We are as good as done with the Witcher books. Lady of the Lake is the end of the original series, the only book we still need to tackle after this post is Season of Storms, a prequel.
The Plot (according to Goodreads):
After walking through the portal in the Tower of Swallows while narrowly escaping death, Ciri finds herself in a completely different world… an Elven world. She is trapped with no way out. Time does not seem to exist and there are no obvious borders or portals to cross back into her home world.
But this is Ciri, the child of prophecy, and she will not be defeated. She knows she must escape to finally rejoin the Witcher, Geralt, and his companions – and also to try to conquer her worst nightmare. Leo Bonhart, the man who chased, wounded and tortured Ciri, is still on her trail. And the world is still at war.
Oh boy, I have a lot to say about this one and there will be spoilers a plenty.
So much stuff went down in The Lady of the Lake and a good portion of it was either annoying or rather fucked up.
My feelings are VERY mixed about this novel. some bits I really liked, others made me want to throw my e-reader against the wall.
What could have enraged me so, you ask?
Well, first of all, Sapkowski’s writing style. In the last book he did this thing where there are two Ciri timelines. One where she tells the story and the other about what is happening in her story. He kind of did that again, only now he went completely overboard.
We start with Ciri telling her story, however very soon other people chime in telling bits and pieces as well. Those or not important characters and many are never heard of apart from the one or two chapters where they tell a story. That’s rather confusing at times, extremely annoying and very unnecessary.
We also get a view just as unnecessary side-plots. For example two women who basically discuss what history can tell us, whether you can trust what other people wrote down, etc. There is a place for such meta discussion but it certainly is not in this book. I just wanted the story to continue and not waste pages contemplating stuff like this.
There are also a couple of chapters where Jarre decides to enlist in the army and then recounts some battles. That was not relevant for the story in the least and the only purpose of those chapters was to remind the reader that war is bad.
I might have been able to live with these chapters had they been shorter AND had they not been substitues for chapters about Geralt and Yennefer.
Basically those two characters are mentioned in three sentences and then never to be seen again until almost the end of the book. This is particularly irritating as Sapkowski spent entire novels on Geralt traipsing through the woods trying to get to Ciri. Now the last we hear of him is that he’s passing through a snowy mountain pass. Then there’s radio silence until he swoops in for the rescue. The only time I would have been interested in figuring out how Geralt actually got somewhere, Sapkowski skips all of it.
Also, he spends quite some time writing about politics and the discussion of peace treaties and the likes. That’s extremely dry and boring. Especially since Sapkowski insists on constantly throwing around Latin expressions without explaining them. Honestly, I got tired of looking them up and just decided to roll my eyes every time one came up.
Structure aside, let’s talk about Ciri’s story. So, apparently, Ciri is now able to travel through space and time? Where did that come from? Feels a bit Deus ex Machina to me, but whatever.
There are, however, so many bits of her story that are just so fucked up. For example, that old elven king who is supposed to impregnate her but can’t get it up and just proceeds to finger her? Cahir who declares he fell in love with Ciri the first time he saw her (may sound cute, but at that time she was 10 years old and he was a grown-ass soldier sent to abduct her – so: creepy as fuck)? Or the big plot-twist where it turns out her long lost father is the emperor and wants to marry and impregnate her? Seriously, Sapkowski, WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCKING FUCK.
I have quite a few issues in terms of logic as well. But let’s not go there or this review will be 20 pages long. Instead, let’s talk about the final two chapters. There was a good deal of stuff I enjoyed towards the end of the book, like Ciri revisiting places, Dandelion’s return, or Geralt’s conversation with the dwarves. Then it all went to shit.
First of all, how is it that somehow no female character in these books is able to coexist with another woman without wanting to claw each other’s eyes out (mostly over Geralt of Rivia)? After reading seven Witcher books, I am convinced that Sapkowski has never had a single conversation with a woman, as the way he writes them is mostly ridiculous.
I don’t even like Ciri, no matter how hard I tried, as she just remains a total brat throughout all of the novels.
Anyways, once you thought things might actually end somewhat decently, Sapkowski fucks us all over with killing off Geralt and Yennefer. Thanks for nothing, dude. However, the price for the worst ending goes to Ciri. Is there anything more cringeworthy than literally having two characters holding hands and riding off into the sunset?
Although I liked some bits of The Lady of the Lake, the book mostly annoyed and irritated me. I feel like a lot of potential was squandered here. Cool idea but very sloppy execution.
Did you read this book? Let me know in the comments what you think!