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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 30 June 2013
Andrzej Sapkowski's "Witcher" series has been among my top favourite books for a long time, and when the first English translation appeared, I was pleased that finally the English-speaking audience would be introduced to these awesome books. However, my joy was quickly dampened by the sub-par translations, too long delays between the individual books, and even missed books (where is "The Sword of Destiny", Gollancz?! It contains two short stories that form direct prequel to the pentalogy and provide crucial backgound to the relationship between Geralt and Ciri). It's really frustrating, because the quality of the story, the plot and the characters really suffers from the poor translation. There are inconsistencies in terminology between the books, even in translations of names - what was Transriver in "Blood of Elves" is now, inexplicably, Riverdell in "Time of Contempt" (honestly? "Riverdell"?). Very often the phrasing is awkward, as if written by someone who translates word for word (which is silly, because Polish and English are such different languages), or characters use words that normal people don't usually use, making them sound as if they swallowed a dictionary - this, for me, has been distracting to the point of my questioning whether the translator was actually a native English speaker. They're certainly NOT a good English writer, judging by the appalling quality of the translation. After waiting four years for this book, I'm really disappointed, Gollancz.

How about re-publishing the whole saga, all 7 books, within a reasonable time frame, translated by a competent person who can actually WRITE well in English and has a good sense for translation of names and titles?
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on 5 July 2013
Time of Contempt, 4+/5.

About 12 years ago I read all The Witcher Saga (yet Sapkowski doesn't like to call it that way). After 10 years I had pleasure to read it once again and I must admit I enjoyed it much more that the first time.

I'm not going write anything about novel itself. Just read it!
Blood of Elves is the first and slow (in a good way) step in The Witcher Saga continued by Time of Contempt, but the real fun ...
The real fun and action start in the third novel (in my opinion the best of them all), Baptism of Fire. Obviously The Swallow's Tower and Lady of the Lake are brilliant and compelling as well!

As Polish I find myself extremely lucky guy and I feel sorry about English speaking Witcher fans. Be patience and may the Force be with you!
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on 1 November 2013
Love the Witcher books. Only knew of their existance after playing The Witcher 2 on Xbox 360 (amazing RPG by the way - one of the best ever). I really liked the story in the game so I started reading the books.

I tried to read the fan translations that are available online after getting impatient for the official books to be released in English. I read one, but it was a rubbish experience: mainly due to reading it on paper printed out myself, bound awfully. The second book I made a mistake binding it (pages mixed up) and gave up and forgot...

Until this baby came out! Great story. Great characters. I love the way Sapowski writes. He makes me feel for the characters more than any other writer.

George R.R. Martin does a great job with ASOFAI, but I prefer Sapowski (just).

Ciri's story arc in particular is riveting. A few new characters that seem to be getting interesting near the end.

I don't want to write too much about the story in case I ruin anything. This is a must-read for anyone who likes The Witcher "franchise", and RPG and fantasy lovers should have this high up on their list too.

Hurry up with the next one!
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on 29 July 2013
This is another great addition for those who appreciate an intelligent fantasy adventure. It is advisable to read the previous books in the saga first, otherwise it's almost certain to leave you bewildered. Having no hope of reading the polish version, I cannot make a comparison, but considering other writers in the genre I thought the translator had done a good job in using sophisticated language, only occasionally slipping up with a jarring modern word here or there that seemed out of place. Others had also commented on one or two different spelling where names were concerned but I didn't find it a problem. I really hope the next in the series will be published soon as I don't want to be waiting years to find out what happens to these superbly created characters!
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on 31 March 2014
The 2nd part of this major story arc makes a huge leap in "can't-put-downability". A large portion of the novel devotes itself to Yennefer and her relationship with Ciri. I learned enough about her to gain a real respect and affection for her character. I got to see sides of her that are sometimes lost in her other more "dangerously effervescent" character traits.

Sets you up very well for the 3rd book at the end.
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on 2 July 2013
I have waited for this book for a very long time and when it finally became available, it was dispatched promptly and I began reading immediately. While I enjoyed the story, even with the occasional bit of odd phrasing, I did find some of the variances in translation to be jarring.

