Title: The Tower of the Swallow
Author: Andrzej Sapkowski
Page Count: 460
Good news, everyone! I think I’ve finally reached the point in the Witcher series in which I’m so absorbed in the world that I can almost breathe a sigh of relief and relax back into it. That’s good news because the story lines are starting to get reasonably complex.
One of the things that I love about the Witcher books is that they ask the reader a bunch of questions about morality, and if you’re anything like me then you’ll probably find yourself engaging with the story by asking yourself what you would have done in any given situation. I also liked that it kicks off with the Witcher nowhere in sight, focussing instead on Ciri, who’s a fascinating character.
I like Sapkowski’s take on fantasy, and I think he’s one of the rare few authors who are able to tell fantasy stories with their very own “mouth feel”. A lot of other authors end up writing stuff that feels like Pound Shop Tolkien, and that’s never much fun to read. Sapkowski’s world feels as fully fledged as Middle Earth or Westeros, and more so than Narnia. It’s also interesting because it has its own legends and its own monsters, some of which are familiar from other fantasy stories and some of which either come from Polish mythology or are invented entirely.
But I think what I like about the Witcher books, and about The Tower of the Swallow in particular, is that even though it’s set in a fantasy land with all of these unusual beasties knocking around, it’s still very human at its heart. They’re tales about people, at their heart, and I like reading books about people. The politics are pretty good too, even though that’s less of a thing that I look out for.
Of course, we’re far enough into the series now that it would be weird for you to start here, but it’s definitely worth you sticking with them and seeing out the ride, at least until this point. There are different reading orders that you can use, but I’m pretty happy with the one that I followed, which started with the two short story collections and went from there.
All in all then, a successful read and one that I’m glad I picked up. Witcher’s prose is super gripping, at least to me, and I don’t think I’m likely to get bored of his stuff any time soon. In many ways that’s a shame, because I only have two more of his books left and I’ve just ordered the next one. But it’ll be nice to finish a series.