. I think this is the kind of Geralt we saw in the very beginning and almost forgot. Witchers aren't appreciated or admired, they are mostly seen as half monsters themselves. He is lucky to have Dandelion and naturally everyone in Kaer Morhen. 

Friday, April 29, 2022

The Lady of the Lake (The Witcher Saga, #7) by Andrzej Sapkowski

It has been a few hours since I finished this book and I'm still not sure what I think about it. Andrzej closed nicely quite a few threads yet the MAIN thread, well, I don't know. Was it a good finale? In a way. But I can't help the feelings we didn't get EVERYTHING that needed to be said and done, especially concerning our 3 MCs - Geralt, Yennefer and Ciri.

This book is MUCH longer than the previous ones. It seems to me Andrzej had a lot of things he wanted to disclose. About life and death, politics, destiny. He spent about half of the book with side characters, some we haven't even met, dealing with the "conclusive" war between the North and the South and especially how FUTILE it all was for both sides. It doesn't matter who won, they all lost. Blood, pain and tears. The loss of loved ones, of hope as well as "humanity". It was a good reflection on life. "Worked" well for me on the Holocaust remembrance day as well as these days with the war between Russia and Ukraine. What does war bring really? What is it for? Who does it serve? It seems the answers are "Nothing" and "Nobody". 

In this stage of the series, on the last book, I needed more of our MCs. Which is why if I had to give my rating for the first half of the book it would have been a rounded up 3 stars. Even when we got Geralt and Ciri they weren't "themselves" with the decisions they were making and there was too little of Yennefer (as usual). When the three are FINALLY united it was painful every step of the way. Even in the happy parts, even when there was understanding and love. Too much has happened to them. They were left almost silent. How could they express everything that was said and done? The tender love between these three was everything I wanted and hoped for but the lingering taste we were left with was sadness, sorrow and regret. I'm trying to think about all three and if at the very end of the story they got what they most longed for. What they deserved. I'm left with no answer. No answer at all. Even if they did, the price was too high. 

Sunday, April 24, 2022

The Tower of Swallows (The Witcher Saga, #6) by Andrzej Sapkowski

Hello again.. It's been a while. I missed Geralt, Ciri and Yennefer. It's not just them, it's Andrzej's unique voice / tone of writing. This is fantasy and yet it feels "realistic", humane. Our beloved characters didn't have an easy time in this one, some of the scenes were truly hard to listen to. I kept thinking what each of our characters would think had s/he knew what his/er loved ones were going through, it felt "fitting" for the journey each needed to take and go through to survive but it was still rather cruel. 

Most of the book is around Ciri and Geralt - not yet together. Ciri finds a very secure hiding place where she can return back to health after a hellish few days. She has lost so much, loved ones but also part of herself. Sitting around the fire with her new friend Vysogota she tells him her story and we get to hear it through her. She wasn't spared much during these days. The Ciri at the end of this book is so very different from the one Geralt and Yennefer knew (One thing for sure - she is bad a$$!). What would happen when they finally meet? I hope we'll get to that sooner rather than later as generally speaking there is only one book left to the story. 

Geralt's "gang" hasn't changed much from the previous book. Mostly Dandelion, Cahir, Milva and Regis. It's not always easy, especially between Geralt and Cahir and yet I have to say I really appreciated Cahir for how honest he was. I don't think they can truly be friends though they could have been if it wasn't for Ciri. I wonder how Ciri would react to THAT friendship (even if it really isn't). Geralt still hasn't finished healing but he is determined to find a way to Ciri. His (shared) dream of her, badly wounded during the equinox doesn't help at all. Everyone is worried about her but she is no where to be found, not by his company but also everyone else who is looking for her. 

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Shenanigans (Brooklyn Bruisers #9) [Neil & Charli] by Sarina Bowen

While I waited impatiently for this book to come when I finally got it I was drowning in a sea of commitment I couldn't shake. So the minute I felt I could do this I delved in. Maybe it's the fact I hadn't read (or even listened) to a book for a whole month, but the start of this one was a bit slow for me. Took me time to understand and connect with the characters and I still feel a bit unsure about my feelings towards Charli (though I understand her motives). Neil on the other hand I all heartedly ADORED and it has nothing to do with him being a billionaire and everything to do with how thoughtful and caring he is (also fun!)

This book contains two tropes I'm usually not a fan of - billionaires and accidental (Vegas) wedding. Since this is Sarina I really wasn't worried. I think it suited the story and them perfectly. It also highlighted not only the difference between their backgrounds but their current situation as professional athletes and the outrageous difference in salary (and status) between men and women in sports. 

Charlotte "Charli" Fern Higgins is more than surprised to wake up half naked with her friend Neil barely remembering the night before. But when she does she realizes they have made several HUGE mistakes - making out for sure, but getting married?!?! How could they do it? How could SHE? (who barely even date and if she does it's women). 

Cornelius Harmon Drake III - or in short, Neil - is also shocked he has done such a huge mistake. He was always attracted to Charli but he just broke with his girlfriend Iris and though he didn't love her it doesn't mean he wanted to be hitched to someone else, just thinking about the family drama is enough for him, and they are also LATE for the plane home to where both need to be ASAP for their respective hockey practice. 

