Hello. In this post, I shall review Blood of Elves, the third book  and the first novel in the Witcher saga. The first two books in the Wicher series are collection of short stories. So, Blood of Elves is actually the first novel in the series.  As I explained in my last post, I was a bit surprised to find out that Sword of Destiny was a short story collection (for some reason I thought it was a novel), but I got used to it soon enough and ended up enjoying the book (  SWORD OF DESTINY BY ANDRZEJ SAPKOWSKI , THE WITCHER SERIES #2) .  Nevertheless, I was really curious to read the first novel. Once I started reading Blood of Elves, I immediately felt drawn into the story. The novel is well plotted and well paced.  It's rather conversation heavy so that slows down the pacing but it helps us to get to know the characters better. Moreover, I really enjoyed the dialogues.  I enjoyed learning more about this fantasy world, so I'm not complaining. 

Published in 1994, this fantasy novel further develops the life story of Gerald of Rivia. It introduces new subplots and characters, but remains focused on the main characters. Gerald, Ciri, Dandelion and Yennifer are the main characters in this novel. Some might argue that Dandelion is a side character, but his friendship with Gerald seems to make him more important. Moreover, Dandelion has a habit of constantly popping up. There are other recurring and important characters, such as Tess and other sorceress yet Dandelion really stands out. 

Naturally, Gerald, Ciri and Yennefer are always in  the focus. The narrative in this novel is told from from the third person but with alternative points of view. The protagonist is, as always, Gerald the witcher, but the focus is often on Ciri. Gerald's adoptive daughter is the focus of this novel. Gerald will have to go to great lengths to protect her. 

It could be argued that Ciri is really the most important character of the Witcher's saga. Ciri's uniqueness is the driving force behind the main plot of the saga. In this novel, we learn more about Ciri's past and lineage. Moreover, we learn more about Yennefer and Dandelion. Blood of Elves is a great sequel to Sword of Destiny. I'll tell you all about it in my review, so scroll down. 

“You’ve mistaken the stars reflected on the surface of the lake at night for the heavens.”


Getting into this novel was quite easy and natural. I picked up this novel immediately upon finishing Sword of Destiny so everything was fresh in my mind. 


The time setting for this novel is about a year before the fall of Cintra. The queen of Cintra, grandmother to Ciri, fought heroically, but wasn't able to stop the Nilfgaard attack and invasion. The invasion and war are described as particularly brutal and bloody. Throughout the novel, the cruelty of  Nilfgaard Empire is emphasized. In fact, the level of destruction and ruin that Nilfgaard army causes goes to such extend that there is talk about the end of the world. 

 Queen Calanthe, a character mentioned several times in Sword of Destiny, is described as a brave and strong woman, if somewhat tyrannical and overprotective at times. It is interesting to see how her character is portrayed differently in different stories. I think that is very true to life and realistic.  We all play different roles at different times. Moreover, people aren't always what they seem. For example, in the first Witcher book, Calanthe tries to stop her daughter's marriage. In the second book, she appears in two stories, first as a back character seen only through Ciri's words and then as an active character that tries to trick Gerald. 

 The sympathies of the world now lie with her, as she had fought Nilfgaard army to the end.  She becomes something of a symbol and to some extent a beacon of hope. Although, the queen death certainly seems to extinguish that hope somewhat, the perceived heroism of her death helps to keep the flame of hope up- at least for some. As readers we learn that the Cintra queen has committed suicide upon being mortally wounded. Therefore, she fought to the very end.

Nicknamed the Lioness of Cintra, queen Calanthe is one of Witcher's noticeably strong female characters. Speaking of that, I feel like there are a lot of strong female characters in this novel. In addition, legendary female characters are mentioned repeatedly.  Not all female characters are positive and even those that are on the good side are very human. What is certain is that there are women who hold considerable political power in the Witcher Universe. 


If you have read Sword of Destiny, you'd have known that Ciri wasn't killed but managed to escape (and be reunited with Gerald). In the book, this fact is not well known. Quite on the contrary, Ciri is presumed dead by many. However, the emperor of Nilfgaard, Emphyr var Emreis seems to believe she is alive.  He is another important recurring character in the series. He already appeared in one of the short stories as Duny, a curse man who becomes the son-in-law of Lioness of Cintra. 