Names have changed from the copy of Blood of Elves I have, and why consistency could not be maintained I don't understand. Vesemir has become Yesemir, for instance. As Vesemir is Vesemir not only in the older books, but also in the games have been released, this is one I find particularly bizarre.

Considering the immense gap between the publication of Blood of Elves and this, I would have expected things to be a little... Neater. Regardless though, I am happy to see this book finally in English, and I look forward to the next instalment - hopefully in a more timely fashion than this one.
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on 10 June 2016
Excellent book, especially for any fan of the video games. It's quite a twisting plot with several underlining political themes (essentially leading to the build up to the second war with Niilfgaard). Geralt as usual does his best to stay out of politics, etc. but as fans will know this doesn't always work out for him! It's a great fantasy story and very well written.
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on 2 July 2016
I rate this saga as Highly as I rate, A Song of Ice and Fire. The Witcher books are full of horror fairy tails, racial tensions, war and strife torn countries, the Witcher finds himself time and again with influence that he shouldn't, as Witchers by nature are indifferent and neutral to all around them. This is also one of the greatest romances written in modern times, that divulges every part of a relationship between two lovers.

I you read this series read from the start
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on 15 June 2015
The writing is still top quality but the page layout has changed drastically which is slowing my reading down as the print is small (same as first book print size) also it seems the story is continuos without a the gentle breaks in the first book still good but missing a little something for the first book
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on 2 July 2013
Before I get into the review I want to make it clear that I am primarily reviewing the novel & not the quality of publishing & the really difficult birth that this translation has had (I will give my thoughts but the literature comes first).

So, in terms of the narrative, Time Of Contempt picks the series up where Blood Of Elves left off - with Ciri & Yennefer travelling away from Ellander & Geralt hunting down Rience after their clash in the afore-mentioned title. The Northern Kingdoms are certainly coming alive and the story really opens up, in a number of directions, during the novel (The Thannedd coup, the Breakout of War, Ciri's story post Thanedd, Geralt's story, Yennefer's story, etc etc) and, though Sapkowski wrote the saga concentrating on the main elements, everything is given the same amount of lovely detail - and it all 'fits' together wonderfully.

Sapkowski's style of writing is fantastic - in many respects it also 'opens everything up'. The Last Wish is known for its takes on many fairy tale qualities - especially in dealing with moral dilemma's - and this element is brought through into the entire saga. Sapkowski's writing almost takes a half step back so it can comment on itself as you read through the novel - the entire world frees itself up all the more because of this which is fantastic & it's probably best seen in Gors Velen early on the novel (ch.2&3) (which, incidentally, has to be one of my favorite sections from the entire saga). Ciri's character progression, during this moment, just goes to show it all the more in fact.
But, for all the openness of the early chapters, due to the events of the novel, this all changes - and it does so incredibly wonderfully. As the world goes into, well, a Time Of Contempt, there's still space for Sapkowski to stick to his guns and keep his pace of writing; to keep being able to make a commentary on itself: the banquet at Thannedd for instance is a prelude to the violence and the explosion of pace that becomes a coup but you can't help but feel just how much Geralt & Yennefer are like an old married couple. And of course the relationship between these two characters is also memorable.

Now, there are a few minor typo's here and there - and a few bigger translation issues also (I won't even get onto it's 3.5yr birth in fact (in which the translator was changed at presumably the last second)) - but show me a translation of any novel that doesn't have a few errors here and there. The quality, all said and done, is good (especially if at last second) - and while Yaruga has reverted to Jaruga, along with a few other shifts back to the original Polish, there are no absolute disasters. Emulating the sort of success of the original Polish, in today's market, is always going to be difficult (& this was, sadly, a back-burner publication for Gollancz) but it's a fantastic novel which, is fully deserving of everyone's attention.
Novel: 5*'s (couldn't be better)
Publication: 2*'s (should have been better)
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