I return once again to the Witcher world. Don’t worry, we’ve only got three more to go after this. Then I might finally force myself to play the first two Witcher games. Maybe.
Unlike the previous stories, this book focuses almost exclusively on Geralt. After recovering from the battle at the end of the last book, our favorite Witcher departs to rescue Ciri from Novigrad. Along with his old friend Dandelion, as well as some new faces that we’ll see more of in the adventures to come, he struggles across the war-torn land to save his surrogate daughter.
This book has a bit of an exposition problem. There are plenty of times where the story grinds to a halt for characters to just… talk. Often times about something completely mundane and unimportant. It spends so much damn time explaining how Ciri’s magical genes work. Guess what? NO ONE CARES HOW MAGIC GENES WORK! THEY’RE JUST MAGIC!! MOVE ON!!
The introduction of the Eternal Fire is kinda weak. It’s a decent scene that does a decent job foreshadowing the truth about Regis. But the Eternal Fire itself feels dispensable. Like you could do literally anything else with fire and get the job done. I know that they play a bigger role in the story, at least in the games, so maybe it’s a bit of setup for later. But for now, it left a bit to be desired.
Thankfully, the rest of the story is absolutely amazing.
The group dynamic this book introduces is so much damn fun! Geralt and Dandelion was always a fun pair! But then they added Milva, Zoltan, and Regis! It’s a lot of fun watching Geralt share his adventures with a bunch of misfits!
Then there’s Cahir. Remember the feather-helmed knight from the last two books? The one that scarred Ciri for life? He’s got a bit of a redemption arc brewing! That, or a terrible betrayal. Either way, his sudden shift into the hero role in this story is a fun change of pace. He makes for a nice addition to the Fellowship. Especially since Geralt and Dandelion are both very eager to have him dead.
But none of it compares to this book’s climax. The battle itself could have used some more foreshadowing, yes. But the scene itself is absolutely amazing, culminating in one of the single funniest endings I’ve ever read! It can be best summarized as:
Everyone else: Geralt, why are you called Geralt of Rivia?
Geralt: I made it up.
Queen lady: I dub thee Geralt of Rivia!
Geralt: Fucking hooray.
This shit won’t stop making me laugh!
Now, Geralt isn’t the only character in this story. Yennefer and Ciri are still around. Unfortunately, they have so little time in the spotlight. Yennefer has all of three scenes! Ciri all of two! This book is very much the Geralt show!
Do I mind? Not really. I love Geralt! But I also love Ciri and Yen and I miss them.
Overall, I’d say that Baptism of Fire is one of the better Witcher books. It isn’t as good as The Last Wish or Sword of Destiny. But I did enjoy it a lot more than Blood of Elves or The Time of Contempt. If you’ve been holding off on reading this one, I’d recommend you give it the time it deserves.
And if you haven’t read any of these books… Fix that. Also, why are you here? I don’t mind, you’re always welcome, I just want to know.