Emhyr var Emreis is Ciri's father. As we learned from the first book, Emhyr var Amreis married Ciri's mother Pavetta and lifted his curse with the help of Gerald and the law of surprise. Now, ironically Duny is the one Gerald needs to protect Ciri against. We see that Ciri's family history is complex. There is the war of empires and kingdoms, a father who faked his death and now ascends a new throne. Emhyr sends his people to find Ciri. He seems to know a lot about his daughter and is motivated to use her as a more than a political pawn. Ciri has elven blood that coupled with her royal lineage make her a formidable child.  There's also a prophecy that involves Ciri. What is certain at this point is that Ciri has immense potential. Many want to use and abuse her, including her biological father.  


The war with Nilfgaard's ended when they were faced with a coalition of the Northern Kingdoms. Nevertheless, the war isn't exactly won. It's more a battle won. A temporary peace. The menacing Empire still threatens and its ruler is determined to take not just the Northern Kingdoms but the whole world. Nilfgaard remains immensely a powerful and treating enemy. Therefore, the kings and queens of the Northern Kingdoms have a secret meeting to decide on their further actions and to talk over the current political situation. 

 They are well aware that the peace with Nilfgaard is an illusion.  The Empire is moving against them, using every tactic available: by ruining the northern economy with financial measures, by provoking aristocrats, by turning merchants against their monarchs, by encouraging racial divisions and unrest,  by funding a guerrilla group of elves and dwarves that kills people in revenge for past human crimes. There are even paid preachers that say that the world is going to end unless the Savior comes from the South. 

So, the allied kings and a queen debate starting a war and finally decide there is no other way. Moreover, they talk of Ciri. Painfully aware that the Emperor is searching for Ciri with intention of marrying her and gaining political power in strategically important Cintra, the kings and the queen decide to find Ciri first and end her life. As long as Ciri is alive, she can be used as a political pawn. Therefore, they decide Ciri must die. This episode in the novel paints the worlds of politics realistically. All kings and queen must kill in order to stay in power. Sapokowski takes a very grim view of politics. In this novel in particular there is a lot of talk about the ruling powers and the politics of the Wicher world. 

“Intolerance and superstition has always been the domain of the more stupid amongst the common folk and, I conjecture, will never be uprooted, for they are as eternal as stupidity itself. There, where mountains tower today, one day there will be seas; there where today seas surge, will one day be deserts. But stupidity will remain stupidity."


Besides the merciless world of politics, this novel tells us more about witchers. Previously, we have been told bits and pieces about the witcher training but now we are going to learn more. The writer takes us to witcher's keep where Ciri is doing some growing up. 

Being taken under Gerald's wing means becoming a part of witcher family. Gerald is Ciri's protector and adopted father.  Like all witchers, Gerald has undergone a painful training paired with magically and genetically induced mutations in order to become what he is. A witcher is basically a monster-slayer-for-hire, a mutant who kills other monsters. From previous book, we know that people often don't like mutants, even if they depend on them to rid them of monsters. 

Gerald took Ciri to the witchers' keep, Kaer Morhen and there Ciri is undergoing the same training as he did. It is not entirely sure why Ciri undergoes the training. It seems Gerald isn't entirely sure what is the right thing to do. Ciri is a child of surprise, so she is supposed to be a witcher. However, girls can't be witchers. What if they can be? I think that at this point many options are still open. What is certain is that the witcher training might prove useful. Ciri is a girl that can only benefit from learning how to fight. Considering how many want to kill or abduct her, it only makes sense to train Ciri to kill monsters. After all, the humans might prove to be the worst monsters. 

“When you know about something it stops being a nightmare. When you know how to fight something, it stops being so threatening.”

 Ciri is not trained by Gerald alone, but  by all the remaining witchers. Not that there are many of them, the book indicates only four (if I remember well). Anyhow, as readers we get to meet the small witcher family. From what I learned from the first book, a witcher is a lonely creature. Now, it seems that is not entirely so. The friendship demonstrated between the few remained witchers seem tangible. I really enjoyed reading about them. I could easily imagine the other witchers. I almost wished there are more of them but their reducing numbers are a part of book canon. 

There is an atmosphere of melancholy in the wicher's keep. Maybe their demise has something to to with it. The remaining witchers did feel like a family. I also found it really sweet how they all want to protect Ciri. It seems that the girl has gotten under their skin. However, Ciri cannot remain at the keep forever. In addition, her position at the keep has to be resolved. Moreover, there is an even more pressing issue. Ciri's behaviour at times defines logic. So, the oldest witcher Vesemir decides to ask for help and advice.


