Ciri seemed to achieve some stability during her training with Yennefer in Melitele temple in Ellander, but as we all know this was not meant to last. And this book is bringing us to some explosive climax moments, as one can expect when all out main characters meet in the same building. Just as we think things may be resolved in a reasonable way it all goes to hell, as it should if we’re to be entertained for another three books.
Last time we saw Ciri was when she was leaving Ellander with Yennefer. They travel to Gors Velen, where Yennefer wants to enroll Ciri into the Aretuza School of Magic, she herself went through. Geralt is still pursuing leads that he hopes will bring him to Rience and the sorcerer behind him.
Ciri is not too excited to be in Aretuza, or at least not until she has a chance to meet with Geralt. So she organizes a daring escape and as a result Geralt joins her and Yennefer on the island of Thanedd for a congregation of sorcerers. This is where things go very south, as it appears not only sorcerers decided to make an appearance but also other parties interested in the war and control over Cintra.
In the aftermath our group is dispersed, Geralt ends up in Brokilon, healing wounds, Ciri is nowhere to be found after possibly jumping through an unstable portal in the Tower of Gulls and any trace of Yennefer vanishes completely. Together with Geralt’s trust in his lover’s intentions. Also the knight from Ciri’s nightmares makes an appearance, trying to capture her for the emperor of Nilfgaard.
The war starts again, and it seems everyone wanted it anyway. The racial tensions also grow reaching extremely violent levels. At the same time we find a fake Ciri on the Nilfgaard court, with the emperor intending to marry her to secur his rights to Cintra. All that unfortunately is still not enough to ensure Ciri’s safety. Especially when no one knows where she is.
This is the book where Sapkowski sets the stage for the split of the storylines, from now on we’ll be following the adventures of our protagonists separately. I did enjoy a lot how he managed to converge them and then separate them in a pretty drastic way, showing that no one is fully the master of their fate.
Again like in the previous part the story plays at two levels, directly related to our characters adventures, but also in the grand scheme of things, with political factions and spies playing increasingly significant role. It seems Geralt’s strategy of not choosing sides will not be viable for much longer. Ciri also has to make her choices, as she is thrown into extreme circumstances and experiences the full extent and the price of her power. It also becomes increasingly obvious that she is the carries of the elven blood of the prohecy that will destroy the old world and usher in a new age.
Let’s of things happen in this book and there isn’t a dull moment, especially as the cast of supporting characters is really strong and interesting.
Links to previous reviews in the series:
Photo by Violetta Kaszubowska