Overview (No Spoilers):
The Time of Contempt continues to develop a literary world and characters I’ve genuinely enjoyed over the previous four installments of The Witcher series. Well, perhaps I should qualify the previous statement by saying that I’ve had minimal complaints about this series until the latter half of this novel. Three fourths of the way through The Time of Contempt I couldn’t stop reading pacing and overall plot progression had moved forward in leaps and bounds as we were granted unprecedented access to the inner workings of the sorcerers, their politics, schooling, and their home city as they were all gathering for a conference. It was amusing to find many of the wizards that Geralt had interacted with on during his various adventures all coming together in one location, which (as you can imagine) would prove to be ample fodder for some quite amusing conversations. It was during this initial staging that the intrigue revolving around Ciri started to come into focus as the prophesy surrounding her is unveiled.
During the conference through, the story made a sharp deviation from the path that had been anticipated. My issue wasn’t with the plot twist but in its confusing aftermath where the reader is only fed rumors and hearsay regarding the outcome of the battle that was murky at best. Yes, this works to maneuver pawns in play for the next novel, however as a reader it settled as quite unsatisfying. Then, just when the story started to find its rhythm again, the final scenes left such a sour taste that for the first time in The Witcher series I’m not rushing out to start the subsequent novel. Overall, while The Time of Contempt continues to expand this fascinating literary world, Sapkowski essentially scrabbled the board in the last quarter of the novel, leaving the reader to play catch up while grasping at minimal hard facts.
Additional Insight (Spoilers Abound):
- How did the Emperor of Nifgaard know that the young girl posing as Ciri was an imposter?
- How did Ciri escape?
- Where did Yennefer go?
- What happened to the Aretuza School of Magic after the upheaval at the mage conference?
- Why was Geralt so cold to Ciri during their reunion?
- Why did Yennefer bring Ciri to give a vision to the fighting sorcerers?Did Cahir survive?
- Why did the dryads take in Geralt?
- Will the Unicorn return?
- When Ciri revokes her magic is it permanent? Will she no longer be able to access magic?
- The Time of Contempt ended on two very uncomfortable rape scenes that seemed out of place especially Ciri’s attitude the next moring, and really had the book end on a sour note for me.