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The Time of Contempt [Hardcover]

Andrzej Sapkowski
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

Feb. 5 2013
Geralt the Witcher has fought monsters and demons across the land, but even he may not be prepared for what is happening to his world. The kings and armies are maneuvering for position, each fearing invasion from across the river, each fearing their neighbours more. Intrigue, dissent and rebellion are on all sides. The Elves and other non-humans are still suffering under decades of repression, and growing numbers join the commando units hidden deep in the forest, striking at will and then dissolving into the trees. The Magicians are fighting amongst themselves, some in the pay of the kings, some sympathetic to the elves. And against this backdrop of fear and contempt Geralt and his lover Yennefer must protect Ciri, orphaned heir and sought by all sides. For the prophecy rests on her, and whether she lives or dies she has the power to save the world - or perhaps end it.

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"New battle mechanics, a fantastic storyline, and a gritty setting make The Witcher one of the most engrossing, mature RPGs to arrive on the PC in years."
Gamespot.com on The Witcher video game

"The Witcher delivers one of the most intense and rewarding role-playing experiences this year."
GT Reviews on The Witcher video game --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Andrzej Sapkowski was born in 1948 in Poland. He studied economy and business, but the success of his fantasy cycle about the sorcerer Geralt de Rivia turned him into a bestselling writer and he is now one of Poland's most famous and successful authors, selling more in his own country than Stephen King or Michael Crichton.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great series excellent book. Oct. 7 2013
Format:Paperback
I enjoyed the second book in the series as much as the first. While the Witcher is not the primary protagonist in this book it is still an great read. I wish it was longer, it felt like a small book, but I did binge read it.
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Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  49 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book. Better than the Blood of Elves Aug. 15 2013
By Khaelmin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this, both as an avid fantasy reader and a big fan of the games. Geralt shines here, both in his traditional role as a monster slaying mutant and in a few unique situations that the author puts him in. The Yennefer and Ciri characters are also given a little more dimension and personality, breaking away from the tired tropes of benevolent witch and child prodigy/messiah.

The action scenes are nicely done, and the narrative begins to foreshadow the events in the games nicely. As usual, Sapkowski's unique depiction of a society where a bunch of different races have to coexist is refreshing and very believable. The politics, backstabbing and racism you'd expect from a world like that are all in here.

Highly recommend it.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The same Sapkowski you loved marred by a new translator Dec 28 2013
By Danny Blaugher - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
I will preface with this: the novel is excellent. If you are even a mild admirer of the Witcher series, this whole line of novels will suck you in. The Time of Contempt swiftly sets rolling the ball Blood of Elves positioned. It leaves you wanting more. In no way is this a bad thing. In fact, non of my complaints have to do with those things Sapkowski directly controlled, that which a translator can not alter: namely plot, pacing, and characterization. The grievances do start, however, when it comes to syntax. To some it may be a relief that Danusia Stok didn't translate this book, but rather the task was given to David French. I stumbled with his translation efforts. Many times throughout the book I had to reread sentences because they were composed in an especially unusual manner, and even after looking them back over, a number of them made no sense whatsoever. To quote one of the less egregious missteps:

"'Lydia,' smiled Vilgefortz, 'thanks for your acknowledgement.'"

It becomes clear further in the paragraph that Vilgefortz is speaking for Lydia, not thanking her as the syntax would imply. This blundering mistake could have been fixed with a simple word, added to the effect of 'thanks you,' but by some act of malevolence or neglect, it was left as is through the editing process. But as stands, this still is a coherent line, just with poor flow. What follows is something I still can't puzzle out:

"The manhunters didn't touch Mistle, not once they'd checked she really was untouched."

I really want to throw a copy of The Elements of Style at the translator and his editors, as I can't make head or tail of what this was meant to say. Danusia Stok may have struggled with Sapkowski's style and produced some prose that was stuttering, but I don't recall from either of her translations (Last Wish and Blood of Elves) such terrific errors as are in this book.

But, these errors having been examined, it still stands that a translator is but a mirror, and no matter how smudged its surface is, light always reflects back. It is exceptionally fortunate that Sapkowski's original Polish work is very bright. Even such blatant disregard for grammatical rules essential for communication in the English language cannot mar entirely what makes Sapkowski's books so loved. The characters are voiced uniquely, and he brings them about in ways which we would expect, and even in some ways we wouldn't. Geralt returns partway through the book, and his reveal is just as momentous as it is akin to returning to an old friend. He is, admittedly, less bitter and sardonic than he was in the previous books, but perhaps that is because he takes a backseat in this novel. As the book progresses, it become clear that it is Cir, not the headlined Geralt, who is the star of the novel, and in no way is this a bad thing. I can't say much in regards to why I am so excited to find out what she makes of the situation she is in by the end of the book without spoiling it, but her evolution throughout the tale almost put her above the Witcher as my favorite character from the series. Almost. The story arc of the Witcher and Ciri takes place in the backdrop of the politics and scheming of the north in the face of the Nilfgaardian threat. While a relatively minor part of the novel, it was very clear that large pieces were being moved on the proverbial checkerboard. I took great joy in the few clever twists Sapkowski threw into the book, carrying the same disbelief as did the characters. The book, in a summary, is intense and gripping. It involves us in the protagonists and their affairs. In true Witcher style, none of the sides are motivated simply. There is no right or wrong, and neutrality is still a narrow road to walk. I may have complained extensively about the translator, but that is because that is the only aspect I can truly critique. And even then, the book is a quick read despite the translator's staggered efforts. This is a book to be picked up by every fan who read Blood of Elves and enjoyed it, as it is more of the same and then some. And best (and worst) of all, it leaves you wanting more. At this moment, I am considering the long wait to the next edition against the inconsistent waters of fan translations. If not obvious, I loathe badly translated works. If the fact that I am willing to resort to the unpolished efforts of fans in translating the sequential editions of the series, in lieu of waiting for Orbit to tumble out another official release, is not evidence enough of this series's compelling drive, then I am at a loss as to what else to say.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Witcher returns for a sinister turn of events Nov. 13 2013
By Michael B. Gutierrez - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Just finished this today and the book was great. If you enjoy the Witcher setting, its video games, or just want a different wrinkle to the fantasy formula, this is worth a read.