Summoned by Vesemir, Triss Merigold arrives to meet Ciri and help figure out what is going on. She's another recurring female character and Gerald's former lover. Although Triss and Gerald's relationship is more one sided, as Gerald loves Yennefer, there is still some tension present. 

Like Yennefer, Triss is a powerful sorceress. The novel is told from the third person narrative, but the perspective shifts a bit toward Triss once she arrives to the scene. As readers, we can see Triss remains focused, suppressing her emotions toward Gerald and using her magic powers for good. It seems that Triss is more than happy to help the witchers. This seems to be in accordance with Tess' generally tender and sweet character.  In addition, Triss immediately takes a liking to Ciri and behaves like her older sister or even a motherly figure.

Triss examines the witcher's keep, studies the training and the daily routine of the girl. She is horrified by Ciri's bruises that she earned during her wicher training. Triss gets down to job at hand, i.e., finding the root of strange behavior that the witcher elder Vesimir had observed in Ciri.  At times Triss is critical of the witcher ways, but she is fair and it is clear they are all on friendly terms. For example, early on Triss criticizes the witchers from not acknowledging that Ciri is a girl and that some adjustments in the way she is trained must be made.  Ciri didn't want to disappoint the witchers, so she never complained. She didn't even tell them about getting her period. When Triss scolds them for not noticing this, the witchers accept Triss criticism. They all just really want what is best for Ciri. 

“You catch fear,” Ciri repeated proudly, brushing her ashen fringe from her forehead. “Didn’t you know? Even when something bad happens to you, you have to go straight back to that piece of equipment or you get frightened. And if you’re frightened you’ll be hopeless at the exercise. You mustn’t give up. Geralt said so.”

It is interesting to observe the relationship between the witchers and the sorceress. There seems to be some mutual respect there, as they both play with powers greater then themselves. There are some witcher's secrets Triss is not privy to and questions she is not allowed to ask. However, she deduces quickly and finds the right answers. Triss deduces that the potions given to Ciri by wichers are not good for the girl. Throughout her stay, Triss behaves protectively towards Ciri. At night Triss sleeps badly, thinking of Gerald and her life. 

It is reveled that  Triss is a close friend with Yennefer and that could be an additional reason why she keeps her distance from Gerald. I found her character very interesting as she seems to be a fascinating woman herself. Triss is also a strong woman, but in a different way from Yennefer. Triss is more gentle and meek, but also potentially fierce in her loyalty.  

Triss ultimately finds out the truth and reveals Ciri's magic potential. Triss explains to the witchers that that Ciri is a "Source".  Not just any source, but a potent source that can be used for good and bad.  While in trance, Ciri gives a prophecy. 

“Verily I say unto you, the era of the sword and axe is nigh, the era of the wolf’s blizzard. The Time of the White Chill and the White Light is nigh, the Time of Madness and the Time of Contempt: Tedd Deireádh, the Time of End. The world will die amidst frost and be reborn with the new sun. It will be reborn of the Elder Blood, of Hen Ichaer, of the seed that has been sown. A seed which will not sprout but will burst into flame. Ess’tuath esse! Thus it shall be! Watch for the signs! What signs these shall be, I say unto you: first the earth will flow with the blood of Aen Seidhe, the Blood of Elves… Aen Ithlinnespeath, Ithlinne Aegli aep Aevenien’s prophecy”

Triss understand there is nothing more she can do because what is needed is a better mag. Triss is not powerful enough to control Ciri's talent. Triss urges Geralt to seek help from Yennefer. As Yennefer is revealed to be a more experienced and powerful sorceress, there is  hope she might help Ciri. 

After she has done what she could, Triss  leaves Gerald and Ciri. Triss appears then and again in the books, but she never seems to be in the focus the way she was in this introduction. It is as Triss willing steps down from the scene, knowing this story is really all about Gerald, Yennefer and Ciri. I did really like her character and I felt like I could really understand the way Triss thinks and feels. I also liked the fact that she and Yennefer are close friends and not stereotypical femme fatales pinned one against the other. It seems to me that the author is trying to move away from some genre stereotypes for sure. 


