The Witcher by Andrzej Sapkowski – Series Review

✰ ✰ 1/2

Hi all! Nen here, and my gosh has it been a while since I’ve posted a review – prepare for a long one. To get back into the swing of things, I thought I’d take a look at the series everyone seems to be raving about at the moment – Andrzej Sapkowski’s The Witcher. I’ll admit that I only realised the games were based on novels a year or two ago, and they’ve been on my list ever since. After watching the Netflix adaptation I was desperate to learn more about these amazing characters and the fantasy world they belong to.

Geralt of Rivia is a witcher. A cunning sorcerer. A merciless assassin. And a cold-blooded killer. His sole purpose: to destroy the monsters that plague the world. But not everything monstrous-looking is evil and not everything fair is good… and in every fairy tale there is a grain of truth. (Goodreads).

I’ll add trigger warnings now for sexual content/assault, gore, incest, and a whole host of things you’d find in Game of Thrones. I won’t talk about any of these topics in my review though.

For those who have watched the show or played the games you’re already familiar with the story, or at the very least, some of the characters. While I enjoyed the originality of The Witcher, there are a few common tropes you usually see in fantasy novels flitting about – the Chosen One is hunted by forces of good and evil, and different races battle it out for supremacy etc. This was all well and good, but I felt that with each consecutive novel, the story strayed from hunting monsters (as Witchers do) into political battles that dragged on and fell flat.

Plain and simple, I wasn’t a fan of the writing. If you prefer the type of novel that’s heavy on descriptive writing and lengthy dialogue (I’m talking pages full of it), then it probably won’t bother you. But I found myself skimming paragraphs, which is something I never want to be doing. That’s not to say that I couldn’t appreciate the plot or the characters though.

Each character is unique and has clear motivations – I like them…for the most part. Geralt is the broody and unconventional protagonist with a hidden heart of gold, and you can easily get on board with the relationships he develops throughout the series. I don’t know how else to say this, but it was obvious at times that the novels were written by a man. It seemed like every woman Geralt came across threw herself at him (just read the first page of the first book), and the general portrayal of women was not what I expected after seeing the powerful performances in the show.

Perspectives change often and minor characters are in abundance. Sometimes it’s difficult to follow the erratic timeline and to keep track of who’s who, and what’s where because (it kills me to say it…) there hasn’t been a confirmed map of the world. Nevertheless, the world-building was extensive – I’ll let you decide if that’s good or bad.

Now that that’s out of the way…this is a series that explores more than just magical creatures and monster-hunters saving the day (even though I would have preferred seeing more of that). Sapkowski touches on the darker side of human nature in a way that seems all too relatable for a fantasy series, and I found that quite refreshing. I hope the show expands on these great characters and the world they’re a part of because they have so much potential!

Honestly, if I hadn’t already known about the plot and characters beforehand, I wouldn’t have managed to make it through the novels. It’s rare for me to enjoy a screen adaptation more than a book, but in this case I’d genuinely suggest watching the show instead – you get the added bonus of seeing Henry Cavill on-screen for 8 hours, think about it.

I’ve seen a lot positive reviews for this series, but it wasn’t for me. If you’ve read it, please let me know your thoughts below!


17 thoughts on “The Witcher by Andrzej Sapkowski – Series Review

  1. Everything you said here are points that I keep hearing people talk about on Twitter and it’s convinced me even more that the book probs won’t be my jam. I heard that the female characters especially are written quite weakly and that apparently it’s such a contrast to the show! So I think I made the right decision to just watch it lol great review, Nen!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! It was definitely a big change from what I saw in the show, and honestly I was very disappointed because I had high hopes going into it! I’d definitely just stick to the show though, the books are a big let down! – Nen 😊


  2. My friend read the first book and utterly trashed it to pieces for its exploitation of the female characters; how they were simply there to serve the male gaze etc. and she also found it to be extremely ableist. As she was reading she sent me lots of photos of the text and we discussed a lot of it so I’m not at all surprised to see you not liking it. It sounds like a hugely problematic trainwreck to me

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Emer! Your friend was absolutely right. I could have gone into far more detail with this review but it would have dragged on and on if I included everything that was problematic. It was really disappointing because this was a series I wanted to like, but I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. – Nen 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great review!
    So far I’ve only read the last wish, which I enjoyed, but I’m not sure what I would think of a whole length book!



  4. Wow you read all of these?! That’s impressive. I’m still on book 3 (publishing order). I really loved the first book. I agree the monster hunting is the best part.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi! I had a bit of a head start and nabbed the first few books before the show aired haha 😊 the first book was probably my favourite too, I was really fascinated by the idea of Witchers and the monster hunting was great! I hope you enjoy the rest of the series 😁 – Nen


  5. Great review! I really enjoyed reading your thoughts, I do have the first in the series on my TBR atm and though I will pick it up eventually I’ll go into it with slightly lower (perhaps more realistic) expectations now. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi there! Thank you 😊 The Last Wish seems to be everyone’s favourite and I’ve seen so many positive reviews, it might just be a personal preference thing. But I’d love to hear what you think of it!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Sorry they weren’t for you! I have only read the first two books and will continue the series because I do enjoy the writing. Personally, how the woman characters haven’t bothered me in The Last Wish or Sword of Destiny. Personally, I thought Yennifer had the upperhand in that one when it came to Geralt. I think that the same could be said for some women writers when it comes to men falling all over the women characters. I get that times have changed but you also have to remember that these were written in the 90’s. I enjoy seeing different thoughts, thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi! I’m glad you’re enjoying it, I feel like people either love it or hate it 😊 The characters themselves didn’t bother me, Yennefer is one of my favourites. I think I just got bored of the idea of people fawning over Geralt a bit because it was a little repetitive. I don’t usually read romance to be honest (that’s Jen’s thing), might just need to get used to it haha! – Nen

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s understandable. Sometimes you just want fantasy to have no romance.


  7. Wow, I think this is a series I would never pick up anyway, it’s just not my type of story, but I definitely won’t after reading this, it’s assured me it’s a NOPE for me lol. Sorry this didn’t work for you!


  8. Yeah, I don’t know if I’ll get to the books. I was thinking about it before watching the show but then I caved because… Henry Cavill. I’ll watch the last episode today and so far I’m enjoying it. 🙂 Great review, Nen!


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