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The Witcher #5

Lady of the Lake

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The Witcher returns in this action-packed sequel to The Tower of Swallows, in the New York Times bestselling series that inspired The Witcher video games.

After walking through the portal in the Tower of Swallows while narrowly escaping death, Ciri finds herself in a completely different world... an Elven world. She is trapped with no way out. Time does not seem to exist and there are no obvious borders or portals to cross back into her home world.

But this is Ciri, the child of prophecy, and she will not be defeated. She knows she must escape to finally rejoin the Witcher, Geralt, and his companions - and also to try to conquer her worst nightmare. Leo Bonhart, the man who chased, wounded and tortured Ciri, is still on her trail. And the world is still at war.
Witcher novels
Blood of Elves
The Time of Contempt
Baptism of Fire

The Tower of Swallows
Lady of the Lake

Witcher collectionsThe Last WishSword of Destiny

The Malady and Other Stories: An Andrzej Sapkowski Sampler (e-only)

Translated from original Polish by David French

531 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1999

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About the author

Andrzej Sapkowski

163 books15.9k followers
Andrzej Sapkowski, born June 21, 1948 in Łódź, is a Polish fantasy and science fiction writer. Sapkowski studied economics, and before turning to writing, he had worked as a senior sales representative for a foreign trade company. His first short story, The Witcher (Wiedźmin), was published in Fantastyka, Poland's leading fantasy literary magazine, in 1986 and was enormously successful both with readers and critics. Sapkowski has created a cycle of tales based on the world of The Witcher, comprising three collections of short stories and five novels. This cycle and his many other works have made him one of the best-known fantasy authors in Poland in the 1990s.

The main character of The Witcher (alternative translation: The Hexer) is Geralt, a mutant assassin who has been trained since childhood to hunt down and destroy monsters. Geralt exists in an ambiguous moral universe, yet manages to maintain his own coherent code of ethics. At the same time cynical and noble, Geralt has been compared to Raymond Chandler's signature character Philip Marlowe. The world in which these adventures take place is heavily influenced by Slavic mythology.

Sapkowski has won five Zajdel Awards, including three for short stories "Mniejsze zło" (Lesser Evil) (1990), "Miecz przeznaczenia" (Sword of Destiny) (1992) and "W leju po bombie" (In a Bomb Crater) (1993), and two for the novels "Krew elfów" (Blood of Elves) (1994) and "Narrenturm" (2002). He also won the Spanish Ignotus Award, best anthology, for The Last Wish in 2003, and for "Muzykanci" (The Musicians), best foreign short story, same year.

In 1997, Sapkowski won the prestigious Polityka's Passport award, which is awarded annually to artists who have strong prospects for international success.

In 2001, a Television Series based on the Witcher cycle was released in Poland and internationally, entitled Wiedźmin (The Hexer). A film by the same title was compiled from excerpts of the television series but both have been critical and box office failures.

Sapkowski's books have been translated into Czech, Russian, Lithuanian, German, Spanish, French, Ukrainian, and Portuguese. An English translation of The Last Wish short story collection was published by Gollancz in 2007.

The Polish game publisher, CD Projekt, created a role-playing PC game based on this universe, called The Witcher, which was released in October 2007. There is also a mobile version of the game which has been created by Breakpoint Games and is being published by Hands-On Mobile in Western Europe,Latin America and Asia Pacific.

The English translation of Sapkowski's novel Blood of Elves won the David Gemmell Legends Award in 2009.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 4,634 reviews
Profile Image for [ J o ].
1,950 reviews436 followers
July 29, 2023
This review can be found on Amaranthine Reads.

We come to the end of the Witcher series, and I say thank Belzebub for that. It is difficult to say why I kept reading to the very (very) bitter end, since the series was getting increasingly worse by every page. I suppose the time I had invested and a small spark of hope that the end may have been worth it all...

The Lady of the Lake is the final book and it brings the whole saga to an end, with Ciri finding herself in another world having gone through the Tower of Swallows and trying to get back, to find Geralt and somehow end the war that has been ravaging her home.

Oh, where to start. If you're wondering whether to read this series, or possible whether to continue reading this series, I will say now that you should not. There have been no improvements since the first few books, and the changes that were made to alleviate those disappointments were far too late and not particularly well done. I'll say now there may be slight spoilers here, but I won't hide the review.

We begin with Ciri, who is in "the land of the elves", which is spin-doctoring for our world. Ciri is in our world, being spoken to by Galahad and being forced to make love to Oberon (named Auberon here). This is not as far-fetched as the book gets, though it comes close. To make the plot go here is just insane: where did this come from? There has been no mention of our world, no subtle plot device to prepare us for this event and absolutely no indication that this would even be possible. There was never a mention of "other worlds" and to have Ciri just suddenly be able to do such a thing is terrible storytelling.

Ciri is also still the same pathetic, cantankerous, spoilt character she has always been. I see nothing special about her-except this ridiculous ability-and she hasn't changed during the course of this series. The other characters are also just as flat and two-dimensional as they've always been. It seems as if the plot moves along without them: as if even if they weren't there, what was happening would still be happening. They don't seem to influence much at all.

There's little else to say. The dialogue has not improved, the characters-as I said-have no improved and their reasonings and thought-processes are as dull as ever. There are still no women who get along with other women, they all wish to sleep with Geralt or kill any other woman who desires the same and the fact that we are supposed to believe that Geralt and Yennifer's "love" is true and wonderful is ridiculous considering that in The Last Wish (spoiler in the title, by the way) Geralt wishes for Yennifer's love. He wishes it in to existence. Their love is based on a pathetic genie wish made during the short story collection that came before this series, and therefore renders their feelings and motives null and void.

The ending was also exceeding disappointing and quite frankly pointless. There is also a moment where some characters actually ride off in to the sunset, as if that isn't the most clichéd thing that has ever existed as a plot device. I'm so unhappy with myself for letting me read the entire series, but I suppose I was just hoping and being annoyingly optimistic. And it is quite an easy read, once you get beyond every single man being obsessed with sex and rape. I hope some men who read this are actually offended by that, because if men aren't annoyed that the media think they're obsessed with sex and need tits and legs just to watch or interact with something, then there's no hope at all.
Profile Image for Michelle.
147 reviews240 followers
November 6, 2018
Let me start by saying that “Lady of the Lake” is absolutely a bittersweet, yet fantastic finish to “The Witcher” series. I find it very entertaining, yet challenging and deeply rewarding. The major plot points of the series, specifically: Ciri's parentage, destiny, and fate are all addressed and wrapped up rather neatly. I don’t want to expound on the plot further than that, not without giving something away that's best left to the joy of discovery. Just read the book. It’s worth it!

Andrzej Sapkowski clearly draws from the darker side of Polish and European history, using his fantasy setting to explore various aspects of human behavior in a strikingly sophisticated manner. Though immensely gratifying, “Lady of the Lake” is deeply unnerving. There are moments when it’s touching, romantic, funny, and amusing . At others, it’s unbearably sad and utterly terrifying. It's a deeply political book like its predecessors, and racism plays a central role in the narrative, as does misogyny. Another appealing element of the book, and the series, is the moral ambiguity of its power-holders. Nilfgaard is an oppressive, autocratic and megalomaniacal power; yet the Northern kingdoms-- considered to be good, are monstrously violent and cruel places where non-humans are forced to live in ghettos and suffer a lot mundane indignities. Meanwhile, the Elven Scoia'tael, who resist by force of arms, are straight-up terrorists who seemingly take joy from violence against defenseless civilians. Does this dynamic sound familiar? It sure does to me.

The book, however, is not excessively grim. There is goodness in the world, as well as in all, but the very worst actors in this drama. And people surprise you -- just when you think you've got things figured out, someone does something unexpected. It may be an unexpected kindness from a character who has hitherto appeared cold and calculating; or someone Geralt or Ciri came to trust, demonstrating why trust, in this world, should be granted prudently.

