The third book in The Witcher
series by Andrzej Sapkowski, originally in Polish but translated to English. It is the first full-size novel in the series, as well as the first installment of the "Blood of the Elves Saga"/"Geralt and Ciri Saga".
After The Kingdom
of Cintra was razed by The Empire
of Nilfgaard in the previous book, the orphaned Cintran princess Cirilla is picked up by Geralt, her destined guardian. Safe at the witchers' stronghold Kaer Morhen, she receives combat training from the witchers. However, Ciri turns out to be even less ordinary
. The witchers call upon the sorceress Triss Merigold for help, who soon realises the cause of the problem: Ciri is a latent magician, a Source. As such, she has to be tutored by someone more competent — like Yennefer, Geralt's former lover. Meanwhile, prophecies emerge that link the lost Cintran princess to unimaginable destruction, so everyone starts searching for Ciri really hard
Tropes found in the book:
- Admiring the Abomination: Done by a biologist during a river cruise. Geralt tells him to name the creature after an annoying brat that traveled with them.
"What a specimen, what a specimen," Pitt quickly noted, thrilled no end. "Prehensile cephalic limbs, four pairs of chelae... Strong tail-fan... Sharp claws..."
- Animal Wrongs Group: The above-mentioned biologist also dislikes the idea of killing rare animals (including rare animals that routinely eat people), which is pretty much a witcher's trade.
- Bait And Switch Umbridge: Yennefer. The old trope name fits better, given her role as a teacher.
- Bullying a Dragon: a team of Siblings in Crime is hired to take out Geralt. In no time the three of them are killed, and the maimed fourth gets a Coup de Grāce. Notably they weren't Genre Blind on taking on a witcher, but that they didn't expect the man they were hired to kill, a business like any other day, would turn out to be a witcher.
- Thicker Than Water: the local kings' favourite saying, apparently. Also applies in the case of Crach an Craite, for whom this is a reason to keep at the war with Nilfgaard.
- Training from Hell: not only a witcher's training was meant for boys, not girls, it was meant for mutation-enhanced boys who were tough enough to survive the mutation process. Ciri undergoes it only because that's the only way of raising children witchers know. It will be insanely useful better.