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).
We start this book with the armies still at a stand still but not for long. The monarchs are scheming some with and some without the sorcerers on their side and it seems the conclave of sorcerers are at a turning point - not numerically but figuratively - a third are with their monarch (with the question of who's driving - the monarch or his mage..), a third secretly working for Nilfgaard, or at least seeming to be doing that, and a third - not so surprising - wants to be neutral and not take a side in a war that is turning at some places to slaughter. Which they simply don't feel comfortable with. Ciri, Geralt and Yennefer are caught in the middle of the commotion (not so surprisingly) and the aftermath is even more severe than anyone had anticipated.
It's a time to make difficult decisions but as the name of the book says - These weren't exactly "good" decisions. It feels as most were done for superficial or personal gain and not for any "greater" good or brighter future. Geralt has his own awakening realizing what "neutrality" ACTUALLY means for himself as well as others. It was interesting he first gave credit to Ciri for "educating" him (as she wasn't the only one to scold him about it). I have a feeling Geralt in the next book(s) will be a bit different. He learned some things the hard way in this one.
I can't wait to see where the next book will find all three. Okay, four.. There's naturally Dandelion with his usual quirks. He actually made the impossible - enchanted the druids in Brokilon forest.
6-8 February 2022