The overarching theory is that the world isn’t inherently dark and foreboding --rather, it is corrupted by ignorance, jealousy and the pursuit of power; and human nature can be redeemed in the face of naked self-interest -- through personal bonds of friendship, love and loyalty. These are timeless concepts, and by no means original to the series; yet they are striking nonetheless, by virtue of their flawless execution, and the degree to which we come to care about what happens to Geralt, Ciri, Yennefer, and the others.

“The Lady of the Lake” is also stylistically daring. As in “The Tower of Swallows”, narratives are often fragmented across several timelines and character perspectives. However, it works better this time. The epic Battle of Brenna shifts between the perspectives of various combatants, and the doctor running a field hospital in its midst. Throughout, Sapkowski intersperses vignettes often centered on peripheral characters, which themselves may link back to events occurring elsewhere. Keeping everything straight can be a challenge, but when the book concludes, the payoff is considerable.

The book ends on a curious note but, suffice to say, it raises as many questions as it provides answers. Some people may dislike the ending, but I really love how Sapkowski plays with the ideas and tropes around myths and legends. It evoked profound sadness and child-like joy, and I’ll be haunted by this myth for a very long time -- like Nimue.

I could go on and on, but really, it all just boils down to this: "The Witcher" has become one of my classic favorites alongside Tolkien's “The Lord of the Rings” and Rowling's “Harry Potter” series.
Profile Image for Kaya.
218 reviews223 followers
March 27, 2022
2.5 stars.

I am so disappointed and angry with how Sapkowski concluded the saga. Throughout the whole series, I’ve grown so attached to so many characters and I hate to see them stranded away because they couldn’t fit the author’s weak excuse for a plot. What I hate the most is what happened to Ciri in the end. It’s like a slap in the face.

This is the final book in the saga and it deals with Ciri finding herself in another dimension, trying to get back to where she belongs. Her focus is to find Geralt and end the war with Nilfgard once and for all. Unfortunately, she is trapped by a group of elves who want to exploit the power of her ancient blood for their own agenda - which definitely won’t end up well for her.

This book is a devastating conclusion to one of the most interesting fantasy series I’ve ever read. It has never been the most innovative, but it had unique characters and intelligent humor. Sadly, Sapkowski attempts to bring too many new things to the table. Instead of focusing on the characters like Geralt, Yennefer, and Tris who were shamefully neglected in the previous books, Sapkowski introduces new characters who hold no significance to the plot and live 1000 years AFTER the crucial event.

His transitions between times and places are so confusing and repetitive, that it seems like ANOTHER unnecessary filler. I feel betrayed because I have watched the potential of the series disappear without being able to do anything about it. I’m sure the author was quite aware that he couldn’t deliver a decent conclusion to that long-standing build-up and high expectations. That ending is an insult of its own with its vagueness and confusion and it’s completely ridiculous. The series would’ve been so much better if it just stayed in short story form.

I’ve grown attached to almost all characters, but by the end, most of them seem two-dimensional, passive, and plainly dumb. Especially, I hate how the author decided to kill off some of the characters. He paid more attention to killing off the villains than to honor the characters who have been actively present in the last few books.

Even the main characters made so many out-of-character decisions. For example, Geralt and Yennefer have withstood inexplicable torture and sacrificed so much to protect Ciri and I’m supposed to believe they would just calmly take part in a suicide pact while Ciri gets raped and used?

Or how the great emperor Emhyr has murdered countless men, destroyed countries, the world history as he knows it, literally pushed the whole continent into a war to obtain Ciri, just so he would give her up because Yennefer shed a tear? Does the author honestly believe we’re that dumb? Or how Ciri was the child of hope and throughout all books, everyone was making great plans for her to conceive a child and she ended up alone with some knight wanting her to become his wife? She deserved so much more. All in all, some plot twists started extremely well and exciting but ended terribly.

Geralt is supposed to be a fascinating character, and he is when he isn't brooding - which he is 90% of the time in books 3-7. He was so passive and ready to give up so many times, which is in contrast with everything the readers have seen of him in the previous books. The character development is inconsistent and makes it hard for me to remember why I even fell in love with him in the first place.
Profile Image for Markus.
476 reviews1,565 followers
January 16, 2020
Lady of the Lake is an unfortunately poor conclusion to one of the finest fantasy series ever written. Sapkowski attempts to mix in too many new things, his transitions between times and places are very poorly executed and quite overused, and everything about the ending itself is either too much of a cliché, or simply ridiculous.

I've stayed with this saga for many years now, and it remains one of my favourites. Especially the knowledge that the game series takes the franchise to perfection, is a comfort.
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 5 books4,109 followers
July 3, 2020
I honestly tried to find the truly negative aspects about this book. I honestly did. But when it came to the dreamlike aspects, the tie-ins and total subversion of the tiny bits of the Arthurian Legend, or when it came to finding this to be a weak Witcher novel...?

Eh. No. It was very strong. Strong enough to keep my attention fully rapt from start to finish.

I mean, who DOESN'T like Ciri as a badass? She sure went through a ton of changes and misfortunes. All that extremely well done prophesy buildup from the first books, the way Yennefer and Geralt would do anything for her, or how the entire mess played out, lead to one of the best, most disturbing passages of full-out war I've read in a fantasy series. (And that's including Tolkein, mind you.)

But perhaps I'm not focusing on the right thing. What I should be pointing at is the future-timeline jumps, the little speeches from old survivors, the way the past is remembered or misremembered. These are the writings that pulled me under the lake and drowned me. It put everything... and I mean everything into perspective. We get the crap, the idealism, the hopeful, the romantic... and THEN we get the real, heartbreaking story.

And no. I'm not going to spoil what becomes of Yennefer and Geralt. I'll just say I cried. If you want to know more, then damn you, READ THE BOOK. :)

*smacks lips* So tasty.

One other thing: the writing style is NOT very traditional, but it IS evocative. I really appreciate how this series is UNLIKE most epic fantasy. It's much smarter than I think most people give it credit. :)
Profile Image for Sean Barrs .
1,119 reviews44.8k followers
June 27, 2017
This is the final tale in the dark fantasy series The Witcher, and all though it had a decent start the ending will, no doubt, disappoint many readers. The idea that the truths of ancient history and mythology can be unearthed by exploring them in the dreams of a talented sleeper is rather enchanting. It's an interesting idea, one that merges history and fantasy creating an almost dream like feel within the writing, though it never delivers what it promises.

The fantasy elements in here are predominantly dark and twisted. Not a bad thing of course. Just because it's a dream it doesn't mean it's going to be a pleasant one for the characters involved. This isn't a book about glorious forests and magnificent scenery in which good always conquers evil. No. This is a book about opportunists. It's a story about how people will always try to use others if it means they might have a chance for more power. Such is Ciri's strand of the story. She is entrapped by a group of elves who wish to harness the power of her ancient blood, by breeding her to create an offspring they can wield for their own advantage. Not very nice at all, though they have overlooked Ciri's own opportunist nature and her will to survive. She's not a woman to take this in her stride. Indeed, she bides her time and looks for an opportunity to escape.

Geralt, on the other hand, is enjoying life for the first part of the book. He has a new romance, though such a thing could only ever be temporary. There's only one woman he will truly love, and finding her again becomes his only purpose. But Ciri is far removed from his life and reuniting with her will lead him on a perilous journey. Fans of the video games will know all too well that his day job is hunting monsters; he puts this aside for a while and embarks on a bigger quest. The two separate strands drove the narrative forward as they grew ever closer. The relationship between the two characters was the strongest aspect of the book.

