Baptism of Fire: The Witcher, Book 3 Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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Audible Audiobook, Unabridged
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Geralt of Rivia is on a mission to save his ward, Ciri, and with her the world, in this third novel in the best-selling Witcher series that inspired the Netflix show and video games.
The Wizards Guild has been shattered by a coup and, in the uproar, Geralt was seriously injured. The Witcher is supposed to be a guardian of the innocent, a protector of those in need, a defender against powerful and dangerous monsters that prey on men in dark times.
But now that dark times have fallen upon the world, Geralt is helpless until he has recovered from his injuries.
While war rages across all of the lands, the future of magic is under threat and those sorcerers who survive are determined to protect it. It's an impossible situation in which to find one girl - Ciri, the heiress to the throne of Cintra, has vanished - until a rumour places her in the Niflgaard court, preparing to marry the Emperor.
Injured or not, Geralt has a rescue mission on his hands.
Translated by David French.
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|Listening Length||12 hours and 15 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com.au Release Date||03 April 2014|
|Publisher||Orion Publishing Group|
|Best Sellers Rank|| 516 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
64 in Epic Fantasy (Audible Books & Originals)
69 in Military Fantasy (Books)
100 in Epic Fantasy (Books)
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By Jacob on 23 July 2021
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Following the finale of Time of Contempt Geralt is badly injured and was transported to Brokilon forest by the enchantress Triss. Under the watchful eyes of the Dryads he is slowly regaining his health. As soon as he feels anywhere near healthy enough he plans to rescue Ciri who everyone believes is in Nilfgaard. The truth is that Ciri has actually taken on the guise of a bandit with the pseudonym Falka operating in a Robin Hood-style posse. She's become quite a celebrity amongst the common folk but her temper and blade-prowess have become legendary in a short space of time.
As well as series favourites Geralt, Ciri and Dandelion we are introduced to a plethora of new characters here that are some of the greatest of Sapkowski's creations thus far. Milva the forest dwelling archer and Regis a barber-surgeon are two of the finest even though those descriptions give nothing away regarding what to expect from them in this narrative.
Unlike the last two books which have had a large amount of different point of view perspectives eighty-percent of this novel is following the Witcher on his mission to rescue Ciri. For the first time in these tales, which normally see Geralt on his own or with one companion completing missions, here, a fellowship/brotherhood is created with a very varied cast of players. Geralt is initially uninclined to let anyone share his burden but comradeship does succeed towards the finale. The conversation and banter between the members of this ensemble is excellently crafted as many of the characters are so different. Although his closest friend, Geralt, and Dandelion could not possibly be any more different and I often chuckled at their oddness reflected in their exchanges.
The other sections that we follow are what is happening to Ciri at the other end of the world. We also see a few scenes from the viewpoint of certain enchantresses who seem to have a scheme under development. A few moments feature Dijkstra who is the head of Redania's secret service.
The war is raging all over the world, mainly Nilgaardians verses everyone else but in politics, things are never that simple, and with all the names of factions, King's and noble houses I still occasionally get confused about who is fighting who, however; that actually suits the vibe in this book. As the fellowship are on their journey they come across many battles, fights, and skirmishes and Sapkowski's skillful writing accentuates the confusion and unpredictability of war but also heightens the fact that the brotherhood are so isolated in trying to achieve their objective.
There are so many standout moments and set-pieces, character development is sublime, and relationships that are frosty at best transcend any predicted outcome as the Brotherhood fight for their life and for Ciri. This series is finally reaching the lofty heights that it has always hinted at and I can't wait to start The Tower of the Swallow straight away. This entry is exceptional and as well as the finest story in The Witcher saga it is also probably in my top-20 books of all time.
‘What a company I ended up with,’ Geralt continued, shaking his head. ‘Brothers in arms! A team of heroes! What have I done to deserve it? A poetaster with a lute. A wild and lippy half-dryad, half-woman. A vampire, who’s about to notch up his fifth century. And a bloody Nilfgaardian who insists he isn’t a Nilfgaardian.’
1 - The Last Wish
2 - Sword of Destiny
3 - Blood of Elves (The Witcher Book 1)
4 - Time of Contempt (The Witcher Book 2)
Onto the actual review. The previous books have mostly focused on Ciri so far but this all changes in Baptism of Fire spending most of the time focusing on Geralt, what happened to him since the events at the Tower of Gulls and his continuing journey to find and rescue Ciri. The book has some great moments and a colourful cast of characters Geralt slowly draws to himself who want to help him rescue Ciri for a variety of reasons. I especially like Zoltan and Regis who are both quite unique and often entertaining to read whenever around. The book is pretty well paced with a nice mixture of character and world building but also plenty of action scenes which were exciting and well thought out in most cases. Despite enjoying both the cast and the continuing political background of the book I must admit this is my least favorite of the series so far. Plot wise it kind of meanders and outside of introducing more characters for Geralt to add to his merry rescue band doesn't really go anywhere, it lacks a lot of focus but I'm hoping this is just building towards bigger events in the next two books.
In summary Baptism of Fire is a good read, if you've enjoyed the previous novels I'm sure you will like this one. As a fan of the games made from the books it's great to see the introduction of certain characters from them and see their origin stories of meeting Geralt. Looking forward to reading the last two books of the series.
+ Introduction of some great characters, especially Regis and Zoltan.
+ Excellent political and lore world building.
+ Some great fights and action scenes.
- The narrative sort of meanders, the plot needs more focus.
Unfortunately Ciri is barely featured in this book and when she is there nothing significant happens, except for how powerful she will be in the future blah blah blah...
A wonderfully written book and I highly recommend it for those who don't know what else to read, its better than nothing.
Just finished book 3, having read books 1 and 2 over the past couple of weeks, so here's my impressions .......
Try to read the books in sequence. It sounds a bit obvious, but if you see Book 2' alone in a sale don't skip Book 1. These books are very much one story, split over several books, not several different stories about the same character.
Its quite slow reading. The books are about The Witcher, yes, but he is just one character in the story and the books are very much about the overall story not just The Witcher's story. In that sense, it feels like Frodo in 'The Lord of the Rings', its the companions, the place, the journey ...... not just Frodo's story. The book contains lots of exposition - by many characters - of the story world's races, conflicts, politics. This all provides interesting backstory to the Witcher games - so its what I was looking for - but be prepared for long sections where characters talk at length about whats happened, happening and planned in the wider world's backdrop.
I'm replaying the Witcher 3 video game alongside reading the books and because of that the game's setting and story make much more sense this time around.
The book is translated from its original Polish, which may be why it feels a bit stilted in places .- though arguably no more stilted than the original English of, for example, Howard's Conan stories or Lovecrafts's Cthulhu stories. Translation of novels is notoriously difficult so no surprises or complaints, but know what to expect.
Books 1 and 2 had some obvious format/typo errors. I noticed hardly any any in book 3, so either they're getting better at proofing, or I'm getting used to the errors and better at ignoring them.
I also found books 1 and 2 ended a bit abruptly for my liking, but book 3 ends at what feels like more of a 'natural break'.
I haven't bought book 4 yet (I assumed it was a trilogy, duh) - and the sale is over - but as soon as the next sale comes around, I'll be buying it.
So, overall, worthwhile as Witcher backstory - or, more generally, as an 'epic journey' tale of relatively vulnerable characters moving against a large multinational fantasy world backdrop.
- The book is full of literal translations from the Polish language which often makes you guess the intended meaning.
- Lack of consistency: same words are translated differently in different parts of the book.
- Some translations are simply incorrect and include very fundamental phrases which are warned against at schools.
- Typos are quite common too.