One of the most popular trends right now is Andrzej Sapkowski’s Witcher. What were once short stories, have now become a phenomenon in the forms of novels, games, movies, and a TV show.
The stories follow Geralt of Rivia, a witcher, a being with special abilities who is destined to fight monsters and protect the people. Interested much? But it is easy to get lost in the story once you realize that some sequels are actually prequels. So how to start?
The best way to start your reading journey is to take up The Last Wish. Even though it was published second, it guides you through the basics. You can always go for the first published book Sword of Destiny if you want to respect the chronological order.
We have created a list along with the explanations with very minor spoilers for you. Keep reading to find out what order you should read the rest of the books and why!
Here is the list of the order we recommend:
- The Last Wish
- Season of Storms (standalone novel)
- Sword of Destiny
- Blood of Elves
- Time of Contempt
- Baptism of Fire
- The Tower of the Swallow
- The Lady of the Lake
Also, we have provided links for every The Witcher book on Amazon for you, if you like to check it out for yourself.
1. The Last Wish
The Last Wish is the second book in the Witcher series. It was published in 1993. it gives you a great background for understanding the character of Geralt of Rivia. Here you will also find explanations on what witchers actually are and what they do.
If you are a fan of Netflix’s adaptation, you should know it was heavily based on this book as well as, partly, on Sword of Destiny. This way you can understand the world of the Witcher a lot more deeply since the show was said to be made for people who already have some knowledge about the story.
If you are a gamer who just loves a good story, The Witcher III: Wild Hunt is the thing for you. This beautiful game was heavily based on the books. So if you played the game – read the books. And if you read the books – give the game a chance.
All the monsters and characters you meet in the game are found in the books, and depending on your choices, you get your personalized ending. So in case you dislike the ending from the books, go and create your own.
For all you romantics out there, The Last Wish gives away a big secret, crucial for understanding Geralt’s love life and his future choices.
You can find the first book in our The Witcher reading order, The Last Wish, here.
2. Season of Storms
Season of Storms is known as the interquel, set between The Last Wish and Sword of Destiny but published in 2013. it is a standalone novel, and many claims it is optional. Witcher fans will enjoy the familiar witty humor and philosophical ideas even if the plot is not crucial to the series.
Whether necessary or not, as long as you are attracted to the series (or the main characters) consider reading it to for additional information and your extra dose of this welcoming world.
The book focuses on action and helps further develop the characters, which is always helpful. It helps the reader gain insight into the lives of the rich and the poor, their opinions of each other, and the witcher. One thing is certain – you will not be bored!
You can find the second book in our The Witcher reading order, Season of Storms, here.
3. Sword of Destiny
The second book on our list was published in 1992 as the first Witcher book.
This is when we first meet Ciri, one of the main characters in the series. Much like The Last Wish, this book is also a collection of short stories describing Geralt’s journey. However, it focuses more on the idea of destiny, so the short stories seem much more connected.
An interesting view on the phenomenon of destiny is not the only thing the author tackles in this book. Geralt’s personal relationships with others, as well as himself, are a very important notion. His inner battle with the meaning of humanity is tested, and his set of rules shows us what he values.
You can find the third book in our The Witcher reading order, Sword of Destiny, here.
4. Blood of Elves
Blood of Elves is technically the first Witcher novel since it is not a collection of short stories like The Last Wish and Sword of Destiny. It was first published in 1994. It was only the second book in the Witcher series to hit the British and American bookstores, the first in what is expected to be a five-part series.
The plot of this novel is more complex, as it encompasses the story of the Empire of Nilfgaard and the Kingdom of Cintra. The characters we follow on this journey are Queen Calanthe, also called The Lioness of Cintra, and Ciri, the mysterious girl whose story is a sad one, but above all – interesting.
Ciri is a character that ties the story together, so it is very important to remain spoiler-free if you want to experience the full potential of the Witcher stories.
This novel allows us to dive deeper into the politics and philosophies within the world of The Witcher, which is undeniably interested and very realistically portrayed.
You can find the fourth book in our The Witcher reading order, Blood of Elves, here.
5. Time of Contempt
Published in 1995, this is the second novel of the saga. It follows the plot of its predecessor. This marks the beginning of Ciri’s and Geralt’s intertwined destiny. It was first released in the UK in 2013.
Geralt of Rivia, Yennefer of Vengerberg, and Ciri remain the main characters of the Witcher novels. Yennefer’s plans for Ciri are threatened since her magic is exposed. Due to the misunderstanding, Ciri is in danger, but this is not the biggest conflict of the novel!
Time of Contempt is a novel in which we truly connect the story and realize the influence one character has on others. Personal relationships, intimate moments, and danger are only some of the things you will love!
You can find the fifth book in our The Witcher reading order, Time of Contempt, here.
6. Baptism of Fire
The third novel of The Witcher series and the sixth book on our list is Baptism of Fire. It was first published in 1996 and has waited for 2014 to be released in the Uk and the US.
It is known that the motto of this novel is a song Brothers in Arms by Dire Straits. Brothers in Arms is also the name of a quest in the game Witcher III: Wild Hunt. The goal of the quest is to collect allies to fight alongside Geralt in Kaer Morhen.
The consequences of the previous novel are explained here: Geralt, who is supposed to protect the people from monsters that live in darkness, is injured and unable to find the strength to fight.
However, he cannot rest for long. Geralt needs to find Ciri who is missing while we follow the brutal war happening at the time. How can Ciri help stop the war and will she be found?
Not only humans are in danger since sorcerers are threatened as well. It seems everyone has their own political agenda and Ciri is key in making their plans come true.
You can find the sixth book in our The Witcher reading order, Baptism of Fire, here.
7. The Tower of the Swallow
Also, The Tower of Swallows in the US was first published in 1997. it is the sixth book and the fourth novel of the Witcher saga. This difference is most likely due to the declinations in Polish. However, the original swallow is in a plural form on its own, but singular in the title.
This symbolic title reminds us of one of the well-known potions Geralt uses in combat.
We hear Ciri’s story we missed out on. In the meantime, Geralt travels to see the druids in hopes of finding Ciri. However, not everyone is happy with his rescue mission.
Vysogota, the old man we meet, is the one telling us Ciri’s story. If you are wondering why read the book!
We are introduced to a prophecy at the same time as Geralt, the prophecy that concerns Ciri and her destiny.
You can find the seventh book in our The Witcher reading order, The Tower of the Swallow, here.
8. The Lady of the Lake
The last novel (for now) was published in 1999 in Poland and 2017 in the UK and the US. It is the fifth novel of the saga and continues the story from The Tower of the Swallow.
Ciri takes us to the Elven world, where time does not exist. It is difficult, almost impossible to leave it. However, Ciri, the child so important the prophecy speaks of her, knows she must be reunited with Geralt.
The fable of the Lady of the Lake is a story within a story, so we learn about the legend as well. We meet new characters and follow their stories, such as the story of Jarre, a monk that joins the army.
We keep following the political situation and learn more about victories and losses. On the other hand, Geralt keeps pursuing Ciri and whenever he gets close, she disappears all over again. But how is the Tower of the Swallow connected to the story and why is it important?
You will have to read the book to find out. Actually, you should read the whole saga. Preferably, in the order, we are proposing.
You can find the eight book in our The Witcher reading order, The Lady of the Lake, here.
There is also The Witcher books collection set of all eight books that you can find here.