The events may seem far removed from the legend the title of the book references. It begins with a retelling of this element of the Arthurian myth, though Sapkowski gives it his own twist. He blends the history with the fantasy, creating a unique world. However, towards the end it did become a little confusing at points. It all felt vague and extremely fragmented, but I suppose that's what happens with dreams. The story telling was not as precise as the early books in the series, and the structure was a little clunky. It was hard to tell when events were happening in relation to each other, and at times the book felt like a series of connected short stories or novellas rather than the full novel it was trying to be this time round. The ending too will likely disappoint many readers with its sheer lack of punch and open ended nature.

I did enjoyed parts of this book, though it did have many problems. I only recommend this to those that have read all the previous books in the series; this is most certainly a conclusion, as weak as it was, rather than a stand-alone novel.

-I received an arc of this book from The Bookbag in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for F.B. Gold.
Author 1 book1 follower
August 22, 2020
Greetings. Before I, in the spirit of Festivus, get to my grievances, I am going to first say that I really wanted to like the Witcher books. I absolutely loved the games and, so, I wanted to love the books, as well. And I did enjoy the first two books – the compilations of short stories. But then I started the five-book saga, and, man, did the series ever go downhill. I'm unsure whether I would have recommended the saga to others after reading the first four books. However, any doubt evaporated after I read book five. ‘Lady of the Lake' ruined the entire saga for me.

I. Pacing
One major problem with the book is that it has very poor pacing. The plot is a meandering mess. I would argue that of this 531-page novel, at least 200 pages don’t involve – even indirectly - the three main characters or their story in any way whatsoever. Ultimately, these extra chapters are nothing but world building. Now, I fully agree that world building is necessary in a story, but there is a proper time and place to do it. I don’t believe that adding so much world building in the last book of a five-book saga is the correct time and place. These chapters were a boring distraction. While I was reading them, I just wanted to get back to Geralt, Ciri, and Yennefer. In my opinion, the author should've excluded these chapters, and then, after the saga was complete, he could've written a stand-alone novel dealing with the war between Nilfgaard and the Northern kingdoms. (Similar to how CDPR created ‘Thronebreaker,’ a stand-alone videogame that was separate from the Geralt-focused Witcher games.) If Sapkowski had done that, then that would've given us two separate books that both contained tight plots and interesting, compelling characters that we actually cared about. Instead, we got one, huge muddled book filled with a bunch of superfluous characters and plot-threads that bored me and acted as distractions to the main plot.

II. Contrivances
When I discuss contrivances, I’m specifically referring to 'Deus ex machina' - events that ‘miraculously’ resolve some problem for the characters that they seemingly couldn’t resolve on their own. I, like most people, find this narrative ploy to be unsatisfying. It’s typically a sign of lazy, unimaginative writing. It’s a sign that the writer could not come up with a logical and creative way for the protagonist to overcome the obstacle that the writer forced onto the protagonist in the first place.

Here are just a few of the many contrivances:
A. Ciri is trying to get back to her own world and time in order to save Yennefer, but she just can’t figure out how to do it. But, then, she just so happens to arrive – in the future - at the lake with Nimue (who just so happens to be an expert in the ‘legend’ of Ciri) so that Nimue can then magically open up a portal to Stygga castle so that Ciri can then pass through in order to rescue Yennefer. So, Ciri only found Yennefer through pure blind luck – not through anything she did on her own, but simply because the author needed her to. I’ll be honest – it seems as if the entire plot-thread with Condwiramurs and Nimue was only brought into this story simply for this one contrivance. It left me just shaking my head when I read it. I doesn’t help that I loathe the use of time-travel as a ploy to solve problems.

B. For some reason, Sapkowski wanted all of Geralt’s ‘fellowship’ to die at Stygga castle. And I’m fine with that. I have no issues with characters dying. The problem was that he had earlier in the saga included into the fellowship an incredibly overpowered, almost-immortal vampire in Regis. Regis is a character that can wipe out scores of enemies by himself. We even see him do it within the chapter. So, what does Sapkowski do to deal with this? Easy, he conveniently has Regis leave the rest of the fellowship on multiple occasions so that they can then be killed off. First, Geralt sends Regis to find Ciri (which, I will admit - that actually makes sense within the context of the story, and I’ll discuss that more below). While Regis is gone, searching for Ciri, Milva gets killed by a group of bad guys that Regis could have easily dispatched by himself. But then Regis comes back, telling Geralt that he had found and saved Ciri. So, then what does Geralt do? Tells everyone to split up again – even though it makes no sense to do so. So, Regis goes somewhere else by himself leaving everyone else alone so that Cahir and Angouleme can be killed. It’s a total contrivance which makes no logical sense. It just happens for plot reasons.

Secondly, let’s discuss Regis and Ciri: as I said in the previous paragraph, I think it makes sense that Geralt would tell Regis to find and save Ciri because that was the entire purpose of them being there. Heck, that was the entire purpose of the five-book saga – finding and saving Ciri. However, once Regis had found and saved Ciri, it is totally unbelievable that he would then let her go off by herself. In fact, Geralt even tells Regis this, and Regis replies, “She demanded it. Using a tone and attitude that ruled out any discussion.” Yeah, right. As if a 400-year-old vampire would be intimidated by a bratty teenager. I don’t believe that for one second. It’s been shown multiple times in the books that Regis isn’t intimidated by anyone, not even Geralt. But, now, he just meekly acquiesces to Ciri’s demands? It’s nonsense.

C. Perhaps the most ridiculous contrivance is how Geralt discovers the location of Stygga castle. In all of the castles in all of the provinces in all the Continent, it just so happens that Skellen and his co-conspirators are meeting in the exact one (and at the exact right time) where Geralt happens to be on a monster contract so that he can overhear them discussing Vilgefortz’s location. I just sighed and rolled my eyes after reading that scene. So, he’s just hanging out in Beauclair for a couple of months, chilling with his friends, having sex with Fringilla, and completing some monster contracts. In fact, at that point in the story, it actually seems that he’s completely forgotten about his search for Ciri, and then, suddenly, this information just miraculously falls into his lap. It’s ridiculous. Instead of using a contrivance, how about letting Geralt overcome the obstacle by using his intelligence, skills, and hard work - you know, like a protagonist with some actual agency would do?

III. Inconsistencies
Even within a fantasy world – in a world of magic or superpowers – things still have to behave in a consistent manner. Otherwise, it just causes confusion and breaks immersion. For example, if I establish that Superman can fly, but later in the story, he inexplicably uses the elevator to get to the top of a building instead of simply flying to the top, then that would cause confusion in the readers. So, whatever ‘rules’ of the universe that the author creates, they need to be consistent in order to have a satisfying story.

Here are just a few of the many inconsistencies:
A. Let’s look at Ciri’s ability to use her power at Stygga castle. First, it is revealed to the reader that the magic at the castle is so powerful that it prevents her from being able to teleport to other times and places. Okay, I’m fine with that. Since Sapkowski never explained exactly how magic works or how Ciri's powers work, then I’m willing to believe that. Except that a few pages later, she miraculously and inexplicably can use her power in order to escape from Bonhart. How did that happen? We don’t know. We're never told. But it is now clearly established that she can use her power again. So, then, at the end of the battle, Emhyr’s men show up, and now Geralt, Ciri, and Yennefer are about to be surrounded. Does Ciri then grab ahold of her two parental figures and teleport away? No, she doesn’t. Heck, she doesn’t even attempt to do it. She just sits down and gives up. She has this incredible power and she doesn’t even try to use it in order to save herself and her loved ones. That’s total nonsense.

B. Let’s look at Yennefer’s use of magic at Stygga castle. Earlier in the fight, we see Yennefer using large amounts of magic. So, whatever magic that the castle possessed, it was clearly not affecting her. We also know that Yennefer has the ability to use teleportation magic. We’ve seen her do it before in the saga. So, even if one wants to argue that, at the end of the battle, the castle’s magic was keeping Ciri from using her power in order to teleport away, there is absolutely no good explanation as to why Yennefer wouldn’t just quickly open up a portal to allow the three of them to escape. But she doesn’t do that. Just like with Ciri, she doesn’t even try.

