A long but worthy ending to the Witcher saga. Sapkowski balances between the darkness of the previous book and keeping the pace of the plot. It is always a challenge to finish a tale this long, but it succeeds here in both satisfying our need for closure, as well as avoiding the pitfall of definite answers.
Just like the previous book, this one is told as a flashback to the past. Ciri meets Galahad (Sapkowski uses the Arturian Legend as his frame for this book) on a lakeshore and recounts her tale to him. The other vantage point is from centuries after the original plot takes place, where Conwidramus becomes an apprentice to the Lady of the Lake. She is tasked with dreaming the missing details of the story that Lady of the Lake is obsessed with.
Such framing of the book gives us a bigger perspective on the events within it. We still do care about what happens to our characters, but equally, we know that the war with Nilfgaard and the plotting of The Lodge do not carry much weight in the long run. As some people say ‘in the long run we’re all dead’.
As it is the last book our protagonists are getting closer to one another. And finally, we do get our climax fight, where everyone has to face their biggest fears and lose what’s dear to them, to save the most important thing. We also get a nice twist in the story, so that’s an added bonus.
I enjoyed Ciri’s travels through space and time, they were another way to put things in perspective. With every single scenario happening in the parallel universes, the meaning of the one Ciri came from changes a lot.
Because of the flashback nature of the narrative, it does feel a bit choppy at times. But in leaps and bounds, it does deliver us to where we need to be. I did like the fact that on one hand, we do get a clear ending, on the other, it is not simplistic and does leave some room for the imagination.
Now rereading the saga after many years I think my favorite novel is The Tower of the Swallow. But really the short stories were what I found most enjoyable. The deeper we go into the saga the more serious it gets, while the short stories were a lot more light-hearted, while still hinting at the larger things at play.
Links to previous reviews in the series:
Photo by Violetta Kaszubowska