Geralt follows Triss's advice and writes to Yennefer. Her answer to Gerald is precious. Simply hillarious. Yennefer writes a letter that is wonderfully ironical. Essentially, Yennefer mocks him because Geralt called her a friend and because he hesitated to ask her for help first. Behind the irony and humour, there is hurt for both of them. However, a reader must be entrained by this letter. Moreover, one must remember that despite the teasing words, Yennefer did hasten to help Gerald. She might be impulsive and ambitious, but she is a loyal friend to Gerald- and more than a friend. 

“Dear friend…'

The Witcher swore quietly, looking at the sharp, angular, even runes drawn with energetic sweeps of the pen, faultlessly reflecting the author’s mood. He felt once again the desire to try to bite his own backside in fury. When he was writing to the sorceress a month ago he had spent two nights in a row contemplating how best to begin. Finally, he had decided on “Dear friend.” Now he had his just deserts.

'Dear friend, your unexpected letter – which I received not quite three years after we last saw each other – has given me much joy. My joy is all the greater as various rumours have been circulating about your sudden and violent death. It is a good thing that you have decided to disclaim them by writing to me; it is a good thing, too, that you are doing so so soon. From your letter it appears that you have lived a peaceful, wonderfully boring life, devoid of all sensation. These days such a life is a real privilege, dear friend, and I am happy that you have managed to achieve it.

I was touched by the sudden concern which you deigned to show as to my health, dear friend. I hasten with the news that, yes, I now feel well; the period of indisposition is behind me, I have dealt with the difficulties, the description of which I shall not bore you with. It worries and troubles me very much that the unexpected present you received from Fate brings you worries. Your supposition that this requires professional help is absolutely correct. Although your description of the difficulty – quite understandably – is enigmatic, I am sure I know the Source of the problem. And I agree with your opinion that the help of yet another magician is absolutely necessary. I feel honoured to be the second to whom you turn. What have I done to deserve to be so high on your list?

Rest assured, my dear friend; and if you had the intention of supplicating the help of additional magicians, abandon it because there is no need. I leave without delay, and go to the place which you indicated in an oblique yet, to me, understandable way. It goes without saying that I leave in absolute secrecy and with great caution. I will surmise the nature of the trouble on the spot and will do all that is in my power to calm the gushing source. I shall try, in so doing, not to appear any worse than other ladies to whom you have turned, are turning or usually turn with your supplications. I am, after all, your dear friend. Your valuable friendship is too important to me to disappoint you, dear friend.

Should you, in the next few years, wish to write to me, do not hesitate for a moment. Your letters invariably give me boundless pleasure.

Your friend Yennefer'

The letter smelled of lilac and gooseberries.

Geralt cursed.”


I was happy to see Dandelion make another appearance. It's also nice to learn about the more urban parts of this world. The troubadour womanizer isn't as pigeon-hearted as he sometimes seemed. When Dandelion is attacked by a mysterious stranger, he shows characters and puts up quite a fight. Well, to be fair, the more I read about Dandelion, the braver he seemed. By the end of the second book, I quite liked him. This novel made me like him even more, even if he really is annoying sometimes.

 Dandelion is not a typical fighting heroic type of man, but he has a sense of honour and will fight to protect his friends. Anyhow, I mentioned that there are many who are searching for Ciri.  The wizard Rience is one of those who are willing to do anything to locate Ciri. He is not the most powerful sorcerer but he has help and is serving an unknown powerful mage. Dandelion fights him, but is eventually captured. Dandelion refuses to reveal anything about Ciri, even as he is being tortured.

Fortunately helps arrives and Dandelion is saved by none other than Yennefer. I found this entertaining as Yennefer and Dandelion don't like one another particularly. Yennefer fights as fiercely and bravely as usual, winning a magic duel with Rience. However, Rience manages to escape because there is some power behind him, probably a more skilled and powerful mag. Again, it was nice to see Yennefer defying the genre conventions of  a damsel in distress. In this episode, the damsel in distress was Dandelion. It was fun to see them team up. 


Meanwhile, it has been decided that the Temple School is the best place to continue  hiding Ciri.  The witchers have done what they could for Ciri, they gave her the training but they shall not give her the test of herbs that truly makes one a witcher- and kills many children in the process. 

Once the winter ends, Ciri, Tessi and Gerald leave for Temple School in Ellander where Ciri is to be educated by the priestess Nenneke. However, Triss falls violently ill and this slows down their journey. Cities and caravans refuse to accept them as they fear Triss might be contagious.  