C. Let’s look at Geralt’s use of his Signs – or, more specifically, his lack thereof. This is actually a flaw within the entire saga. After Sapkowski introduces witcher Signs in the two first books (the short story compilations), Geralt pretty much never uses them again. In fact, I could be wrong, but I think he only uses his Signs twice in the entire five book saga. It makes no sense to give this character these great abilities but then never have him use them. At the end of the battle, he and Emhyr speak in a room by themselves with no one else around. At that point, he could have used Axii on the emperor and forced Emhyr to let the three of them go. He should have at least attempted it, but he didn’t. He didn’t even try.

IV. Character Betrayals
In my opinion, Sapkowski, simply for plot purposes, betrayed his own characters by making them act in ways that are fundamentally opposed to who they are at their core. In the previous section, I already mentioned Regis acting in an inconsistent manner, but now, I’ll give three more examples.

A. Ciri
First, I think it's very strange that she just surrendered herself over to Vilgefortz with no real plan - thinking that he would then just let Yennefer go. That seems very naïve, which, at that point in the story, Ciri should not be. But, even worse is that, at the end of the battle at Stygga castle, Sapkowski has Ciri just give up. She doesn’t even try to save herself, Geralt, and Yennefer once Emhyr’s men show up. She doesn’t even attempt to use her power in order to have the three of them escape. Once Emhyr’s men show up, she just sits down on the steps, lays her sword down, and quits. Sapkowski writes that it was because she – along with Yen - were just “…terribly tired. And resigned.” So, she just gives up because she’s tired? That seems so off to me. But, to be honest, now that I’m really thinking about her, I’ve come to realize that her personality is all over the place in this book. She seems to constantly flip-flop back and forth from being a hard-nosed girl who will never allow herself to be taken advantage of to being a spineless character who just gives up in the face of hardship. It’s really strange. I’m not sure that she has an actual character arc in this story. It’s more of a circle. I would go into detail here, but I'm about to run out of space. But the bottom line is that it makes no sense that she wouldn’t at least try to use her power to save Geralt, Yennefer, and herself.

B. Emperor Emhyr
For five books, we’ve seen him act in many ruthless ways. He’s also incredibly driven. For the entire saga, we’ve seen him pursuing Ciri at all costs. He started an intracontinental war just so that he could get his hands on her. He had no problems with hundreds of thousands of people dying in a war so that he could impregnate his own daughter and have a prophecy fulfilled. So, again, he’s not a good guy. But, then, there at Stygga castle, he sees Ciri crying and just suddenly has a complete change of heart and decides to let her go. Really? So, because he sees some tears, he decides to scrap his entire plan of fulfilling the prophecy and strengthening the empire? I don’t believe that for one second. It was completely out of character.

C. Geralt and Yennefer
For five books, these two showed that they love Ciri, view her as their child, and will do whatever it takes in order to keep her from harm. They were willing to kill in order to keep her safe. They were willing to die and be tortured in order to keep her safe. That is who they are at their core. And it’s not just me who thinks so. At the end of the book, Fringilla Vigo says this about Geralt, “…more than anything, I’m doing it for Geralt of Rivia, the Witcher, without whom that girl [Ciri] wouldn’t be here today. Who, in order to rescue Ciri, went to the end of the world, fighting everything that stood in his way, even himself.” So, it is a complete betrayal to their characters that Sapkowski would just have them give up, resign themselves to a suicide pact, and allow Emhyr to take Ciri away and impregnate her against her will. That goes against who they fundamentally are. That would be like Sam killing Frodo for the ring or Luke killing Vader and joining Palpatine. It just wouldn't happen. They would have forced Emhyr to kill them before they ever would have agreed to do any of that. They would have done everything in their power – including using their magic and Signs – in order to keep her out of his hands. Given the high rating for this book, then I'm clearly in the minority here, but I will just never consider suicide to be a romantic, honorable, or satisfying choice for a protagonist to make when having to face down the epic conflict in a story. I think it's cowardly, not honorable, and it made me completely lose respect for the characters, which is never a good thing for a reader to feel about the main protagonists of a story. I honestly can’t believe that Sapkowski did that to his own characters. It’s very weird that I seem to respect and care more about his characters than he does.

I know that videogames and books are their own unique forms of media. But one area where they are similar is that they both tell stories. Imagine this scenario in The Witcher 3: it's the epic climax of the story. The Wild Hunt are overwhelming the good guys, when Geralt suddenly yells out, "Hey, Eredin! I'm really tired right now so I'm just going to lay down my sword and go commit suicide. Go ahead and take Ciri and do whatever you want to with her. Peace out." I'm pretty sure that would go down as one of the worst endings in videogame history. And, yet, that exact scenario occurred in the book, and everyone just seems to be fine with it. It's truly confusing.

Sapkowski betraying Geralt and Yennefer is what ruined the book for me. It’s what ruined the entire saga for me. I’m just very grateful that I was first introduced to Geralt and his universe through the Witcher 3 videogame instead of through the books. Because if I had read the books first, I probably would have never even bothered to play the games.

Of course, all of this is just my opinion. I could be wrong. Regardless, I truly hope that you enjoyed the saga more than I did.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Deborah Obida.
681 reviews620 followers
July 25, 2020
Interesting but slightly disappointing, after six books I expected more. The annoying thing is that it was something small that ruined this book, and that thing is drum rolls the story telling/ writing style. If the author had used the style he used in the previous book this would have been way better. There was well depicted fight scenes, new worlds, awesome characters and plot in this.

Verily do I tell you that whoever believes in dreams is as one trying to catch the wind or seize a shadow. He is deluded by a beguiling picture, a warped looking glass, which lies or utters absurdities in the manner of a woman in labour. Foolish indeed is he who lends credence to dreams and treads the path of delusion.
Nonetheless, whoever disdains and does not believe them at all also acts unwisely. For if dreams had no import whatsoever why, then, would the Gods, in creating us, give us the ability to dream?

The world building is amazing, I really enjoyed the depiction. The writing oh Lord its the worst, the story was told was different sides, it started from the end, the beginning then what was supposed to be the middle of the story was at the end, why the author adapted this style I have no idea.

The characters as always are awesome with coo personalities, since this is a fantasy some of my well loved characters died. Geralt, Ciri and Yennefer finally lived up to my expectations for them. Cahir, Regis, Milva, Anglomelue and Dandelion were also here. I wish they have more page space than they did.

The plot that was supposed to be straight forward started with Ciri in a weird world then she started telling her story. Instead of the story to follow a normal progress the author changed POV to a new character hundreds of years later after Ciri's time. This new character is trying find out what happened to Ciri, Geralt and Yennefer. Once again POV was changed to a new character who is a soldier in the war with Nilfgaard, this part was slightly fun to read but again POV was changed. It was so sporadic that even though things came together in the end I did not appreciate it. I'd rather it was a conventional storytelling style.

I'm still confused about that ending.
Profile Image for James Tivendale.
318 reviews1,345 followers
February 19, 2019
DNF'd at 55%.

A shame that I couldn't get through the final book in the series but the majority of this book was a chore to read. Too much time hopping, world swapping, new and boring characters and not enough time spent with the people I actually cared about. I'm sure I'll come back to this sometime when I have more patience and time but it just wasn't for me at the moment. I just wasn't excited about what I was reading.
Profile Image for Samir.
111 reviews177 followers
March 2, 2019
This book is a perfect example of how to end a series in the most boring and underwhelming way possible.

I don't think that introducing a bunch of pointless and boring characters in the last book of the series just for the sake of world-building is the way to go. And the ending was really bland.

