Book Review: Baptism of Fire

baptism-of-fireSimply delightful, though I dare say it was a painful wait for it! I should also add that it might be my favorite of the English translated Witcher novels so far—a beautiful blend of character, political deviance, and magical shenanigans (which is my way of saying action of many kinds). Though the forward progress can drag its heels a bit at times, feeling as though the wheels are turning (and, admittedly, a lot being learned) without actually progressing, there is not a single of these moments that will linger too long on the conscious mind of the reader. Neither Geralt, nor those around him, ever sit in one place long enough for that to be the case.

The sorceresses are the primary force for political momentum herein, though Nilfgaard and its naughty streak remain at the edge of every action and reaction. It dwells heavily on the symbol of the Baptism of Fire—a journey a great many of the characters seems to be walking here, above and beyond merely Geralt of Rivia. A new friend herein, one whom you can’t take but take quickly to, a Mr. Regis, is quick enough to point that little detail out.

Sapkowski has this delightful gift for balancing the dark grit and clever wit together atop the pin needle of high fantasy that is difficult to be equaled. Elves, Dwarves, and magic abound—yet somehow you cannot read his books without using the word “human” significantly. The interactions, the personality he breathes into his creations—it’s at the same time both complex and yet soothingly natural.

One must always worry when a translation is set before them—worry that something will be lost in the translation, that something of the beauty of the work will not hold up to the editor’s keen axe. Not so, here. If the book has lost anything in the translation, yet remains of such rich delight, then the original must be truly breathtaking. Sapkowski is a storyteller I would highly recommend—and Baptism of Fire is another notch on that belt.

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