Ironically, Tris cannot cure herself.  Another thing that is interesting is about Triss is that she is allergic to magic potions. She's very good at curing others but if she falls ill, she cannot use magic to cure herself.  I found this detail somehow very realistic. There are limits to magic after all. 

“But bear in mind you are not alone. You have a gravely sick woman on your shoulders and this brat..."
Ciri, who was trying to clean her dung-smeared boot on a ladder rung, raised her head.”

 The three of them travel alone until they meet Yarpen Zigrin's dwarven company.  Zigrin accepts them and they travel together. When Zigrin asks Geralt about Ciri, he basically says she is his daughter

“And the girl?” Yarpen indicated Ciri with his head as she wriggled under the sheepskin. “Yours?”
“Mine,” he replied without thinking. “Mine, Zigrin.”

 Yarpen is another recurring character, who first appears, with his company,  in Sword of Destiny where he joins the dragon hunt. In this novel, we see him in a different and more serious light. During the dragon hunt, Yarpen seemed a bit crude and base, but here he not only offers a helping hand to Gerald but shows he has a big heart. Geralt and Yarpen don't always see eye to eye, but they respect one another.

“Please don’t count on my sword.’ 
Oh, so haughtily, nobly and proudly said! Shove your haughtiness up a dog’s arse, and your bloody pride with it!”
 “I just wanted to be honest. I don’t want to get mixed up in this conflict. I want to remain neutral.”
 “It’s impossible!” yelled Yarpen.
 “It’s impossible to remain neutral, don’t you understand that? 
No, you don’t understand anything. Oh, get off my wagon, get on your horse, and get out of my sight, with your arrogant neutrality. You get on my nerves.”

The author uses this opportunity to discuss racial tensions that are a part of the history in this fantasy saga. Humans seem to have prosecuted other races such as elves and dwarves. This fantasy world is filled with racial divisions between the intelligent races: humans, halfings, gnomes, elves and dwarves. Only the children are unaware of them and even they only for a time.

“The exception, as ever, was the children. Freed from the constraints of silence which had been enforced during the bard's performance, the children dashed into the woods with wild cries, and enthusiastically immersed themselves in a game whose rules were incomprehensible to all those who had bidden farewell to the happy years of childhood. Children of elves, dwarves, halflings, gnomes, half-elves, quarter-elves and toddlers of mysterious provenance neither knew nor recognised racial or social divisions. At least, not yet.”

Some of elves and dwarves now fight the humans organized in a partisan group. Yarpen believes in peace and discusses his views on the topic. Some see him as a traitor because he works for and with humans. Currently Yarpen is leading a caravan for King Henselt of Kaedwen. 

Meanwhile, Geralt and Ciri talk and debate a number of topics. 

“Elves live a long time, Ciri. By our time scale they are almost eternal. They thought humans were something that would pass, like a drought, like a heavy winter, or a plague of locusts, after which comes rain, spring, a new harvest. They wanted to sit it out. Survive.”

Gerald  shows her the ruins of an elevn town and tells her a tragic episode from elven history, about the roses of Aelirenn. Ciri picks one rose for herself among the ruins. She is touched by the story of Aelirenn. She  was a legendary elven queen who died leading elven youths in a hopeless battle against the humans that ended with all of them being killed. As always, there are two sides to every story. Some worship her because they see her death s honorable, some curse her because only the eleven youth can have offspring. This means that Aelirenn has sentenced her own race to extinction.  Yarpen joins in the discussion. 

“If Elirena was a hero, if what she did is heroism, then that's just too bad. Let them call me a traitor and a coward. Because I, Yarpen Zigrin, coward, traitor and renegade, state that we should not kill each other. I state that we ought to live. Live in such a way that we don't, later, have to ask anyone for forgiveness. The Heroic Elirena... She had to ask. Forgive me, she begged, forgive me. To hell with that! It's better to die than to live in the knowledge that you've done something that needs forgiveness.”

At one point, Ciri and Yarpen debate. He doesn't understand Geralt's neutrality. 

“What does it mean, ‘remain neutral’?” “To be indifferent,” he muttered reluctantly. “Don’t let the reins hang down. Pull the left one closer to yourself!” “What’s indifferent? Indifferent to what?” The dwarf leaned far out and spat under the wagon. “If the Scoia’tael attack us, your Geralt intends to stand by and look calmly on as they cut our throats. You’ll probably stand next to him, because it’ll be a demonstration class. Today’s subject: the witcher’s behaviour in the face of conflict between intelligent races.” 
 Soon they all find themselves in moral danger as the Scoia'tael terrorist attack them. Many are killed, but Ciri surives. It is implied that her elven blood stopped an elf from killing her as she reminded him of Aelirenn. At this point, Ciri is not aware of her eleven blood, though. In sad turn of events, it is revealed that the escort mission was a trap to test Yarpen. It was set by the kings who doubted Yarpen's loyalty and this obviously makes him bitter. Yarpen has put his faith into human but he was betrayed.