I give myself five stars for resisting the urge to DNF this a couple of times and for not dying of boredom.
The book gets 1.5 stars, barely.
February 14, 2014
Prior to reading the first book in this series I was very, very convinced that these books would end up being among the best in the worst genre to pick books from. I finished the first three, and they were perfect. They had everything that a fantasy novel should have, maybe not could ever have, but I always put a lot of expectation on what I would read and the first three titles hit the mark. An interesting world, painted with vivid imagery without clunky paragraphs of overwhelming description, realism within fantasy, a lot of philosophy, of humor, of adventure, all presented with mind of the culture and the plotline that serves as a nice, neat framework for all that.
While those three were great, I can only say that the last two could be better. The last one, The Lady of the Lake, was disappointing.
The problem with this series is that it felt like one ENORMOUS tumour had begun to manifest in it by the end of the second book, and grew to full form at the fifth. That tumour's Ciri, by the way. I truly loved her character from the beginning, but by the end I felt like the author didn't even bother to sugar-coat the fact that she had evolved into a very obnoxious Mary-Sue. The thing is I wouldn't have minded any of that had her Mary-Sueness not manipulated the plot into something mundane, something dull and dulling and just so mundane.
Here is why- the plot was wrapped up only with Ciri in mind. I know she is supposed to be the main character from the very beginning, so no problem with that, but was it necessary to kill off anyone else who had no place in her "happy" ending? Was it necessary to reduce wonderful, intelligent, proud and charismatic characters to fools beneath her? Was it necessary to have every conflict in the books resolved or completely thrown away into disregard for her, because of her? That's just so pretentious.
It felt like the author wrote her with the intention of making her a legendary figure, but ended up making it look like generic self-insert fanfiction. Fanfiction written with increasingly faltering bouts of creativity, by the way, because you know, it's always great to draw from myth and folklore when writing fiction, but to do so in a way that it seems like copy and pasting, rather than re-telling or bringing new colour to the story, just honestly cheapens it. Or perhaps the mythic elements were cheapened because of the omnipresence of a flamboyant Mary-Sue? With the myth concerning the Elvenking, it felt like that. A legendary, otherworldly creature, so cold and powerful and proud, left to snorting crack and reading porn and just to force himself to have sex with Ciri and beget the saviour and destroyer of worlds. (?????... ?????) Absurd, and frustrating...
It's disheartening, because I really, really wanted so much more for such a promising character and for such a promising end to a beautifully-written world. I adored and admired almost all the characters, an obvious indicator of skill on the author's behalf you know, but by the end they were made lame, "pathetic", simple and dumb. I fell in love with the world, but then you see at the end that the world actually sucks so bad that you wouldn't even want to live in it. Bad mistake in a fantasy book.
So yeah... here I lay my disappointment and my frustration, because I had so much hope, and so much admiration for these books. I do recommend these above the average fantasy novel, but I can only really allow praise to the first three, and indifferent grunts of recognition for the last two.
Profile Image for Dana Ilie.
404 reviews351 followers
February 11, 2020
As an individual novel, The Lady of the Lake is not the strongest book in The Witcher, but it is a well-written and thorough conclusion to this series. As you close the book and put it on the nightstand you might not feel that warm sense of satisfaction you get from a happily ever after, but you remain with the brilliant experience of a thoughtful and well-executed ending to an incredible story.
Profile Image for Nikki.
328 reviews4 followers
September 30, 2016
I have so many thoughts after reading this final installment of the Witcher saga.

The beginning of this book dragged on forever. Ciri is running around in Avalon, an entire different universe. I could care less about Condwiramurs, a woman who dreams about the legends of the Witcher in the future, and yet we return to her chapter after chapter. This is one of my main complaints throughout the book. There is so much time dedicated to new and minor characters, while the main characters' lives (and especially deaths!) are glossed over. Less of Nimue, Pretty Kitty, etc... and more of Milva, Regis, Cahir, and even the sorceress's guild... would have been appreciated. A lot of time is also wasted on philosophical ramblings. While the gray morality theme has been enjoyably present in all of the witcher books, it has not previously been stated outright and over and over again by a slew of minor characters. The theme was just beaten to death in this novel.

Point of view switches non-stop. We jump to the past, to the future, to historical texts, and back again in an unconnected way. The story of the witcher has become legend instead of a straightforward story. Did Geralt die of a heart attack in old age? Or a pitchfork in the present?

Geralt's time with Fringilla Vigo does not fit his character. That he would waste away his winter in that castle and resume his activities as a witcher, even under enchantment, is slightly unbelievable. The way that he learns of Vilgefortz's location is pretty convenient and just serves to push the plot forward out of the mire.

Ciri is more and more unlikable. Her time with the elves is borderline bawdy and unnecessary to the plotline.

In the epic battle in Vilgefortz's hideout, many characters act...out of character. For example, Regis does not jump headfirst into anything. Geralt and Yennefer have withstood torture, grievous wounds, and much more in order to protect Ciri, so their easy, calm, and romantic suicide pact while Ciri gets dragged of to be raped by her father is just NOT plausible. Emhyr has murdered countless individuals and literally plunged a continent into war and more in order to obtain Ciri, so the site of tears changing his mind is mind-bogglingly unbelievable. What an odd way to get the characters out of the situation. The mushy and constant declarations of love being traded between Ciri, Geralt, and Yennefer are also completely out of character.

And then... the final scene. It is written as to be undecipherable. I read it, reread it, and then closed the book with baffled question marks over my head.

Overall, just not the conclusion that I would have hoped for. Over time, the series lost its endearing wit and charm and became overly detailed, bleak, and ridden with political turmoil. This doesn't change the fact that Geralt, as well as many others, are great characters. I just wish the books would have progressed in the same vein that they started.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Edward.
377 reviews1,013 followers
December 30, 2020
A disappointing ending for a promising series. Tempted to go back and play the Witcher 3 to re-capture my love for the world.
Profile Image for Knjigoholičarka.
153 reviews8 followers
October 2, 2019
Review iz 2014-te:

Teško je jednim review-om obuhvatiti četvoromesečnu zabavu koju mi je pružilo čitanje serijala o Vešcu, ali hajde da pokušam.

Slabo stojim sa serijalima epske fantastike - osim neizbežne Tolkinove trilogije "Gospodar prstenova" (pridodaćemo tu i "Hobita" jer je, zapravo, tu cela priča počela), mamutskog "Točka vremena" i nedovršene "Pesme leda i vatre" (spremna sam da se kladim da Martin nikad neće ni završiti serijal), "Saga o Vešcu" je došla kao prijatno iznenađenje, ne samo što se tiče worldbuilding-a, već i stila pisanja, kao i pristupa uobičajenim temama kojima se epska fantastika obično bavi (mislim da sam spomenula već jednom uvek-ponavljajuće motive o Odabranom, o Proročanstvima i bla-bla-truć).

Krajnje je uobičajena stvar da pisci poturaju reference na razna književna i ina umetnička dela koja su ih inspirisala i motivisala da se i sami bave pričanjem priča. Ali način na koji Sapkovski to radi svež je i - za mene - inovativan u ovom žanru. Umesto da da omaž piscima i književnim likovima, Sapkovski im daje novi život, reinterpretira njihova dela na način koji može da znači jedino da se prokleto dobro zabavljao pišući ovaj serijal i smišljajući razne sarkastične nepodopštine. Verovatno i sam umoran od prežvakavanja stalno istih motiva, ostaje mi samo da pretpostavljam da je Sapkovski odlučio da se podrugne takvoj spisateljskoj praksi i, poput kritike, podari nam likove koji nimalo skriveno predstavljaju antipode svojim originalima iz sveta književnosti: pa tako imamo Snežanu sa bandom od sedam drumskih razbojnika, kralja vilenjaka Oberona koji je frustrirajuće impotentan i ne može da podari naslednika svom narodu, vampira vegetarijanca koji se, u procesu skidanja sa krvi, čak bavi i proizvodnjom rakije... vešto uplićući takve minijature u priču, Sapkovski ne preteruje čak ni onda kada se učini da je "ovoga puta zaista preterao". Em, uglavnom.

