Summary

The story of a father and his daughter continues.

Written by
Andrzej Sapkowski in 1997, official English translation published 2016

You don’t normally see me read many fantasy books here. I guess it’s because a lot of fantasy books tend to border on the ridiculous with dragons, magical moons and all sorts of strange powers. They’re fun, but they don’t deal with real life issues as well as other genres. Sapkowski’s series of books about Geralt of Rivia and his friends, lovers and enemies on the other hand, are pretty damn realistic.

It’s quite an indication of just how dark and realistically medieval the series is, even from the first collection of short stories, The Last Wish. Here, Geralt knows through both his training as a Witcher and his ingrained cynicism there are no dragons in the world, and yet he goes on to fight a giant golden one.

As the saga unfolds, and the story about Geralt’s search for his ward Cirilla continues, you can feel his desperation and love for Ciri, a girl not born of his blood, yet so dear to his heart. The book ultimately unfolds in two threads, Ciri tells of her journey to an old hermit in a swamp. Meanwhile, Geralt’s trials and tribulations continue on his search with all the companions he’s picked up along the way.

In the background, there are political manipulations, sorceresses who seek to keep the world’s monarch’s in check, and a war continues between Nilfgaard and the Northern Kingdoms. But none of that matters, because the main characters can’t influence a thing. All that matters is Ciri.

And you get plenty of Ciri’s story. So much so that this book is pretty much exclusively about her. Geralt and Yennefer feature only briefly. It’s because Ciri’s story is so damn gruelling. All of her friends meet unfortunate circumstances and she’s got no choice but to keep running and running. The fact that she’s still only a teenager having to put up with all that shit is amazing, and shows she really has strength of character.

The Tower of Swallows is probably the best of the major books in this series. The official translation from Polish to English is astounding in its clarity and expression. If you’ve read the books leading up to this one, keep going, because this one is simply brilliant.

Rating

Awesome. Not much else to say about this book.

Read this if you…

Want to find out more about Geralt and friends.

Skip this if you…

Want a fairy tale.

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