The middle was rather boring; for some reason, when Sapkowski describes banquets, balls, and the ridiculously named nobles who attend them, it gets hard to keep track of what's going on, and what is going on isn't all that fun to read. But outside of that, it was a delight to return to this world and the story had no issues picking back up once it got past the parts I had problems with. There is no deus ex machina here - the protagonists do fail and even when a savior-figure does come seemingly out of nowhere, it's usually just as helpless as the main characters are.

There's a reason why this book is called The Time of Contempt and it's not just because of the Elder Blood prophecy. By the end of the book, things get so dark and gritty it's almost hard to look back at how comparatively light the book, and the series itself, was before the game-changing events that occur in this volume.

I'm not convinced the new translator is doing a demonstrably better job than past entries, but English-reading Witcher and Sapkowski fans should be pleased.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read (spoiler Free) March 27 2014
By jtoth - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a great addition to the Witcher books. It has more action than the previous book and some great dialogue. I am looking forward to reading the next one.

**IMPORTANT**
If you've read The Blood of Elves without reading the second short story book (The Sword of Destiny, never got officially published in English), Google 'The Sword of Destiny Fan Translation' and read it! They are super easy to find, and even come in a kindle friendly (.mobi) format! If you're a fan of the series and haven't read the second short story book then you're really missing out.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Needs More Geralt... Badly! (Spoiler Free Review) Nov. 9 2013
By Poisoned Blade - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The Time of Contempt is Book 2 of the Witcher Series written by Andrzej Sapkowski and translated into English. To get the most out of this book, you'll really need to read Book 1, Blood of Elves. Other books featuring Geralt exist, but they are only short stories and not really a part of this series directly. And of course, millions discovered Geralt through the Witcher Video Game Series, which is awesome!

The Witcher Universe:
Witchers are a mysterious organization of monster hunters that protect the innocent for a price. The Witcher Universe is a well-written fantasy world that springs from mythology and folklore. There are Elves, Dwarves, Dryads, Druids, Wizards, Trolls... There are warring kingdoms, treachery, diplomacy, monsters, and bands of rebel fighters. It's an epic Universe and the ties to European Folklore make the Universe feel more credible.

Story:
Ciri, a child of prophecy with a huge bounty on her head and is being chased by bounty hunters. Yennifer, a powerful sorceress who is engaged in wizard's guild politics is escorting Ciri to safety. Geralt, a professional monster hunter, works behind the scenes to keep them safe. Dandelion, a bard / spy, provides the main characters with information. There a quite a few twists and turns as Ciri travels from place to place, dodging evils of many kind.

Characters:
The characters are all multi-dimensional and interesting and they all have good dialogue. The story mostly follows Ciri and the politics within the mage's guild, with Geralt, Yennifer, and Dandelion having supporting roles.

Writing Style:
You can't tell that the book was translated from Polish. It flows naturally, so that's good! There is no narrator who has an over-arching view of the story. Instead, the political battle between kingdoms is told in bits through the characters, similar to the Game of Thrones Series. Nobody has a complete view of what is going on, so you put the state of the realm together in your head from what you hear. You really need to pay attention to this book and follow the actions of the spies and mages. There is also no big build up or payoff. The story just flows. It does feel more organic that way, but it does lack that big payoff that most books deliver.

Action:
I'm a HUGE fan of the Witcher video games. I love it when Geralt ventures into the forest and slays creatures spawned from folklore and nightmares. It's also great when Geralt finds humans who are more like the proverbial monsters, than the monsters themselves and slays them, too. With that said, this book does have plenty of action, but Geralt isn't involved in most of it. Unfortunately, Geralt slays a wyvern and we hear about it second hand from a peasant. It would have been great to read about that. Geralt also battles 3 bounty hunters offscreen, so we only hear what is going on from a peasant's point of view inside a tavern. It would have been great to read these fights from Geralt's perspective. When there is action, it's quite good. There are magic duels, skirmishes, sword fights, etc... But there should be much more.

Maturity:
It's pretty adult oriented. There's violence, gore, swearing, and sexual situations.

Overall:
I enjoyed the book, but I'm a bit disappointed. The cover features Geralt as if he just killed some giant creature and crawled out of its slime covered maw. Geralt only kills one monster in the book and it happens offscreen. He spends most of the book stuck in political intrigue, and most of what goes on is over his head. Ciri actually has more pages dedicated to her than Geralt, and she's interesting as the story unfolds around her. A huge portion of the book is dedicated to the political squabbles of the mages guild, and you really need to follow it closely. So, this is a pretty good book, but it's not what you'd expect if you're a fan of the videogame series, the Witcher/Hexer TV Series, or a fan of the original Witcher short stories.

If you like medieval fantasy with political intrigue, read The Game of Thrones Series by George RR Martin. It's much better than the intrigue here.

If you want to see Geralt battle monsters, definitely pick up the Witcher Game Series. It's incredibly well written and grounded in folklore. If you're not into games, you should at least watch the cinematics on youtube. You'll love `em.
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