A Review of Baptism of Fire – Spoiler Free
Baptism of Fire is hands-down my favorite of the Witcher series by Andrzej Sapkowski so far! The Time of Contempt was a bit of a letdown for me, but Baptism of Fire reminded me why I wanted to read this series in the first place.
Looking back, this book did not do much to further the plot
All that happened here was just plain fun for me. We once again have Geralt and Dandelion as a team, PLUS a whole new gang of characters that were individually interesting and distinct, and just made for a merry band of misfits that I loved adventuring with!
The Time of Contempt introduced a lot of unfamiliar characters, so many that I found it difficult to a) distinguish them from one another and to b) care about them. In this book, however, we get Zoltan Chivey, a dwarf that had such an entertaining and likable voice (DWARVES ARE SERIOUSLY UNDERRATED?!?!), Milva, a half-dryad of sorts who is a killer archer, and Regis, a character who, for me at least, was so unexpected but very well-received.
I loved the adventure-feel and chaos of this book
Geralt’s main mission here is to get to Cirri, who is supposedly in Nilfgaard. He and his company encounter all sorts of trouble in the form of monsters and enemies that need the Witcher treatment. There was plenty of action and entertaining dialogue, and the overall tone of this installment didn’t seem as serious as the last two books.
I know this was published so long ago, but I can’t help but think that Sapkowski must have been given feedback on The Time of Contempt before writing Baptism of Fire, and if so he must have worked off of that feedback. I have a lot of respect for authors who take steps to improve their work, and it’s nice to see growth when it comes to long-running series like this.
I pointed out in my review of the second book that I hate how women are portrayed in this series, and while there were still a few snags here, the third book definitely had significant improvements. I unexpectedly loved reading about the council of sorceresses, despite being extremely annoyed with them in The Time of Contempt.
I felt that this book brought back the humor and magic and fun that I recall in some of the stories in The Last Wish and Sword of Destiny. It reminded me a bit of The Hobbit actually, that sense of being on a journey surrounded by good company despite being in the midst of a war and a whole lot of death.
I suppose the only thing that really bummed me out in this book is what happened to Cirri. I love her character, but I’m not at all sure how to feel about where her story is going.
Baptism of Fire was an enjoyable read, but I do hope the next book will move more toward the series’ main plot points, and I’m excited to get into it!