Takođe, jedan od aduta žanra epske fantastike jeste i vezivanje čitalaca za krajnje živopisne likove koji, prolazeći sito i rešeto, sazrevaju, uče, bore se, tuguju, raduju se, a zajedno sa njima i mi, čitaoci, željni eskapističkog predaha uz avanture nekog imaginarnog sveta. Sapkovski i ovde briljira. Za razliku od Tolkina, čiji su likovi visokoparne figure, više simboli nego likovi osmišljeni da budu "životni" i skloni slabostima i temperamentinim reakcijama, za razliku od Džordanovih dvodimenzionalnih, šabloniziranih likova koji reaguju nelogično i iritantno bez obzira na stalež i narod, a strogo ukalupljenih po svom polu, kao i za razliku od Martinovih kraljeva, kraljica i vlastele, u serijalu koji uopšte ne uzima u obzir "male ljude", Sapkovski je uspeo da zahvati iz bunara raznolikosti izuzetno velikom kofom - pa tako imamo i kraljeva, i kraljica, i seljaka, i lovaca, i kriminalaca, i vojskovođa, i čarobnjaka, i čarobnica, i prosjaka, i sveštenstva... a svi oni, shodno logici, slede neke svoje, sopstvene puteve, i u svojoj raznovrsnosti su (uglavnom) potpuno uverljivi i deluju maltene opipljivo, stvarno, kao da su građeni po nekim primerima, uzorima koje je pisac možda (ko će ga znati) imao u svojoj okolini. Smeju se, plaču, vole, mrze, tvrdoglavi su ili mudri, pametni ili glupi, drski ili blagi, uče, prave greške, rade dobro, rade loše, i sve to u skladu sa dodeljenim im karakterima. Moj naklon za ovo.

Odlučujući se za motiv provokativnosti koji bi njegovu Sagu mogao da istakne u odnosu na druge serijale, Sapkovski je, po mom skromnom mišljenju, načinio pun pogodak, opredelivši se da nam opisuje sve one ogavne stvari koje se obično preskaču u ovakvim pričama, i stavljajući svoje likove u situacije sasvim surove i, nažalost, realne, u skladu sa događanjima opisanim u knjizi. Tako se, na primer, nije libio da opiše kako je prelepa čarobnica Tris Merigold imala proliv, kako se Jenefer upiškila u bazenu, kako je slavna Temerijska vojska kopala nužnike na putu ka bojnom polju, kako Ciri briše slinav nos rukavom, kako se Geralt napije kao krmak od votke. Za razliku od Martinovog serijala koji seks koristi kao "spice-it-up" dodatak priči, Sapkovski seksu prilazi trezvenije i, rekla bih, manje uspaljeno od američkog kolege. Seks je ne samo uživanje, već i oruđe moći, alatka kojom se manipuliše, ali i oružje represije, ponižavanja i tlačenja u slučajevima silovanja i zločina tokom rata. Sapkovski se ne libi da nam gadarije koje ljudi rade poturi pod nos i kaže "izvol'te, i ovo smo mi".

Suma sumarum, što se tiče hvale namenjene ovoj sagi, zadivljujuće je kako je Sapkovski naizgled jednostavno, promenama u načinu pripovedanja (sa pravolinijskog pričanja priče prelazi na flashbackove, i vice versa; menjanjem POV likova, uključujući time različite "tabore", staleže, polove, profesije, vrste), uspeo da obuhvati celokupan haos koji nastaje prilikom izbijanja rata između dve velike vojne sile. Širinu teritorije koja tom prilikom strada, načine na koji svaki od staleža/naroda/polova pri tome trpi, kao i sveobuhvatne posledice koje takav jedan sukob izaziva. Nema dobrih i loših momaka u ratu. Rat je rat, a diplomatija samo njegova produžena ruka.

Naravno, nije sve baš savršeno u ovoj Sagi. Negde na početku, umeo je Sapkovski debelo da zagazi u patetiku i moralizatorske propovedi iskazane izveštačenim i pretencioznim monolozima. Umeo je Sapkovski da ostavi neke stvari nedorečene, izluđujući nedorečene, pretpostavljajući, valjda, da to što se likovi u knjigama nekako razumeju i ćutanjem, podrazumeva da i čitaoci shvate šta bi to ćutanje trebalo da znači. Lutao je Sapkovski poprilično dok nije pronašao neki čvrst, utaban put, kojim je sigurno krenuo i doveo priču do kraja, oslobodivši se nekako usput "dečjih bolesti" u pripovedanju, tako vidljivih na početku serijala. Bilo je možda nekih delova koji su zaslužili da se osmisle ili ispričaju malo drugačije. Ali, i pored nekih nategnutih i zdrljanih rešenja, ne mogu se oteti utisku da je Sapkovski od samog početka znao gde i kako priča treba da se završi.

Znati dobro završiti priču podjednako je važno kao i znati započeti je. Toliko.
Profile Image for SMLauri.
430 reviews113 followers
November 21, 2017
Me ha dado muchísima pena terminar esta saga.
Me gusta mucho como escribe Sapkowski, aunque hay algunas partes que no me interesaban nada, pero bueno, no me han molestado esos trozos.

No me quería despedir de Geralt, Ciri, Jarkier y Triss, pero esta saga no se podía alargar más (sí, aún me queda Estación de Tormentas, pero ese ya lo leeré cuando se me pase la pena y necesite volver a leer a Geralt).
No he conseguido cogerle ningún cariño a Yennefer, incluso he tenido muchísimos momentos en los que quería que muriese, pero bueno, ninguna saga es perfecta al 100%.

He tenido ratos en los que me perdía en la trama, pero al final se ha centrado en lo importante.

Recomiendo mucho esta saga para todos aquellos a los que les encante la fantasía.

Y ya está, no sé hacer reseñas, y menos de finales de sagas.
Profile Image for Suhailah.
223 reviews20 followers
July 12, 2023
“Destiny isn’t the judgements of providence, isn’t scrolls written by the hand of a demiurge, isn’t fatalism. Destiny is hope. Being full of hope, believing that what is meant to happen will happen.”

No, that wasn’t me laying in a fetal position crying last night while my husband tried to hold me and soothe away my pain. No, I didn’t stay up fighting sleep way past my bedtime to finish this book. I’m shattered. I’m heartbroken.💔This was the last official book of the series (not including the standalone book Season of Storms that released years later which I shall read later this year once the pain has diminished some.) So, I did it! It was an extremely long journey, so finishing this book made me cry for one than one reason. I shall list them all below:

§ I was utterly consumed by nostalgia reaching the end when I really started realizing it was really finally over. I went through hell and back with these characters and rooted for so many of them for so long.

§ THAT ENDING….killed me….talk about a bittersweet, open-to-interpretation, slap-in-the-face kind of ending!!!! Ahhhhhh!!! WHY!?!? I do realize (and accept…) not all endings can be happy, but I feel I was deprived and betrayed. Anyway, that’s life. I know. But still. I suppose I can try to lean more on the happier side of the possible open interpretation, but it’s just hard to accept when the grim reality competes to set in. Thus, I shall eternally be disappointed I’m sure.

§ I may have shipped two characters (my lips are sealed - I won’t say which two to avoid spoilers) since the last book when a certain something was revealed, and they NEVER got their opportunity. They finally got their MOMENT in this book, a single sacrificing moment during which I believe one party never even realized the true extent of the other’s feelings. That shatters my entire existence. Ahhh!!!! Why?!?!

§ The agony started around the 60-65% mark at the climax and continued on to the end. It was emotionally tortuous!

