What I’ve been Reading, August 2020 Edition II
This second edition of what I've been reading for August 2020 finds me knee-deep in a couple of fantasy series, one adult and one YA. And, yes, I've been enjoying both series in audiobook form using the fantastic Libby app.
The Time of Contempt and Baptism of Fire by Andrzej Sapkowski
I have to admit, I accidentally read these books out of order. That made Baptism of Fire even more confusing than the typical Witcher novel. Having said that, Baptism of Fire and, incidentally, The Time of Contempt are my favorite Witcher books so far. I don't know why I like them so well. Maybe it's because I've come to accept that the novels aren't action-packed adventures full of nasty monsters as the covers might lead one to believe. No, these novels are full of political intrigue and a surprising amount of dry humor (I even laughed a few times while listening to Baptism of Fire).
That's not to say there isn't any action in these books. Sapkowski actually does action and description in general exceptionally well. The action sequences are precise and to the point making each scene easy to visualize right down to the placement of Witcher's foot and the twist of his wrist. It's downright cinematic. The descriptions of the setting are equally well done.
The characters are generally interesting, if not likable. The Witcher, Ciri, and Yennefer are exceptional characters. Personally, I found the dwarves in Baptism of Fire good for many chuckles. Still, I can't say these novels are great, good, yes, but not great. At times, the political intrigue and endless babble about a prophecy become tedious. But, never fear, there is still plenty to like in the series that will keep me reading.
Leviathan and Behemoth by Scott Westerfield
These books are great. If you can get past the fact that the heroine flies around in a floating jellyfish and then a levitating whale, these stories are tons of fun. Nonstop action, great characters, and a fascinating fantasy world. What Westerfield does great is end every chapter with the reader wanting more. I don't know that each chapter ends with a cliffhanger, but there's always something exciting going on that is unresolved. This gives these YA tales propulsive pacing that works really well.