“The misfortune behaved in the eternal manner of misfortunes and hawks—it hung over them for some while waiting for an appropriate moment before it attacked.”


“Murder is always murder, regardless of motive or circumstance. Thus those who murder or who prepare to murder are malefactors and criminals, regardless of who they may be: kings, princes, marshals or judges. None who contemplates and commits violence has the right to consider himself better than an ordinary criminal. Because it is in the nature of all violence to lead inevitably to crime.”

One thing about this book is the question of neutrality. Geralt wants to remain neutral. He is wiser than he seems at first. We shouldn't forget that witchers live long lives. Gerald is disillusioned with politics. He doesn't want to align himself with any rules because he can see through their Machiavellian ways. So, he wants to stay neutral. The question is whether that is really possible. 

“To be neutral does not mean to be indifferent or insensitive. You don't have to kill your feelings. It's enough to kill hatred within yourself.”

“You can't stop a soldier from being frightened but you can give him motivation to help him overcome that fear. I have no such motivation. I can't have. I'm a witcher: an artificially created mutant. I kill monsters for money. I defend children when their parents pay me to. If Nilfgaardian parents pay me, I'll defend Nilfgaardian children. And even if the world lies in ruin - which does not seem likely to me - I'll carry on killing monsters in the ruins of this world until some monster kills me. That is my fate, my reason, my life and my attitude to the world. And it is not what I chose. It was chosen for me.”

“Mistakes,’ he said with effort, ‘are also important to me. I don’t cross them out of my life, or memory. And I never blame others for them.” Blood of Elves


“Night and day the streets resounded with music, song, and the clinking of chalices and tankards, for it is well known that nothing is such thirsty work as the acquisition of knowledge.”

Geralt has left Ciri in a temple but he is not idle. He is prepared to do anything to save Ciri. Warned by Dandelion, he sets to find Rience and whoever is backing him up. I enjoyed learning more about Dandelion in this part of the novel.

“Shani smiled even more beautifully and Dandilion was once more filled with the desire to finally compose a ballad about girls like her – not too pretty but nonetheless beautiful, girls of whom one dreams at night when those of classical beauty are forgotten after five minutes.”

Gerald and  Dandelion work together on this. We get to know a bit about the University Dandelion taught in.  Some new characters are introduced as they join in, for example, the medical student Shani, and the sorceress Philippa Eilhart. Both Shani and Philippa can be described as strong female characters. Philippa is an especially powerful sorceress, as she mastered the art of metamorphosis. During their search, Philippa transforms herself into an owl.

With the help from all of them, Gerald finds and confronts Rience. What ensures is a fight that injures them both. Once again Rience is saved by an unknown mag (probably his employer). Rience escapes through a portal that was created for him. Gerald is furious but there is nothing he can do.

“Your great causes, your wars, your struggle to save the world … Your end which justifies the means … Prick up your ears, Philippa. Can you hear those voices, that yowling? Those are cats fighting for a great cause. For indivisible mastery over a heap of rubbish. It’s no joking matter—blood is being spilled and clumps of fur are flying. It’s war. But I care incredibly little about either of these wars, the cats’ or yours.”


The beginning of the close relationship between Yennefer and Ciri is told in a sort of  a flashback. As readers we are moved a bit in the future, just as Yennefer and Ciri are leaving  the Temple School in Ellander.  When Yennefer asks Ciri whether she did not like her at first, what follows is a lengthily flashbacks that shows the reader the course of Ciri's studies with Yennefer. The readers reads about the development of their friendship up to that point when they are leaving together.  We also learn about the magic system. 

Ciri's stay in Ellander didn't start all that well. The girl was lonely. As we learned, Ciri is a source. Her magical potential manifested itself in  nightmares that kept Ciri exhausted and bewildered.

“Yennefer looked her in the eyes and Ciri shrivelled under the gaze. “The saying goes,” said the magician slowly, “that the night brings solutions. But in your case, Surprise, the only thing night can bring is yet another nightmare.”