Honorable Mentions:

∆ I was happy to see Geralt returning to his Witcher roots in this book as he has been pretty lost in the last couple of books. It made me so happy that he kind of found himself before everything else happened.

∆ Loved, loved, loved the touch of Arthurian legend tied into this book!! Although sadly, I have to say I was at a slight disadvantage because I’m not too terribly familiar with the details of the Arthurian legend other than the experience I had watching the show Merlin a few years ago! But I solemnly swear I shall learn more very soon. It’s extremely intriguing!!

Do I still recommend this series? Yes, I absolutely do!! It’s an epic fantasy world with complex plots and addicting characters. It’s a grand journey with tons of ups and downs. It’s cleverly written, and the dedication bleeds. Completely unforgettable! I’m so proud of myself for finishing the series!

⚔️ Geralt will always be my Witcher! ⚔️ 🪙

I suppose after I pick up the pieces of what’s left of my soul from the agony of finishing the series, I should really read that standalone book and delve back into the Witcher 3 game. I’ve heard the game takes place after the events of the books. So maybe I can find some hope….
Profile Image for Anniebananie.
552 reviews399 followers
January 30, 2022
Puh die Bewertung fällt mir bei diesem Band wirklich schwer... ich bin hin- und hergerissen.

Einerseits liebe ich die Reihe und somit auch das Buch, allerdings kam ich hier zu Beginn mega schwer in die Geschichte rein. Die Kapitel sind ja bei Herrn Sapkowski sowieso schon immer elendig lang und wenn das Kapitel dann gefühlt gar nichts zum Plot beträgt und der Inhalt auch in 3-4 Sätzen hätte erzählt werden können... :/

Nach dem ersten Drittel wurde es zum Glück aber besser und spannender. Es wurden zwar nicht wirklich viele Fragen beantwortet, sondern auch immer wieder neue Rätsel aufgeworfen, allerdings habe ich bei dieser Reihe auch das Gefühl, dass es an mir liegt, dass ich nicht alle Feinheiten und Hintergründe verstehe. Kennt ihr das Gefühl, zu dumm für ein Buch zu sein? :D

Nichtsdestotrotz eine epische Reihe, die grade in diesem Band noch viele Überraschungen und Plottwists parat hält. Die Geschichte ist einfach raffiniert, komplex und detailreich erdacht und erzählt. Kann für mich definitiv mit George R.R. Martin mithalten.
Profile Image for Caro the Helmet Lady.
773 reviews349 followers
December 1, 2019
And again, I am at this point, where of course I can make a return, but something is definitely over. And as every time I'm sad because, as Ciri used to say, it's just not fair. It's over. But the war is not over, the evil is not gone and it will never be, but there will be no Witcher to fight it. Because that world didn't deserve that Witcher. Will Ciri come back to save it? I don't think so. The question remains unanswered. For you to guess.
While I understand some critics I can't do nothing else but love the book, even more than before. Love the series, love the characters. Even though I think that it's unfair (again!) that Sapkowski went full g.r.r.martin on some of them... Mind you, before it was cool.
Happy to have read it again. Till next time, Witcher! <3
Profile Image for Mogsy.
2,073 reviews2,635 followers
April 18, 2017
3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2017/04/13/...

Eighteen years after its original publication in Polish, this concluding volume of The Witcher series finally has its official English translation. While fan translations have been around for quite a while now, honestly I thought it was well worth the wait, if nothing else because I got to enjoy the excellent audiobook edition. I started off by reading the books, but then on a whim decided to switch formats once I got to Baptism of Fire and never looked back.

Anyway, the final book of a series is always something special. By this time, the story has taken over your mind and the characters have wormed their way into your heart. While endings can be a delight, oftentimes they are also bittersweet, because you’ve had so much fun on this adventure but now it’s time to say farewell. You start to wonder to yourself what the long awaited finale might be like: will it be everything you ever wanted, or fall short of expectations?

Well, in the case of The Lady of the Lake, my thoughts were mixed. The story begins cryptically, with Sir Galahad of Arthurian legend fame stumbling upon Ciri bathing in a pond. After the knight mistakes her for the Lady of the Lake which causes Ciri to correct his error, the two of them start talking and she begins to recount the tale of what she has been up to since the Tower of Swallows. It seemed that the portal she entered there had taken her to a different world, one where the Elves reigned. Seeing that she was trapped and at his mercy, the Elven king had proposed a bargain: Ciri could have her freedom…but only if she would agree to bear his child.

Meanwhile, back in her home world, the northern armies and the Nilfgaardian forces are still at war. In the middle of all this, Geralt and his companions are also continuing their search for Ciri, but with the recent abduction and imprisonment of Yennefer, the Witcher now has even more troubles on his hands.

It vexes me admit this, but The Lady of the Lake was probably the most confusing of all the books. Not that any of them have shown much linear storytelling, but for this one Sapkowski takes devices like flashbacks, dream sequences, POV switches and time jumps to extremes. This not only made the book feel very disjointed and hard to follow, it also dampened my enthusiasm for the story especially when we went on wild tangents that added zilch to the main plot or followed characters I could not care less about. If it were up to me, I would also have axed much of the ending. In my opinion, too much of the fluff that came after the climax spoiled a lot of the impact.

Now that I’ve gotten my complaints out of the way though, here’s what I did like: 1) Pretty much any scene where Ciri or Geralt and any of his companions or key characters appeared was topnotch. These are the characters I’ve come to know throughout the series and I found it hard to stay focused whenever the attention shifted away to anyone else. 2) Despite all the jumping around we do, there was at least a sense that final volume was trying to pull everything together; whether it’s a nod to events in the previous books or tying up loose ends and bringing things full circle, the narrative made an earnest attempt at closure. 3) All the references to fairy tales, myths and legends. This was one of the aspects I fell in love with when I first picked up The Last Wish so long ago, and it just seemed so apt for this last book to bring me back to those memories. 4) The action sequences were amazing. Obviously, it’s great anytime we get to see Geralt or Ciri kicking ass, but there was also this one epic scene depicting a huge battle which I thought was really well done, transporting the reader into the thick of the fighting.

Overall the book’s strengths outweighed the weaknesses, ultimately making The Lady of the Lake an enjoyable if flawed read. It wasn’t my favorite book of the series, and as an ending, it definitely wasn’t as good as what I’d hoped for. Still, I don’t regret reading it at all. Taken as a whole, The Witcher is a superb series, and I would certainly not discourage anyone to try these books just because I wasn’t a hundred percent pleased with this concluding volume; after all, you’d be missing out on many more great moments on this epic journey. In spite of everything, it was well worth it to see this saga through to the end.

Audiobook Comments: As always, Peter Kenny brings his best. His narration was a big reason why I stuck with the audiobooks for this series, because when he reads he brings the stories and characters to life. The Witcher books are also generally pretty well suited for this format, I find, because of their nonlinear structure, and the stories just seem to flow more smoothly and are less distracting when I’m listening. So if you’re considering tackling this series with the audiobooks, I say go for it; truly I can’t recommend them highly enough.
Profile Image for Hamad.
1,048 reviews1,382 followers
April 7, 2022
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“But every dream, if dreamed too long, turns into a nightmare. And we awake from such dreams screaming.”

The Last Wish ★★★★
Sword of Destiny ★★★★
Blood of Elves ★★★ 1/2
The Time of Contempt ★★★ 1/2
Baptism of Fire ★★★ 3/4
The Tower of Swallows ★★
The Lady of the Lake ★★

As you can see the Witcher series did not meet my expectations and it ended up with 2 stars which is a bummer! I would have DNFed this book if it wasn’t the finale but I powered through and took some extra measures to go through it.

I don’t think I am a big fan of Sapkwoski’s writing. The best books were the first two short story collections because they have a self contained story that is not very hard to follow. The problem is that the author’s writing is dense and full of info dumping of places and people who we are supposed to remember for the rest of the series. I have heard a lot of negative things about the ending and I was slowly going through this until I decided to read a full summary of the book to see if it is worth continuing and I found that the way it ended is not very disappointing but the path toward that ending is.

