Season of Storms by Andrej Sapkowski is the eighth book and sixth novel of The Witcher series. The book was originally published the year 2013 in Poland and then later translated and released in English in 2018. Chronologically Season of Storms takes place in between the short stories of The Last wish and before the Sword of Destiny another book of short stories that happens as prequels to the five main Witcher books Blood of Elves, Time of Contempt, Baptism of Fire, The Tower of the Swallow, and The Lady of the Lake.
My first foray into the Witcher series was the Witcher Enhanced Edition game by CD Projeckt RED, making Season of Storms the first of Andrej Sapkowski’s Witcher series but also the first of his books I have read. For being a book translated from Polish to English the descriptions and writing style allow you to visualize the world and it’s characters very well. Part of the writing allows you to get into the mindset of certain creatures and feel like you are right there in the room with the characters. A good example of this is with in chapter two where the description of the utter unhygienic descriptions and actions of the guards women had me set the book down for a little bit in disgust.
When it comes to the characters very few outiside of the main character Geralt, the bard Dandelion, and the sorceress Yennifer have an impact to the rest of the series. Geralt is quite snarky with his dry wit and humor which adds some very discreet insults that most people would miss in their first read. Dandelion is a joy read the character just brightens up the story with his wit and way with words. The banter between Dandelion and Geralt makes a smile come to my face as it shows the two are good friends. Yennifer is mentioned quite a bit in the story yet only appears near the end at an important part.
While there are other characters not many have an impact on the story except a few. Lytta Neyd, also called Coral is a sultry seductress of a sorceress who both directly and indirectly causes a majority of the issues in the story. Pyral Pratt is the generic crime lord sitting in his own decadence running an arena where people fight creatures made by the sorcerers of Rissberg Castle, sell stolen items, and go to let of steam. Most of the Rissberg Castle sorcerers are arrogant and consumed in their individual choices of research. Grandmaster Ortolan is very invested in his experiments to create magic items that can be used by the common men even if it is acquired by non-humane means. Sorel Degerlund the youngest mage there is very arrogant and willing to exceed and lengths for his research and experiments.
While there are many different creatures that witchers hunt very few actually appear in Season of Storms. The first which you get introduced, through its point of view, an arachnophobe’s greatest an Araconomorph which with it’s mandibles can cut a man in half. The next creature is a specially bred magical lizard created to guard and protect called a Vigilosaur. Other creatures include different hybrids of crosses such as ogres and trolls which gave Geralt some trouble without his swords. The most interesting creature in the book is the Aquara a fox like shape-changer that is capable of great illusions that even witchers will try to stay away from.
Seasons of Storms I felt has a decent story. One of the issues is at certain times the way things jumped around felt like a bunch of short stories modified to fit together as one. As the books name is Season of Storms, it felt like every time a storm is alluded to or mentioned, something bad was going to happen Geralt. It starts with Geralt hunting a monster which kills one of his travelling companions then the sound of thunder is in the distance. After that job he travels to Kerack a harbor town and kingdom where he gets arrested and his swords stolen. Then he travels to Pyral Pratts arena in Ravelin. This where Geralt fights a creature without a weapon to get the information on where to find his swords.
After he is contacted by the sorcerers of Rissberg castle to hunt a creature that is killing the villages that supply the castle research materials to the last man women in child. When he confronts the the beast he is teleported to an area that is in constant border disputes between two kingdoms. Geralt is persued by the creature from Rissberg when he escapes and meets a dwarf miner called Addario Bach who travels with Geralt to get to an auction in Novigrad by the fifteenth and the date is the ninth. On the way they run into and join a boat expedition The Prophet Lebioda trying to find a kidnapped Half elf child.
The coming part is my favorite part in the whole book. The child was kidnapped by a shape-changer known as an Aguara that doesn’t reproduce only kidnaps female elven children to change them into more aguaras. Geralt advises the crew to just avoid the creature when he finds out they have captured a young vixen the wrong one and are already chased by the mother. In Geralts mind the only way to protect the crew is to land and let the fox go when she is seemingly killed. On the witcher’s advise the flee and are hit by a sudden storm that brings The Prophet Lebioda into a river. Traveling down the river the Levioda is shown the true power of the Aquara where they are beset by illusions, snakes and a male water creature known as a vodyanoy. Eventually the ship is led under tree boughs where the She-fox jumps onto the ship and the White Wolf stands in defense of the crew and gives the mother her child. With that done Geralt, Addario and the crew survivors who survived are stuck rowing to shore when another storms starts.
Since he missed the auction and his swords Geralt returns to Kerack and then leaves to hunt the creature from Rissberg. To hunt the beast he asks Dussart a werewolf he had previously helped to track the monster. He eventually finds the creature and Dussart pays back the debt he owed by saving Geralts life. After Geralt arrives again in Kerack there is a royal wedding, the throne is usurped by the rightful heir and the Kerack is basically destroyed by another storm and Geralt’s temporary sword and his jacket are stolen when he is saving three children from being killed by the flood caused by the storm. Through the Witcher’s bad luck and everything the book name Season of Storms is fitting.
For my final thoughts of this book I felt it was a good book. If you are a fan of the Witcher series then please take the chance to read it. As I said earlier this is the first book in the series I have read. I feel it is a good place to start if you want to read the series. If you are just looking for a good book to read then I do recommend that you give Season of Storms a look.