“Cats like sleeping and resting on intersections. There are many stories about magical animals but really, apart from the dragon, the cat is the only creature which can absorb the force. No one knows why a cat absorbs it and what it does with it...”

 Yennifer was a bit cold with Ciri when she arrived, but she warmed up to the girl. Similarly, Ciri disliked Yennefer originally but learned to appreciate her. Once Yennefer became her teacher, Ciri started to learn about magic. 

“...Chaos extends its talons towards you, still uncertain if you will be its tool or an obstacle in its design. That which Chaos shows you in your dreams is this very uncertainty. Chaos is afraid of you, Child of Destiny. But it wants you to be the one who feels fear."
There was a flash of lightning and a long rumble of thunder. Ciri trembled with cold and dread.
"Chaos cannot show you what it really is. So it is showing you the future, showing you what is going to happen. It wants you to be afraid of the coming days, so that fear of what is going to happen to you and those closest to you will start to guide you, take you over completely. That is why Chaos is sending you those dreams. Now, you are going to show me what you see in your dreams. And you are going to be frightened. And then you will forget and master your fear."

As Ciri learned to control her magical potential better,  a mother-daughter bond was formed. They become more and more closer. Ciri confides in Yennefer asking her for advice about different things. Sometimes they talk about serious matters, but sometimes they are more relaxed.  For example, the advice Yen gives her about choosing a lover is very funny:

“Those who don’t have a bed at all, you eliminate on the spot. From those who remain, you eliminate the owners of any dirty or slovenly beds. And when only those who have clean and tidy beds remain, you choose the one you find most attractive. Unfortunately, the method is not a hundred per cent foolproof. You can make a terrible mistake.”

As the book ends, Ciri admits that she did not initially like Yennefer. The books ends with Yennefer and Ciri leaving the temple together. 

“That laughter, thought Ciri watching swarms of black birds flying eastwards, that laughter, shared and sincere, really brought us together, her and me.”

 ......“Magic is Chaos, Art and Science. It is a curse, a blessing and progress. It all depends on who uses magic, how they use it, and to what purpose. And magic is everywhere. All around us. Easily accessible.”


Blood of Elves is a sort of  'coming of age' story for Ciri. She's becoming a teenage girl in a confusing world. Ciri has lost her family but she has found  new one, among witchers and sorceresses. I feel like this novel was a great introduction to the politics of this fantasy saga. There is a lot of dialogue and monologue in the Blood of Elves, but it serves a good purpose. There is less action in the sense of monster hunting and battles, but in return the reader gets more world building and character development. 

“Look around you—there is crime and sin everywhere, greed, the pursuit of profit, quarrels and disagreements are rife. Our traditions are disappearing, respect for our values is fading. Instead of living according to Nature we have begun to destroy it. And what have we got for it? The air is poisoned by the stink of smelting furnaces, the rivers and brooks are tainted by slaughter houses and tanneries, forests are being cut down without a thought … Ha—just look!—even on the living bark of sacred Bleobheris, there just above the poet’s head, there’s a foul phrase carved out with a knife—and it’s misspelled at that—by a stupid, illiterate vandal. Why are you surprised? It had to end badly....”

There is also a philosophical aspect to this novel. The author explores some difficult themes such as war, racism, genocide, civilization development and even ecology. I was honestly surprised by how much the author emphasized the ecological themes in his book. I found many quotable and profound paragraphs in his book. 

“We are the children of Mother Nature. And though we do not respect our mother, though we often worry her and cause her pain, though we break her heart, she loves us.”

Still, those that prefer action packed and fast paced stories might be a bit disappointed. For example, Sword of Destiny is definitely faster paced than Blood of Elves. 

“And who are you putting make-up on for, exactly?”
 “Myself. A woman accentuates her beauty for her own self-esteem.”

I mentioned that this novel focuses on Ciri. However, she's not the only strong female character. In fact, this novel features a number of strong women such as for example: Yennefer, Triss, Philippa  and Shani. The author himself said he wanted to defy genre stereotypes when he created Yennefer. In that sense, it could be said Sapkowski was rather successful as Yennefer is certainly no stereotype.

“Beautiful, long, loose hair was a rarity, an indication of a woman's position, her status, the sign of a free woman, a woman who belonged to herself. The sign of an unusual woman – because "normal" maidens wore their hair in plaits, "normal" married women hid theirs beneath a caul or a coif. Women of high birth, including queens, curled their hair and styled it. Warriors cut it short. Only druids and magicians – and whores – wore their hair naturally so as to emphasise their independence and freedom.”