I had trouble following the story in the previous books and it was the same here. The book is told from multiple POV and through dreams which sounds cool but can get tiring when you try to fit everything in its place. To be honest, I skimmed Jarre and Rusty’s parts which I have never done before but I simply did not care about characters that I have heard about in book 7 only.

Geralt, Ciri and Yennefer are main characters here and I can digest how their arcs end but I think many things were done very conveniently and not in a convincing way. Like Sapkowski did not know what to do so he just went with the flow making many story lines underwhelming. The book was too lengthy anyway and had redundant parts that could have been told instead of showed (Yes it is a rare situation where the general rule doesn’t apply).

I have also just finished watching the second season of the series and I am happier with how the TV series is going. The story is easier to follow and there are monsters and magic which is essential to the story but is not a big part of the later books.

Summary: I am disappointed with how things were handled in this book. The book was too long with many descriptions that get repetitive quickly. There are info dumps as usual. Characters that I did not care about had big parts of the book where the ones I did care about where handled quickly and not in a convincing way. I am more excited to see how the producers turn it into more seasons of the series!
Profile Image for Celise.
505 reviews318 followers
October 13, 2018
And so it ends.

There’s nothing left to say, nothing that hasn’t been resolved or left me wondering, nothing that I can really put my finger on as being amiss. However, I feel like some untapped potential died with the end of this series, and I’ll carry that disappointment with me for a while.

There were so many new threads explored in the final novel of The Witcher saga that I wish had been left out in favour of more time spent with our favourite characters. I think that is mostly what feels unjust here. That, and I’m not entirely sure what some of these parts even meant. Sapkowski has always masterfully handled multiple time frames and locations, but I found myself for the first time wondering what was going on, where and when we were, and why the things that happened, happened.

That said, I don’t feel entirely let down as I think the ending included some of the things that I’ve wished for, albeit not in entirely the manner I’d imagined.

So it goes.

Reading Order:

1.The Last Wish (short story collection)
2. The Sword of Destiny (short story collection)
0. [Season of Storms]

3. The Blood of Elves (novel)
4. The Time of Contempt (novel)
5. Baptism of Fire (novel)
6. The Tower of Swallows (novel)
7. The Lady of the Lake (novel)
0. [Season of Storms]

There are a few options for when to read Season of Storms, but I'll leave it at these two.
Profile Image for Yev.
57 reviews17 followers
August 26, 2015
I'm disappointed. It took me a few days to reach that conclusion because I love The Witcher books, I tremendously enjoy Sapkowski's writing and I really did not want to be disappointed.

The whole book felt rushed, as if desperately trying to close all the plot lines. The result is some loose ends, some deus ex machinas (one particularly horrible - look below) and some plot lines that started with a bang and ended with a feeble voice.

Sapkowski is extremely talented at quickly introducing new characters and their stories. You get interested and attached in just a few pages. That is what makes his short stories so great. But here he just overdoes it: It's the longest book in the series with many half-baked resolutions, yet so many pages are dedicated to new side-characters that are irrelevant to the main plot in all ways but adding atmosphere.

Now some grunts, beware of SPOILERS:

Geralt discovers the info he's been seeking for 3 books because he just happen to monster-hunt in a cave where Skellen and his co-conspirators are having a meeting?! In a remote corner of the world, entirely unrelated to the conflict? Because it is not involved in political affairs so there are no spies in it? Seriously?

What's with all the Falka build up from the previous books? nothing, we don't talk about it.

How come Emhyr did not initially know the location of Vilgefortz' hideout - he apparently visited it.

The battle of Brenna is a complete mess. Why did the north win? Numbers? Training? Brilliant tactics? I don't know, they just won. Menno Coehoorn, supposedly the greatest tactician that ever lived. Emhyr var Emreis, the white flame dancing on the barrows if his enemies, emperor of the greatest human empire to ever exist and a brilliant strategist. Somehow they both find themselves in the mud of the northern kingdoms with no plan. Lots of build up on those characters and poor resolution.

What really happened at Soden hill? Specifically to Triss. Again, lots of talk about her apparent resurrection in the previous books and not a word of explanation.
Profile Image for Franzi.
98 reviews95 followers
January 30, 2023
3.5 Stars

Unfortunately not as great of an ending as I was hoping for. I'm not completely disappointed but there was something missing to make me really like this. The beginning was kind of slow with too much world and time hopping for my taste. But the middle part was great! The ending though... There's nothing that hasn't been resolved but still I feel like there was something missing. I still like the ending itself but the book as a whole was underwhelming.
Profile Image for Ilija.
42 reviews1 follower
June 19, 2016
*Minor spoiler alert*

I dislike how the author decided to kill off some of the characters, i dont mind them dying , but you cant just kill one of the main characters who has been in at least 3 books , in 2 sentences. You have to have at least some buildup to it.

*Spoiler alert*

The deaths of Geralts litlle band of followers were so sudden and some just outright idiotic , that i was sure yenfer or ciri would revive them or that ciri would travel several hours in to the past and do it over again, or something. This had somehow ruined the book for me , i liked it , but i didnt like it as much as i wanted to or could have.
Profile Image for Laura ☾.
878 reviews278 followers
April 7, 2020
This was a disappointing finale to be honest.

There were far too many time jumps, and jumps between worlds, too many new minor characters, too exhausting to keep track of and not clear enough, creating a choppy disjointed narrative.

Like mixing in Arthurian legend - why now? It doesn’t fit with the rest of the series, and wasn't developed enough to really add anything other than breaking up the narrative.
Profile Image for Sara.
1,130 reviews365 followers
May 12, 2020
The final installment in the main Witcher stories starts right where we left off, with Ciri, Yen and Geralt separated. Each are searching for the other, and the conclusion will see worlds collide and destinies fulfilled.

Ciri is stuck in another world, one filled with Elves who hate humans yet still want to impregnate Ciri and keep her child because of a prophecy that her offspring will be the saviour of worlds. The one who will stop the white frost. In all honestly, it gets a bit weird and creepy given Ciri's age and the sexual tone these takes. Until we encounter Little Horse, my favourite unicorn, and his herd of badass unicorns who seem to have some kind of vendetta against the Elves. I loved seeing Little Horse (they're real name I can neither say nor spell) and I still think that Ciri's overall story ARC is the most interesting. She's grown into her abilities, and her experiences have made her compassionate yet with a steely undertone.

While Ciri is off exploring other worlds, Yen is still imprisoned and tortured by her enemies. Yen is such a strong character, one who believes whole heartedly in her beliefs and opinions. She's prickly yes, and hard to love, but she's never afraid to stand up for her principles and defend those she loves. She also gets some of the best lines. Geralt by comparison is shagging his way through the idyllic Toussant, while his motley crew are desperate for him to return to the search for Ciri. One chance encounter soon gets Geralt back on track, but I couldn't help feeling a little let down by Geralt and his plot. His story is by far the slowest, sometimes edging towards boring, and a bit meandering.

The plot does pick up after the halfway point, with a series of rather epic showdowns involving characters we've seen throughout the series coming back to face rather fitting conclusions. We have Sharni, Zolton, Dandelion, as well as the various ladies from the Lodge of Sorceresses. I do think most of them get a good send off (with a few tear filled massacres of well loved characters along the way). After this big build up howeverfrr, I found the last part of the book goes back to meandering and almost limps towards the end. Yen and Geralt get a Co clusion of sorts, but I'm still not entirely sure how I feel about it. I think I prefer the ending we get in the games.

That said, I'm sad that this series has ended (except for the prequel I have left to read) and I'll genuhuuinely miss Ciri, Yennefer and Geralt on their adventures. And I hope they're happy, wherever they are.
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