Ben MitchellComment

The Time of Contempt review: Enjoyable no brainer fiction

Ben MitchellComment
The Time of Contempt review: Enjoyable no brainer fiction

While trudging my way through the lengthy Witcher 3 video game (60 hours and counting), I figured now would be a good time to catch up on the backstory from the trilogy of novels preceding the game. 

I had read the first book ‘The Last Wish’ some years ago, but only just picked up the second: ‘The Time Of Contempt’. The series follows the characters Geralt and Ciri through a focused narrative, unlike Andrzej Sapkowski's other short stories. This second book features many of the characters who make an appearance in the Witcher game series, and I found it illuminated many of Geralt's social interactions. There’s Djekstra who you’ll meet for the first time in the Witcher 3, whom is not particularly pleased to see you, but nonetheless gets on with business. In the book you find that Djekstra and Geralt had a rather unpleasant encounter, and uncovering this made Djekstra’s pragmatisms in the video game all the more apparent and perhaps respectable.

The Witcher’s signature ‘grey’ morality is present, with Geralt’s personal choices often amounting to merely different shades of bad. It can at times feel somewhat forced, as if the author has a masochistic streak. What initially seems at odds though, is the often macabre humour of the characters. Despite how terrible this world is, with frequent bouts of injustice, many people take it in their stride and even joke. It’s a unique narrative tone, and ends up complimenting and uplifting the unpleasantness of the world.

Dialogue can be a bit heavy handed, and it seems as if some of what made the books so great in their original Polish is lost in English. To hear Poles talk about it, The Witcher series is their Lord of the Rings. Even if that was to be true in Polish, it certainly isn't in English.

To sum up The Time for Contempt in a word: pulpy. I didn’t expect a masterpiece, so I enjoyed this like one might enjoy a fast food meal; a guilty pleasure.
 
6/10