 On the other hand, it seems a bit convenient how all the women are falling for Gerald, the protagonist of this novel, especially as is often described how people shun witchers. On the other hand, there could be  logical explanation for this. Sorceress like Yennefer and Triss might be sensitive to witchers. Triss describes  a tingling sensation she feels whenever she touches any witcher- not just Gerald. As both witchers and mags are often envied and hated by ordinary people for their powers and skills, this gives them something in common.  As for ordinary women, there is a logic there as well. The witchers are strong and brave, so it is not odd some women might be attracted to them. A man who can kill a monster and this save lives must be attractive. 

Gerald is not described as particularly handsome in the book, covered with scars and all that, but women are not always drawn to conventionally handsome man. As Keanu Reaves famously said in Replacements:  Chicks  dig scars. Moreover,  witchers are also very rare, only a few of them remain. So, that might be part of the appeal. I would be the first to say that a lady magnet protagonist is a definite stereotype, but in the case I don't really mind. I think this book defies enough stereotypes to be an interesting, though-provoking and fun read. Highly recommended!

Thank you for visiting! 


  1. Znala sam da je serija "The Witcher" zasnovana na istoimenoj video igri, ali ne i da su i igrica i serija nastale po knjigama! Hvala na preporuci! <3

  2. This is an interesting read. I should check it out.

    Check out my new post:

  3. Gracias por la reseña. Tengo pendiente esa saga. Te mando un beso.

  4. Oh, such an epic review. Thanks for the amazing quotes too. Great to read about this coming of age story in the world of magic and all the politics of it too. The author is such a master storyteller of an intriguing world! I also love what you can do with a scarf too! Thanks for all the inspiration! Thanks for being here. (✿◡‿◡)

  5. Amazing to hear her story and all that she learned from her adoptive parents. Such great quotes from the book too. So love the collages you made as well. Definitely, need to look into this series now. Thanks for your comments. Thanks for being so inspiring! Adoring that scarf too! ^_~

  6. Book reviews really is your forte, Ivana!
    And can I tell you how gorgeous you look wrapped up in that shawl? xxx

  7. Thank you for sharing this thorough review, I really enjoyed reading this post! :)

  8. What an epic review! A must check out!
    Wonderful and Lovely Post dear!
    Rampdiary | Fineartandyou | Theartdiary 

  9. Your review is truly epic. Those quotes you pulled in were a brilliant touch, and it was fantastic to delve into this coming-of-age tale in a world of magic and political intrigue. The author's storytelling skills is nothing short of masterful, isn't it?And can we just take a moment to appreciate how stunning you look with that shawl.

  10. Amazing Review and Pics. You look adorable in this cool and clear Colors

  11. Io lo lessi tanto tampo fa questo libro!^^
    Quando uscì il gioco The Witcher, un mio amico mi disse che era ispirato a dei libri, e quindi, dato che il gioco mi appassionò parecchio ed il genre fantasy mi piace, li cercai e li lessi quando ancora The Witcher non era così popolare!
    La tua review è stata super accurata, mi ha ricordato dei pezzi che avevo proprio dimenticato e di quanto mi fosse piaciuta quella saga! :)
    B&W look is just perfect for NY city!
    You look cool and modern!

  12. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  13. I will check it out. I must say you look radiant. Regine

  14. Sounds like an interesting book to read.

  15. Hello
    I see that you are continuing your reading with the same author, continuing in this saga of the fantastic, but through this fantasy world it provokes us to think about our lives. I like your collages and you too are in that perfect pose of a woman confident in her work! I also think that there are certain men who, because of their work, their scars, can become interesting in women's eyes, women always idealize a hero who can protect them, like Harrison Ford, he's not a handsome man, but he has a je ne c'est pas quoi that attracts women! Have a good weekend!

  16. I really like your scarf in these pictures, the colours are lovely on you and you style it well! Fantasy books I never really seem to enjoy, but it's great that you have found and enjoyed this novel! Thank you for sharing your review :)


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All your comments mean a lot to me, even the criticism. Naravno da mi puno znači što ste uzeli vrijeme da nešto napišete, pa makar to bila i kritika. Per me le vostre parole sono sempre preziose anche quando si tratta di critiche.

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