This turned out to be a huge disappointment. It wasn't a total loss because the last two stories were Liu in his true form, but the other 8 or 10 stories felt like filler. Was Liu short on money? Was publisher forcing him to publish something? Was he digging out old stories he had never gotten published before?
Sword of Destiny by Andrzej Sapkowski
“Doubts. Only evil, sir, never has any.
But no one can escape his destiny.”
The second anthology of Witcher stories brings the Witcher character, Geralt, into better focus. The first anthology was light-hearted, even humorous at times, but this one felt a lot more serious. In this collection of stories we learn more about Geralt's 'destiny' and two women who are tied to his life – Yennefer, and Ciri.
I briefly met these characters while watching the first two episodes of the NETFLIX adaptation of The Witcher, but only fleetingly. After finishing both Last Wish and Sword of Destiny I feel I have a better grasp on The Witcher world and am now prepared to tackle watching The Witcher Season 1.
In Sword of Destiny, Geralt kills monsters of course, but also shows us the other side of himself. He after all is still human at heart. He is dealing with his love of Yennefer, his destiny that keeps leading him to the girl Ciri.
Book #15 in my My 2020 Reading Challenge
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The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski
I have heard a lot of good things about this series from my Polish friend. This book series has also been turned into a video game, and most recently a NETFLIX series.
This led me to start watching the TV series. It was interesting, but it felt hollow. It felt like it was only scratching the surface of the world Sapkowski has created. I only watched 2 episodes then stopped for fear I was missing out on a richer experience from reading the book.
So I picked up the 'first' book in the series, The Last Wish, [more on this below]. The book is far, far better than the series. You understand much more about the world, and the motivations behind the main character, Geralt, from the books. In the books he has far better, and wittier dialogue than the TV series where he mostly just grunts. Two of the episodes I watched are based on stories from this book; they were both better in the short stories. The TV series seems to skip important dialogue and interactions with other characters to focus more on Geralt and the fighting scenes.
The Buried Giant – Kazuo Ishiguro
I had heard a lot about this author, and this book before reading it. Kazuo Ishiguro won the Nobel prize in literature recently too.
So coming into this book you could say I had high hopes. The first 90 pages were boring. I didn't want to press on, but I really dislike abandoning books. I soldiered on, eventhough I wasn't really enjoying the story.
Alas I was finally rewarded with some joy about 100 pages in. This is far too slow an opening for a book that is only 355 pages long.
That being said, I did enjoy the book once it was finished. The story was interesting and does have sort of a fable-like quality to it but unfortunately it takes far too long to get there. I fear many readers won't get past the 100 page hurdle of a boring married couple walking around being rather dull.
A better book by this author is Never Let Me Go. Do not watch the movie first! The book is far more interesting and the movie spoils all the surprises entirely too quickly.
Book #56 in my My 2019 Reading Challenge
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Tales from Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin
Earthsea Cycle #5
This was a good entry into the Earthsea cycle. It goes into the backstory of Roke, and fleshes out the more parts of the Earthsea world in some places that we don't know much about. There are some stories about different witches and mages in Earthsea that are just regular people, and their little adventures. At the end of the book, there are some descriptions about the kings, geography of Earthsea, and other miscellaneous things.
Tehanu by Ursula K. Le Guin
(Earthsea Cycle #4)
Seems I'm on an Earthsea kick at the moment eh? This is the 4th Earthsea novel and the 3rd one I've read back to back. I just started reading Tales from Earthsea (Earthsea #5) too. I will finish this whole series by the end of the month.
I can see why people say Earthsea #1-3 are sort of a mini-trilogy. The 1st book is learning about origin of Sparrowhawk/Hawk/Ged and how he gets his power. The 2nd book is about Tenar and her upbringing in the temple complex, and her eventual 'meet up' with Hawk. The 3rd book is about Tenar and Hawk getting together and the backstory of a new person, Therru, a girl that Tenar has adopted. Therru, her True Name being Tehanu of course, shows promise in Magic. The 3rd book ends just as it is revealed the true nature of Therru.
The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula K. Le Guin
(Earthsea Cycle #2)
I have a bit of a disdain for sequels and book series so I was neglecting reading Earthsea Cycle #2 for quite some time. I really enjoyed The Wizard of Earthsea. It was fantasy with wizards and dragons but with a story about a boy trying to make his way in the world. I really enjoyed it as a character based story, set in a world of magic.
The Tombs of Atuan continues in its focus on characters but this time we are with a girl Tenar. She ends up serving as the One Priestess at a temple complex. She has her duties there, and power over the others there but no freedom. Her life changes when she meets a foreigner from outside the temple. I won't say more because I don't want to spoil this book.
This is a sequel to Earthsea Cycle #1 but it has different characters, so it feels fresh. It expands the Earthsea world and shows us the perspective of a woman in the religious system. I really enjoyed this book. I shall be quick to pickup Earthsea Cycle #3.
PS The books are short, but incredible, so the are a great way catch up on your reading goal if you have fallen behind as I have. I have been reading many very long books this year so this was a refreshing change of pace for me.
Book #33 in My 2019 Reading Challenge
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