Everything just goes to sh!t
|Andrzej Sapkowski in 1995, translated in 2013|
In this continuation of the story of Geralt of Rivia and Ciri, his ward, time has moved on relatively quickly. Ciri is now under the charge of the sorceress Yennefer of Vengerberg, Geralt’s on again, off again paramour. She is teaching the girl magic, while Geralt continues his quest to eliminate those who are searching and threatening Ciri’s life.
Elsewhere, and probably just as importantly, war is afoot between an alliance of kingdoms in the north and the much larger Nilfgaard in the south. Both sides are aware of Ciri’s importance in any war, as her royal bloodline to the strategically important state of Cintra means that the side that finds her first and controls Cintra would likely win.
Time of Contempt is another darkly humourous take on life in a fictional Middle Ages from a Polish perspective. Geralt, the main protagonist is stubbornly neutral in the conflicts of men, preferring instead to only deal with his main job, of killing magical monsters for a living. On the other hand, his sorceress lover Yennefer is immersed in politics and intrigue, and we delve quite deeply into this aspect of the world.
However, as powerful as Yennefer is, and as skillful as Geralt is, they are nonetheless bit players in the overarching narrative, that events can overtake your ambitions, desires, and best laid plans. In the middle of all this, Ciri is growing up, yearning to be near her protectors, but forced rely on her own wits and skills to survive on her own.
I can honestly say that Time of Contempt is a book well titled. Everything goes completely south, because the people who hold the power, kings and wizards, are all suspicious of each other, acting in their own interests, which can only lead to one thing: war. Sapkowski’s world is a dark one, and you have to be prepared for some of the really grotesque things humans are willing to inflict on others.
Still going strong. Rich lore, great characters and an interesting world.
Read this if you…
Don’t read this if you…
Want a fairytale. This so ain’t it.