Monday Matinee — What To Read If You Love The Witcher

Posted January 20, 2020 by stuckint in Features, Monday Matinee / 1 Comment

Toss a coooooin to your Witcher, o’ valley of plenty… o’valley of plenty. OH! Sorry, didn’t see you there. Don’t mind me, over here singing the theme song to The Witcher, which is basically the adult version of Baby Shark, meaning it has been stuck in my head for the last month straight. If you haven’t heard it yet, save yourself and don’t click on that link.

For today’s Monday Matinee we will be discussing the newish Netflix series The Witcher and definitely NOT because we wanted an excuse to share a bunch of GIFs of Henry Cavill looking brooding. The Witcher is based on a popular video game series, which is in turn based on a set of books. So we are bringing things full circle today and suggesting some books you might want to check out if you are loving this show!

So what is this show about?

There have been entire articles based on this question, but in brief our main man Geralt is a mutated monster-hunter, which is an apparently rather unpopular job (probably because of the mutation requirement and shortened lifespan) called a Witcher. It’s episodic in nature, meaning there’s a main story arc, but each episode focuses on a particular adventure — kinda like Law and Order SVU only the monsters are uglier.

Monsters have come to this world because of an event called the Conjunction of Spheres, which basically united a few different planes of reality, so the world of the Witcher is home to everything from werewolves to vampires to faeries to creatures you’ve probably never heard of before unless you live in or around Poland where the author is from.

Also, there’s a lot of smooching, mostly with sorceresses, who can do magic. And can you blame them?

What Should I Read?

Our recommendations kind of depend on what part of the show you like the best! Check them out and let us know if you love any of them!

If you love the epic adventure feel

Try The Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind! This series has a lot in common with The Witcher, from episoidic travel-based adventure to monsters to smooching with sorceresses. It also shares the old school fantasy tone. There are 11 main books and the series is complete, so feel free to binge! Start with Wizard’s First Rule.

Wizard's First Rule (Sword of Truth, #1) by Terry Goodkind
Published by Tor Books on August 15, 1997
Pages: 836

Librarian's note: See alternate cover editions of ISBN 0812548051 here. and here.
Millions of readers the world over have been held spellbound by this valiant tale vividly told.
Now, enter Terry Goodkind's world, the world of the Sword of Truth.
In the aftermath of the brutal murder of his father, a mysterious woman, Kahlan Amnell, appears in Richard Cypher's forest sanctuary seeking help ... and more. His world, his very beliefs, are shattered when ancient debts come due with thundering violence.
In their darkest hour, hunted relentlessly, tormented by treachery and loss, Kahlan calls upon Richard to reach beyond his sword-- to invoke within himself something more noble. Neither knows that the rules of battle have just changed ... or that their time has run out.
This is the beginning. One book. One Rule. Witness the birth of a legend.

If you love the monsters

Try The Winternight Trilogy by Katherine Arden! This series does a great job of introducing us to the same Slavic folklore that is emphasized in The Witcher, though it takes place in our world. Our main character Vasya has to save her world from the resurgence of these monsters that should only exist in folklore. We both love this series and highly recommend it! Start with The Bear and the Nightingale.

The Bear and the Nightingale (Winternight Trilogy, #1) by Katherine Arden
Published by Del Rey Books on January 10, 2017
Pages: 323

At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn't mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse's fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.
After Vasilisa's mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa's new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.
And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa's stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.
As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed—this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse's most frightening tales.

If you love the episodic adventures

Try Second Hand Curses by Drew Hayes! This is an Audible Original audiobook that follows the Bastard Champions as they travel throughout the darker sides of the fairy tales we know and love. Since it’s a mercenary-for-hire story (at least on the surface) this shares a lot of the same travel-around-and-save-the-town-from-monsters themes as The Witcher. Plus, it’s super funny and one of my favorite audiobooks from last year!

Second Hand Curses by Drew Hayes
Published by Independently published on July 17, 2018
Pages: 202

9 hours
When your fairy godmother threatens to enslave you with a curse - when a malevolent piper solves your rat problem but steals your children - when you seek revenge on the prince who turned you into a frog - who can you turn to in your hour of need? The band of scoundrels known far and wide as the Bastard Champions - the swashbuckling trio who travel a world of legend, seeking adventure and righting wrongs - as long as there's enough gold to be earned. They are Jack, the seemingly unkillable leader whose ever-present grin belies a dark past; Marie, who fights with fury but battles more fiercely to control the beast within; and Frank, the master of logistics, whose cloak hides horrific scars that are far more than skin-deep. As they slash and scheme through kingdom and village alike, the Bastard Champions uncover tantalizing clues to their ultimate quarry: the powerful Blue Fairy, who has made each of their lives a living hell.
Second Hand Curses adds a dash of sly wit and a heaping portion of action to the fairy tales you thought you knew.

If you just want more Witcher

We recommend reading the books that started it all! There are a bunch of books in The Witcher series by Andrzej Sapkowski, which all follow Geralt and his adventures. The first book in the series may even make the show more fun to watch as it introduces a lot of the background to the world and the characters.

The Last Wish (The Witcher, #0.5) by Andrzej Sapkowski, Danusia Stok
Published by Orbit on December 14, 2008
Pages: 360

Geralt of Rivia is a witcher. A cunning sorcerer. A merciless assassin. And a cold-blooded killer. His sole purpose: to destroy the monsters that plague the world. But not everything monstrous-looking is evil and not everything fair is good... and in every fairy tale there is a grain of truth.
A collection of short stories introducing Geralt of Rivia, to be followed by the first novel in the actual series, The Blood of Elves. Note that, while The Last Wish was published after The Sword of Destiny, the stories contained in The Last Wish take place first chronologically, and many of the individual stories were published before The Sword of Destiny.

Join Us!

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So, what about you?

Are you loving The Witcher? Have you read any of our recommendations? What do you think we missed? Let us know in the comments!

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