The book begins two years after the war with Nilfgaard, Geralt has been keeping a very low profile and keeping Ciri safe. Yennefer and Dandelion haven’t set eyes on him during this time. They are all in trouble because they know what most of the world does not, that Ciri is still alive. She is important, dangerous people are looking for her. Dandelion was captured and tortured, he would have died had Yennefer not come to his aid. I was immediately drawn in at the beginning, it’s very atmospheric and I felt that the whole way through, the writing is much more detailed than the collection of short stories that come before it, I like this style much more.
“The Time of Contempt will come, when the trees lose its leaves, the bud will wither, the fruit will rot, the seed turn bitter and the river valleys will run with ice instead of water. The White Chill will come, and after it the White Light, and the world will perish beneath blizzards.”
I was very excited because we got to see the ruined castle that the witchers call home. There aren’t many of them left after a terrible massacre that happened at the castle long ago. But it was nice to see Geralt almost settled. The group quite often spend their winters together at the ruined castle.
Ciri isn’t able to control her powers yet, she can predict things and almost read people’s minds. But doesn’t remember her visions afterwards. The prophecies she recalls are terrifying and dark, Ciri goes into a trance when she tells them, the witchers discovered her power by accident and didn’t know what to do to help her.
“Death has cold blue eyes, and the height of the obelisk does not matter, nor does the writing engraved on it matter.”
I love how the book shows us that living for hundreds of years is not necessarily a good thing. The sorcerers and witchers are all low-key miserable or feel nothing anymore.
We don’t see a lot of Geralt in the first couple of chapters, it focuses on Ciri and her training with the Witchers. Same with the last couple of chapters where Ciri trains with the magicians instead. I did really enjoy seeing Ciri and Yennefer’s relationship develop. Yennefer is trying to teach her how to channel her magic. It’s nice seeing her in a caring role.
“A witcher doesn’t use light or fire as a weapon because it makes it harder to see. Every light creates a shadow and shadows make it harder to get your bearings. One must always fight in darkness, by moon or starlight.”
War and destruction follow both Ciri and Geralt. They can’t escape the fighting. A man is trying to hunt them down for his own gain, somehow he knows Ciri is alive and about her powers. The man has also crossed Yennefer before and has a burn on his face to show for it.
“The tactic of terror. Violence breeds violence. Hatred has grown into hearts and has poisoned kindred blood. Hard times are upon us.”
The jumps to different characters were slightly confusing towards the end because I didn’t know who anyone else was, but I figured it out eventually!
“Magic is Chaos, Art and Science. It is a curse, a blessing and progress. It all depends on who uses magic, how they use it, and to what purpose.”
The book leaves us on a cliffhanger, war again threatens the land as well as the end of everything, the dark prophecy that haunts them all. I’m very excited to read the next book.