As Neil's family owns their own jet company it's easy to get a ride home but what's much more complicated? Getting divorced and before that? dealing with the press, their friends and Neil's evil uncle. 

Friday, February 11, 2022

Baptism of Fire (The Witcher Saga, #5) by Andrzej Sapkowski

This series has become an addiction. I simply can't STOP listening. There were "things" I needed to do today but I didn't care. I was too engrossed in the story. Stopping wasn't an option. I started this book sad and aching for Geralt and though he didn't achieve what he wanted at the beginning, the book ended  with Geralt of Rivia hiding a smile. 

The last we heard of our three main characters Geralt was mortally injured (and being transferred to Brokilon Forest by Triss Merigold), Yennefer fighting to allows Ciri to escape (then disappearing into thin air) and Ciri running into Tor Lara, also known as The Tower of the Gull, right into an unsafe and very old portal. 

At Brokilon Forest Geralt is being treated by the dryads and receiving news about the world through Milva / Maria Barring. At first she is reluctant to help but with a bit of pressing from the dryads she agrees. It doesn't take her long to realize he isn't what and who she thought AT ALL. While she was helping the Scoia'tael she decided to follow him and Dandelion and offer to join them on their long journey to find Ciri. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

The Time of Contempt (The Witcher Saga, #4) by Andrzej Sapkowski

WOW. In one words, or rather two - I'm HOOKED! This book was impossible to put aside. It's fast paced and when it's not there's a lot going on politically. In the moments when things aren't going in all directions and Ciri is with either Yennefer or Geralt (or both ;)) it's also sweet and tender as well as laugh out loud funny (I'm LOVING Yennefer!).

I don't even know where to start honestly.. We finished the last one with Ciri and Yennefer on their way from the Temple of Melitele to.. well, from Ciri's POV - the unknown. From Yennefer (and somewhat Geralt though he isn't there) it's obvious she needs to master her magical abilities so Aretuza it is.. When Ciri learns of that she is VERY unpleased. She wants to see Geralt and she is in NO hurry to be a "prisoner" on the island (as she sees it). 

But things don't exactly go as Yennefer had in mind for different reasons.. First because of Ciri. She learns FAST, that's for sure. I was laughing so much listening. Yennefer wasn't laughing but I wonder if in her heart she could admit she admired Ciri for her bravery, resilience and strong mind - So much like herself. There's a moment she is standing between the two - Yennefer and Geralt and her reaction was kinda sweet. Choosing between them isn't an easy task. These two together though.. Frustrating at times with how much they are unable to say to one another though they do have a heart to heart in this one. It's obvious Andrzej isn't a romance novelist, it wasn't exactly and "ideal" setting but I guess it was suited for them. Again a laugh out loud moment. It's obvious from their actions how much they care for one another. While with Geralt it's truly clear, with Yennefer we see how she shifts things from her side to help him (hoping he won't find out). 

A Monstrous Light by Cari Z.

I liked the idea behind this novella. I wonder if at a different time I would have felt differently about it. Reading it left me feeling.. sad. I'm not even sure what I feel about the ending as I'm not entirely sure what it means for Beniel and Korran. 

The story is told from Beniel Tallance's POV. He has lost his lover in - a monstrous light - a few months ago in the battle of a lifetime. Korran was gone and yet, and yet he didn't really. He became something else. Something Beniel isn't sure how he's going to find and when he does what he's going to do in order to have him back in his arms. 

This novella is his journey, through unfriendly towns and scary roads to the end of the universe where they fought. Writing these words saddens me. Beniel doesn't have anyone besides his lover. Their relationship was even more complicated with Korran being a prince and Beniel his "Indulgence", let's call him his valet, since a young age. Now after the war is over, the old ruler (Korran's father) dethroned, his brother Ormyr is the ruler and things aren't exactly working in his favor. He needs Beniel's help and he is offering the one thing that matters to him. Beniel accepts.

Sunday, February 6, 2022

Blood of Elves (The Witcher Saga, #3) by Andrzej Sapkowski

Honestly I don't even know where to start. I LOVED everything about this book. There's so much going on, with our MCs, as well as the world around them - a lot of politics and people of power trying to gain more power and control. Yet still, for me, it's the story of Geralt, Yennefer and Ciri. It all evolves around them. 

If you've seen the 2nd season of the TV series you might think you know what's going on in this book. You'll be right, yet you'll also be VERY wrong. Mostly concerning Yennefer. But not only. 

We start this one with little Ciri, still a very innocent child, in the care of Geralt of Rivia and his fellow Witcher brothers in Kaer Morhen (the place they all call home). She learns how to fight and fend for herself but Geralt knows it's not enough. There is something special about her and he needs to find a tutor. Someone with magical powers. He contacts Triss Merigold, as speaking with Yennefer is FAR too complicated for him at the moment. She helps. A LOT. But it's not enough. She is not enough and the experiences in Kaer Morhen in general is not enough..