The Witcher and Lion Cub of Cintra

Title: Blood of Elves
Author: Andrzej Sapkowski
Publisher: Gollancz/ Orion
Number of pages: 320
Genre: Fantasy

4/5.

Peace is over, war looms in the corners of the world and an assassins finds himself in care of a child that might change destiny.  Ciri, the “Lion Cub of Cintra” survived the burning of the capital city of the Kingdom of Cintra and is now under the protection and training of the Witcher Geralt of Rivia. 

Blood of Elves is the first novel after the two short stories collections of The Last Wish and Sword of Destiny. I finished The Last Wish and got my hands on a copy of Blood of Elves in my local library first and went straight for it. As mentioned in my Instagram post, if I had known that Sword of Destiny was first, I might have prioritised Sword of Destiny. With that said, I did not feel I had missed too much by jumping from The Last Wish to Blood of Elves.

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It is a slow paced novel, compared to my previous reads Blood of Elves really slowed down. However, combined with a lot of politics, background stories and heavy strategical talk throughout the book, it did certainly not feel too slow. It made it easier to understand the world of Ciri and Geralt, to dive in deeper in the story and also to take breaks without feeling that I had missed something.

Overall, I felt that I got closer to this world than many others in the short amount of time I spent reading it. I found myself taking longer breaks – just to make the world last longer – which is usually not the case for me.

“You catch fear,” Ciri repeated proudly, brushing her ashen fringe from her forehead. “Didn’t you know? Even when something bad happens to you, you have to go straight back to that piece of equipment or you get frightened. And if you’re frightened you’ll be hopeless at the exercise. You mustn’t give up. Geralt said so.” 

As for the characters they are complex ones, even if you do not know them very well at this point (unless you have read the short stories or played the game), you do get to see that there is more to them than beats the eye. Geralt and his darkness, but that still has some light that shines through, Ciri with her powers that she cannot grasp and her connection to Geralt, Yennefer or Triss Merigold and Dandelion who brings the sense of humor.

I am curious to see what happens to the Lion Cub of Cintra, will she be able to master her powers? Or how will the relationship between Geralt and Yennefer develop? They have a complicated relationship, but the attraction is there and Sapkowski has captured the complex nature of certain relationships in such a good way that this feels real.

Overall, Blood of Elves was a very good read. I landed on a 4 out 5, as it was clear for me that I should’ve read Sword of Destiny first to get a complete picture. However, as a stand alone novel, it does good. I would recommend giving this author a shot!

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