This is the penultimate novel in The Witcher series by Andrzej Sapkowski.
Ciri is being hunted by several parties who all have their own agenda’s. Some want to capture her, some want to kill her, some merely want to hurt her until she breaks. Other want to rescue her, to protect her. But Ciri’s done being hunted; she’s done letting things happen to her. It’s time she took control of her own fate, her own destiny – even though she doesn’t quite know what that is yet. One thing is certain: the Tower of the Swallow beckons.
This book is about Ciri, even when she’s not the POV character. It’s about what happens to Ciri, what happened in the past to Ciri’s ancestors, about what happens to the people who are looking for Ciri. And that’s not a bad thing. There’s a unifying theme here, and her name is Ciri.
I won’t deny that the choices Ciri made in the previous book annoyed and stupefied me somewhat. I wasn’t happy with the choices she made, and I’m not happy with all the choices she made in this book either, but I am glad she’s taking control of her life again. Most of Ciri’s short life is characterized by being pulled away from the loving arms of people who cared about her (her parents, her grandmother, Geralt, Yennefer) to be used for someone else’s plans, or gains. But no more. Ciri’s done being used, and done being hunted.
Several things that happen in this book, and that happen to Ciri, have softened my dislike for her choices. She’s been through some horrible things and I, as a reader but also as a human being, should not expect her to cope perfectly. Add that to the fact that she’s not in control of her powers, she only had the bare the minimum of training (witcher arts, sorcery and educational) and that she’s a teenager growing up in a world of war. Some of her notions start to make sense, even though they may not be right.
Geralt and his companions (Regis, Milva, Dandelion, Cahir) are still trying to get their hands on information about Ciri, and how to rescue her, but they keep getting sucked into other people’s drama. Yennefer’s story ended quite vaguely (is she dead, or is she still alive) and it had an eye-opening moment about the demise of Ciri’s parents in it.
Sapkowski utilized some very interesting narrative choices and shifts, and that made it feel like a composite of different accounts, and makes you wonder which account is the actual truth. Because everyone sees things differently, and everyone is capable of creating their own version of the truth.
I’m excited for the next book, and what might transpire, because at this point I have really no idea how it all is going to end.