The Witcher series has become a phenomenon since its release back in 2007. And now, after almost 15 years, CD Projekt Red is ready to release the final installment of Geralt’s adventures.
This is the last chapter in the story of Geralt of Rivia, the legendary monster hunter who becomes embroiled in a battle between humans and monsters.
Fans of the franchise have waited patiently for over a decade for the next installment. Now, they finally get their wish.
Perhaps the most significant claim to fame for the franchise can be attributed to the Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, which was released in 2015.
This game received critical acclaim and became the fastest-selling video game ever at the time.
In addition to being a huge success commercially, The Witcher 3 also won several awards, including Game of the Year from IGN, Best RPG from Gamespot, and Best PC Game from Eurogamer, and spawned a successful Netflix series.
Though The Witcher is best known for digital media, the franchise actually started life as a series of books by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski.
Whether you are a huge Witcher fan looking for your next Geralt fix or are brand new to the series, the books are a great investment – and it is important to follow the story in the correct order.
Read on to discover all you need to know about The Witcher books and uncover the best order to read the stories for maximum enjoyment.
Without giving away any spoilers, here are some key characters from the books to get you started in the world of The Witcher.
Geralt is the protagonist of the novels and the key character whose name is known across all three mediums.
He is a professional monster slayer, a witcher, who lives alone in the forest near the border of the Empire of Nilfgaard.
Geralt is a loner, and prefers solitude over human contact, although he does have a few friends. His life changes when he meets Ciri and finds himself embroiled in political conflict.
Yennefer is a sorceress and Geralt’s love interest. She is also one of the most capable sorcerers in the world, and is known as “the enchantress”.
Her powers include telekinesis, illusion casting, and teleportation. She is also a skilled alchemist and is able to create potions and elixirs. Yennefer is a very complex character and is often voted a key fan favorite.
Ciri is Geralt’s ward and is initially raised by him at Kaer Moran, the training site for the Witcher. She is the princess of Cintra – a status that draws her to the attention of the Nilfgarrdian empire.
When she learns about her true heritage, she joins forces with Geralt, and together they fight against the Nilgarrds.
Merigold is a young woman who becomes Geralt’s apprentice and on occasion his lover.
Triss is a talented fighter and a capable mage. She is also a member of the Temerian resistance movement, which fights against the Nilgarrdians.
Dandelion is a bard and is Geralt’s friend. He is an expert tracker and is often hired to help Geralt track down monsters. He is a valued companion and is often called upon to entertain guests.
The Witcher books are written by Andrzej Sapkowksi and were first published in Poland in 1997. They tell the tale of Geralt of Riva, a professional monster hunter living in the kingdom of Temeria.
He is hired by the king to track down a group of bandits called the Witchers, who kill monsters without mercy.
As he travels across the country, Geralt encounters many different characters, each with their own unique personality and backstory.
In the beginning, the novels focus on Geralt’s quest to find his surrogate daughter Ciri, daughter of King Torrent.
However, as the series progresses, Geralt begins to encounter more and more people, creatures, and events that take place outside of his original mission.
These side quests often lead him into dangerous situations, where he must use witchery to survive.
Though the second book to be published, The Last Wish should be the first you read.
This book contains a number of short stories that introduce us to Geralt and set up the world of The Witcher, and the setting of the Continent.
It tells the story of how Geralt came to live in the Kingdom of Temeria, and how he met the mysterious woman Yennefer, as well as introduces the famous silver sword, used to kill the monsters encountered in the series.
We meet key characters such as Dandelion, the poet narrating the tale, and of course, Yennefer.
If you are a fan of the TV show, you will recognize many of the tales from this book in the first and second series.
Sword of Destiny is the second recommended read in the series, and this book introduces Ciri and the events that will be familiar to fans of the game.
Once again, this is made up of short stories, each of which covers a different adventure.
Though the events of this book technically take place before those of The Last Wish, reading them in this order ensures that you have a clear understanding of the context and world of the Witcher.
This book also features some of the most memorable scenes in the entire series and, when combined with The Last Wish, offers everything you need to know to enjoy the TV series and get more enjoyment from the games.
