The Time of Contempt by Andrzej Sapkowski

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The Time of Contempt by Andrzej Sapkowski is the second full novel of The Witcher series.  David French again translated the original Polish into English beautifully, the novel reads like it was written in English.  I read this one immediately following the first novel earlier this year in eager anticipation of the release of The Witcher III Wild Hunt video game.

There is a coup brewing within the Wizard’s Guild and Geralt is drawn into the political turmoil standing beside Yennefer.  Geralt is hurt during the battle fighting to protect Ciri from the man of her nightmares.  Ciri escapes through a portal which is destroyed as soon as she is teleported to a destination unknown.  Now alone and separated from Geralt, Yennefer, and Triss, Ciri must adapt and protect herself. 

Ciri comes into her own in this novel.  Powers that were only hinted at in the first novel become apparent in this one.  Will Ciri survive her encounters once she goes through the portal?  Will she find Geralt?  What happens to her along the way and do those events fundamentally alter her character?  How much pressure can one young woman shoulder before she snaps?

This book spend much more time shifting between characters as their paths diverge.  It provides a unique perspective because both Geralt and Ciri are linked by prophecy but no longer are they walking the same path toward destiny.  Fundamentally, what does that mean for the prophecy and does it alter their destined fate?

Five out of five stars as one of the most powerful and beautifully written books I’ve read all year.  Truly a brilliant character study in a dark fantasy setting.

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