The Tower of the Swallow (Andrzej Sapkowski)

The Tower of the Swallow is the fourth novel in the Witcher series by Andrzej Sapkowski. I read the English translation by David French (not the playwright).
Finished on: 18.9.2022
[Here are my reviews of the other Witcher novels.]

Content Note: sexualized violence

Vysogota, an old hermit living a lonely life in the swamps, stumbles upon an injured girl – Ciri, as it turns out. As he nurses her back to health, she hesitantly starts to tell him her story and what brought her to his swamp and who injured her. Meanwhile, Geralt – accompanied by Regis, Milva and Cahir – is trying to find the druids in the hopes that they can let him know about Ciri’s whereabouts. Time seems to be running out as he is plagued by ominous dreams about her. But the druids have fled from the war and aren’t easy to find.

The Tower of the Swallow started well, but it kind of kept losing me in the end, and I was rather confused by a few things that I feel don’t make sense. In any case, I will finish the series now, but I have lost hope that I will really like it (apart from the first short story collection that led me on this reading journey to begin with).

The book cover showing the silhouette of a howling wolf. Inside the silhouette is a tower with large birds flying around it.

It is entirely possible that my confusion about some events in the series stem from the fact that I’m not the most attentive reader of it – there has been too much about it that I didn’t like for me to pay superclose attention to it (like the constant presence of sexualized violence). But, for example, I don’t understand how the entire “Ciri stayed with the jarl for a while and learned how to ice-skate when she was fifteen and his son fell in love with her” plot could possibly fit into the timeline of Ciri’s life as we know it. She is only sixteen, she has been with the Rats for a while, and before that she was with Yennefer – who doesn’t seem to be aware of that part of Ciri’s life and HOW? (This bothered me more than it should have, probably, but it really seems no small thing.)

Anyhow, I did like Vysogota and how he and Ciri get closer. I was definitely curious to learn what had happened to Ciri (but here, too, I was a little confused – mostly about motivations, especially of Bonhart. I always expected there to be more to him than there actaully was), though ultimately the level of violence she has to endure is really not my favorite part of the novels. (I don’t know what is.)

Geralt’s constant bickering with Cahir is thankfully put a stop to, but the final revelation about Cahir and Ciri had me cursing. It seems “fate” wants Cahir to sexualize a child and fall in love with her and ugh ugh ugh. That Geralt is pissed off at this is understandable, though I’m afraid that it is for the wrong reasons, and the deal he makes with Cahir in the end is just Geralt laying claim to Ciri, so nobody else can have her (at least for me).

So, it’s a good think that there is only one more novel in the series (and an extra), because if it had been longer, I probably would have called it quit at this point – despite the fact that there is some new and pretty interesting world-building with the elves here. I’ll see the series through, but that’s about it for me.

Summarizing: not for me.

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