Blood of Elves is the third book in the series and events occur following those in Sword of Destiny.
This is the first full-length novel in the series and is the place where we meet the Nilfgaardian Emperor Emhyr var Emreis, who is in pursuit of Ciri.
Emhyr var Emreis is determined to marry Ciri to claim power over her land by birthright, Cintra.
Northern monarchs attempt to thwart this by killing Ciri, and a mysterious sorcerer attempts to track her down, but Geralt of Rivia keeps her protected in the Witcher school Kaer Morhen.
The fourth book, The Time of Contempt, sees the action pick up from the end of the previous novel, and sees the Northern rulers conspiring to lure the Nilfgaard to war.
Meanwhile, Ciri is preparing to study magic at Aretuza, putting her in touch with a range of the most capable and formidable sorceresses present on the Continent.
She soon finds herself fleeing as a fugitive with a group of bandits – the Rats.
Baptism of Fire sees Geralt recovering from the events of the previous book with Dandelion, when the two encounter an elf named Milva, an archer who joins the group.
A favorite figure from the game, ZoltanChivay, also makes an appearance, as does a vampire named Regis and Cahir, a Nilfgaardian knight who feels a debt to Ciri.
This is the point at which Geralt receives his “of Rivia” title.
This novel sees Ciri gravely injured after a run-in with a Nilfgaardian bounty hunter, Leo Bonhart, hired by a coroner named Stefan Skellan.
She is nursed back to strength as Geralt continues to search for her, renouncing his Witcher status.
Meanwhile, the Lodge of Sorceresses tries to take Kovir, and Triss Merrigold makes her appearance, seeking information on Yennefer.
In the penultimate novel, Ciri meets Sir Galahad, an Arthurian knight who sees her as the lady of the lake, and she in turn talks about her time in Aen Elle, the home of the Wild Hunt, and jumps worlds to escape.
In the meantime, Geralt has a dream in which he overhears Skellen, and sets out to rescue Yennefer. She heads closer to a reunion with Geralt and Yennefer but is pursued by Eredin Breacc Glas.
Season of Storms is something of an anomaly, as the events occur in between the short stories of The Last Wish, but the narrative was written at the end of the series, so contains a number of spoilers.
To remain spoiler-free, leave this to the end, but if you are a stickler for the perfect order, slot it in after The Last Wish.
Fans of The Witcher games often turn to the books to get another hit of their Geralt fix, but it is important to note that there are differences between the books and the games.
While they are both set in the same world, the books have been expanded upon considerably. There are many more characters, and the story arcs are longer than what can be covered in a single video game.
The basic premise, main characters, and world-building are the same, however – it is safe to say that the plot of the game was inspired by the books, but is not based directly on them.
When it comes to the TV show, however, fans will find a number of connections, as the show was written and developed based directly on the books, rather than the video games.
Season 1 combines the short stories of The Last Wish, and introduces Ciri’s story from Sword of Destiny. Season 2 picks up where the first season left off, and once again, has a clear connection to the book series.
So, just why should you check out the Witcher books? There are plenty of great reasons, including:
The Witcher books are a great way for Witcher fans to explore the world of Temeria further. They expand on the lore also present in the games and introduce new characters and locations.
For example, we learn more about the elves, dwarves, humans, and other races of the world, and see how these different cultures interact with one another.
If you are a fan of all things Witcher, the books are a great chance to delve deeper into the world.
The books give us insight into the lives of some of the most interesting characters in the Witcher universe. We learn more about Geralt’s past and see him grow as a person.
We learn more about characters like Dandelion and learn more about the people around him, as well as Ciri and other key characters in the series.
The books offer a lot of information about the world of Temeria and its history.
You’ll learn about the origins of the Nilfgaardians, the elves, and the dwarves, and even get to know the Wild Hunt better. It’s a great opportunity to learn more about the world of The Witcher.
In our opinion, the book is essential reading for anyone who is a fan of the Witcher world and is keen to learn and explore more. When you enjoy the Witcher you might also want to give the Inheritance Cycle a try.
If you’re looking to dive deep into the lore of the series, then the books are definitely worth checking out – time to get reading!