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4.8 out of 5 stars49
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on 8 March 2014
Baptism of Fire is the third full novel of the Witcher series, following on directly from Time Of Contempt and Blood Of Elves. For me it's highlight is the wonderful character interplay that Andrezj Sapkowski became renowned for when the novel was originally released in polish in the late 1990's. It is set in a world which is heating up with each novel over the series and in Baptism of Fire we really begin to see the saga of Geralt of Rivia unraveling. The translation is also good, if that can be believed. Be warned: minor spoilers below.

Continuing on Time Of Contempt, Geralt is severely wounded and with his eternal companion Dandelion in Brokilon forest. Ciri is somewhere in the Nilfgardian provinces, where Geralt is convinced she is in danger. Yennefer has gone missing, whilst the other sorceresses dabble in a secret political 'lodge' to forge the world in a way that they desire. Against all this the Empire of Nilfgaard has broken the truce made In 'Contempt and invaded the Northern Kingdoms again, this time in Brugge, south of Temeria. In short, there really is a lot to follow in the novel, and though the novel focuses primarily on Geralt and his desire to find Ciri the events of the world are in action, constantly driving on the plot, driving Sapkowski's complex characters further and further, towards Geralt;s literal 'baptism of fire' in the novels final pages.

Over the course of the novel, Geralt meets several entirely new characters, each as complex and wonderfully built as himself. Milva: a woman, secretly pregnant, escorting scoia'tael to the safety of Brokilon, Regis: a powerful higher vampire who has vowed not to drink blood & Cahir, the Nilfgaardian who isn't a Nilfgaardian continues to hound the Witcher from the previous novels: the three of them will stick with Geralt to the very end, not that it's easy getting to that point. Zoltan Chivay: a dwarf & the leader of a troupe fleeing the war joins with Geralt at least for this part of the company's journey too. The interplay between these characters are all wonderfully crafted, whatever the scene and by the end of the novel not just each individual character has come a long way but also the entire group itself.

The translation, completed by David French (who has experience with Sapkowski's work including the previous novel 'Time of Contempt'), is overall very good. Throughout the novel there are one or two small errors however; these are only small. Truthfully, I feel these errors could easily be down to an overlooked typo and are not outright translation issues, as has often been a gripe in the past for the translations of the Witcher saga in English. With this release, I hope David French has proven both to the fans of the series and to Gollancz that he is the right man to continue translating Sapkowski's work into English.
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on 24 August 2015
I went straight onto this novel as soon as a finished a Time of Contempt. The opening few chapters were very impressive, with a tense introduction of a new character and a clever and compelling approach to explaining events that have occurred between the previous book and this one.

However, most of the main plot, ie. the one focused on Geralt, who finally gets some real airtime in his own series after being rather absent for the first two full novels, revolves around a fairly standard "group of adventurers on a quest." There are some interesting characters with interesting dynamics, and lively events, but despite some twists and turns, it felt mostly rather generic for a series that tends to put an interesting spin on traditional fantasy tales. There was also a frustrating sense that after pages and pages, once I reached the end, little progress had been made.

The parts focused on Yennefer and the other sorceresses were more original and caught my imagination and attention rather more. I was in two minds about the Ciri bits. I'm always a fan of dark characters, but I'm hoping she doesn't become too broken and beyond redemption.

There were some great moments in this, and I enjoyed it overall, but it wasn't as good as its immediate predecessor, and for the second half, felt like a bit of a filler volume, getting the characters into place ready for the (presumable) drama of the next installment. I'll definitely read that (once it's finally been translated into English) and I'm looking forward to it, but not desperately awaiting it like I am some fantasy sequels.
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on 6 April 2014
This is the best book in the series yet. Some new characters are introduced, one completely unexpected, all developed very well. We see more about the various sorceresses, who all fascinate me. Andrzej's writing seems to take wild detours. The writing style changes at least three times, each one for the full length of the chapter. It's a little bit jarring but doesn't detract from the excitement of the story. I regret reading it so fast because the next book, 'The Swallow's Tower' or 'The Tower of Swallows' (depending on translation) at the time of this review has not been officially translated yet.
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on 15 April 2014
Second instalment of the best dark, gritty, fantasy series ever written. Every fan of magic, monsters, romance and blood should not hesitate to give them a read!
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on 10 March 2015
Hard to post a new spoiler review for a book but I'm guessing that anyone reading book 3 already knows the plot. Spakowski doesn't disappoint and my only problem is waiting for the next to be translated. Deserves to be much more popular than he is.
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on 8 April 2015
Difficult to write good enough review of this one. The saga as a whole is one of the masterpieces of the fantasy literature. I recommended it to everyone and even my wife - who is not a fan of fantasy and fairy-tales - loved it.
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on 13 December 2015
Amazing book, I have read all the series that have currently been translated into English and I cant wait for the next in the series. This installment in the series was excellent, though they are all top notch. I particularly fell in love with one of the characters introduced in Baptism of fire that hadn't appeared in the previous books. The character development is fluid and easily understandable, and strangely the characters are incredibly relatable despite the fact that this book is set in a world with magic, elves and dwarfs. Plus, Geralt's sardonic whit is impeccably written.
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on 30 August 2015
I have absolutely fallen in love with this set of books! They are really well written, and really draw you into the characters and the story, would definitely recommend!
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on 26 May 2014
This is a successful continuation. I like the conversations of the characters. Well done, the story might be quicker to tell but this is beautifully embellished
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on 28 September 2014
Truly an in depth story that pulls you into the world of the witcher. Can not wait for the rest of the books to be translated and published in English!
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