Monday, July 10, 2017

Season of Storms

I had completely forgotten about the standalone witcher novel, Season of Storms (Sezon burz / Myrskykausi), until I saw its just-published Finnish translation at a local bookstore. The novel originally came out in 2013, which is 14 years after Lady of the Lake. I wonder if The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings in 2012 inspired Andrzej Sapkowski to continue the series.

Season of Storms is not a sequel, however. It is set in between the short stories of The Last Wish -- some time after the titular story, as Yennefer and Geralt have met, but before The Witcher, as the novel ends with Geralt heading to yet solve the striga problem.

Season of Storms is quite similar to the short stories, although it is maybe not as focused -- it includes few loosely related plots. Among other things, Geralt gets hired by wizards to find out who is practicing banned demon summoning. His swords also get stolen.

The novel progresses a whole lot faster than most of the saga's volumes. It does not lack content, thus having no need to prolong things. It was often quite amusing too. Like how the novel starts with four epigraphs, one of them being Nietzsche's famous gazing-into-abyss quote. It is followed by an excerpt from Dandelion's Half a Century of Poetry, where he notes how dumb gazing into an abyss is for there are a lot of more better things to look at.

Like in the other witcher novels I have read in Finnish, there were a bunch of words I did not know. Admittedly a lot of them were involved in some now-less-common profession, like making charcoal. But it sure must have taken some effort for Tapani Kärkkäinen to accurately translate all that from Polish.

The use of latin phrases also continues. That is one thing the witcher games did not do. It would have been really cool if they had, though -- a nice way to learn some fancy phrases.

I learned couple English bird names, too. It is weird how I do not recognize more uncommon birds names as such -- golden oriole, for instance, after which one of the witcher potions is named. I recognized the potion by its description but I had no idea previously it is the English name for kuhankeittäjä.

I probably would not have translated the name of the novel's grandmaster wizard, though. Peltosirkku (ortolan in English, no idea of Polish) sounds ridiculous as a human name. It is like if Dandelion's Polish name, Jaskier, had been translated literally to Leinikki (Buttercup) instead of a similar flower. I wonder if the names sound as silly in Polish.

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