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.
The conclusions to a lot of the side stories was done well even if too many of those lost their lives. Andrzej left A LOT of bodies. Friends and loved ones were lost. Some of them we lost in the present and some we learnt of what their future promises. I was surprised with the way the "political" side of things ended, especially concerning Emhyr Var Emreis. He wasn't who I expected him to be on a few levels (that's without even mentioning FINALLY getting his true reasons for wanting Ciri).
I think the ending was trying to bring hope. But it was also twisted and cruel. Things didn't REALLY turn out as anyone would have wished. The whole thing ended in such a bitter sweet note. I'm happy I have another novel (taking place before the main storyline) as I would rather have a different taste in my mouth when all is said and done.
I still HIGHLY value this series. It was simply SUPERB. I might have felt differently about the whole book, given it more patience, if I knew how things ended (meaning I wasn't impatient to uncover what happens next...). There's a lot of VALUE to this series, things to ponder. About life and death, about friendship and love. About fighting for your cause while considering its price. Honestly I feel like starting right from the start, experiencing it all again, knowing what I know now. I'll do that, but not immediately. I'll probably wait under the next season in the TV series is close by. I should add that A LOT of things happen totally different in the books (I still value both).
If you haven't picked this series you definitely should. It's epic and thought provoking.
25-29 April 2022