The Tower of Fools by Andrzej Sapkowski

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31 comments

  • I have to say, no reviews of any of Sapkowski’s books have tempted me even a tiny bit to read them. I’ll go so far as to say that without the push from the videogames, he’d be a local nobody author that the world would never have heard of.

    This sounds like a darker, more modern take on Katherine Kurtz’ Deryni series. I read a couple of those and the “magic lite” side of things just didn’t work for me. If an author is going to have magic in their world, let’s have some Gandalf level of magic please 🙂

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    • I think the video games really catapulted his books to stardom and the recent Netflix TV series with Cavill helped the books even more than ever. While I still plan on reading it someday to finally see why it’s so popular, I can at least say that the Hussite trilogy probably doesn’t have the same charisma with what I’ve seen this book offer. Very rare magic lite fantasy stories work too well for me but if they do, I think they’re usually much more shorter or stand-alone too.

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  • “name drops far too many characters for readers to ever truly immerse themselves in the story”…I really don’t like novels that do that. I also don’t like the overall sound of this book to be honest, while reading your post. I don’t mind historical context one bit, but when mixed with a lot of other elements that haven’t been incorporated into a story in a good way, this certainly doesn’t sound like my cup of tea. Either way, as always, I did really enjoy your extensive review. And…it’s nice to for a change not add anything new to my to read list! 😜😀

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      • Lol😂😂😂 I was thinking about that too, but for some weird reason, with Warhammer 40K it doesn’t bother me so much. Don’t know why that is….but that’s the (very rare) exception!😂😂

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    • I’ve always found those name-drop-heavy books hard to enjoy as much as other series too! Like you, there are rare exceptions, but for them to work, I’d have to actually KNOW who all those characters are or something. 😮 I did feel like The Tower of Fools had too much going on without giving anything the time to help to. I do wonder if the sequel can do better now that this one has set the world and all, but I’m in no hurry, for now, to jump now hahah Thanks for reading, Michel! I appreciate it a lot! 😀

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      • I don’t know if you ever read the Silmarallion by Tolkien, but I quit reading that after 100 pages. There were so many names that it actually contained a huge appendix that covered all those names. It was crazy! 😂😂
        But true, I’m not a huge fan of that either…with the occasional rare exception 😊

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        • I haven’t as I’m still working my way through finally reading the LotR trilogy (still need to make time for book 2 and 3 now) but I look forward to everything the man has written. That one does sound like a huge challenge compared to The Hobbit or his trilogy though hahaha I look forward to discovering that appendix! 😛

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  • The world mixed with history, fantasy and politics filled with adventure and action, interesting! I agree too many characters can be distracting and makes the book a little slow. I will try The Witcher first and then I’ll think about this. Wonderful review!

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    • Yep! It has so much going on while keeping the magic in the background. It’s fun but there are things that are bound to bother some readers who probably wouldn’t have expected those things especially. I think The Witcher is definitely a better place to begin with if you want to see what this author has to offer though. Thanks for reading, Yesha! 😀

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  • Ha damn that’s a flop then! And we can’t blame the translator for all that you found there. Morale: never bed a taken woman 😉

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  • Ill be reading Whitcher first before I think about this one. I have had a problem in the past with some things getting a bit lost in translation especially with his work. Great review non the less bro!

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  • Though this one doesn’t sound like something I’m in any hurry to try I would still like to try his Witcher stories, see if I enjoy those. Would you say the focus of this book seemed more world building and less character development? I’m sometimes ok with that but it’s much easier for me to enjoy a book if there are characters to become invested in, and not so many I get lost trying to keep track of them. I’m ok with the light-fantasy element. In fact, I was just thinking about a book (The Throne of the Five Winds) whose sequel I’m looking forward to, and I don’t recall whether it had any noticeable magic at all. Add to that it was far more a political and court intrigue sort of story, which I don’t usually get into as much. And yet I really enjoyed it. Anyway, sorry this one didn’t work as well as it could have. Perhaps the sequel, if you read it, will work better.

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    • I think it’s better to start with Witcher books, especially with how much that series expanded over the years thanks to comics, video games, and now TV series! I definitely think this one looked to focus on the world-building more than the characters. There’s still enough of the latter but only enough to allow the group dynamics to build throughout this adventure. I think I have a digital copy of Thr Throne of the Five Winds and that I actually picked it up because I saw that you enjoyed it hahahaha I think light fantasy is tricky but if done right, I can definitely appreciate it a lot too. I am curious to see if the sequel will do better or if it’ll just be more of the same. Thanks for reading, Todd. Always really appreciate your comments, my good friend. 😀

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      • If you end up reading Throne of the Five Winds I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. It was a bit of a slow build with little of the typical fantasy elements other than new interesting cultures. And it didn’t focus all that much on world building, instead on the politics of the cultures and character development. It was the characters that drew me in. I felt like I was really getting to know many of them.

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  • Ahhh….fantasy but not really fantasy…What a shame that there weren’t any chance for the reader to ’embrace the magical elements’ due to its poor development 😦 Honestly, that would’ve turn me off! What a great, balanced review, Lashaan!

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    • I would’ve really liked to see more of its background magic elements shine throughout the story more but this had more focus on the historical fiction elements than anything else! Thank you so much for reading, Jee! I appreciate it. 😀

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  • Don’t put your hopes up, Lashaan! 😂😂😂 The sequels are better than the first installment, but not by much – the Hussite Trilogy sadly cannot compare to Witcher (and to be clear, I hated The Lady of the Lake 🤣)

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    • Good thing I didn’t let this one deter my interest in the Witcher series though. And now you’ve got me all intrigued about The Lady of the Lake hahahahah For the time being, I’ll mostly rely my hype for the series on your dual post with Piotrek back in the day. 😀

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  • Very interesting review, I didn’t know it’s been translated. Personally, I did not like it, not after reading and immensely enjoying the Witcher Saga. I did not mind the name-dropping, as it’s a period of history I’m rather familiar with, so that actually was a bonus, but overall I was tired after reading the first volume and never got any further in this trilogy. Sapkowski is a history nerd, loves Latin and heraldry, and here he let go a bit too much.
    Although I have to say I have a friend with lit degree who claims this is Sapkowski’s masterpiece, and it’s likely another novel hard to translate into English – this is an author who mastered the intricacies of our difficult language and writes in a way that is more difficult to translate than novels of some of his younger colleagues would be.

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    • I can soooo imagine this pleasing a history nerd. I think name-dropping this much works best for people who actually know who the people are because, I, for one, clearly don’t know as much as Sapkowski wishes I did for this one to really appreciate what he tried to achieve here hahah Thanks for the insight on the translation struggle though. It does indeed sound interesting in Polish though. I imagine the Witcher saga doesn’t suffer too much from translation problems if it was able to capture the hearts of many English readers over the past years though! 😮 Thanks for reading, Piotrek! I appreciate it!

      P.S. There was a character in that book with a name so similar to yours, I couldn’t stop imagining it was you hahaha (Piotr).

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  • Very interesting review Lashaan! I always find it quite interesting to read reviews about translated books, as a “bad” translation can definitely influence (negatively or positively) the reading experience. For this one however I feel like it might not entirely be about it, and I have to say that some of the things you picked up also tend to annoy me sometimes when I read a book! Have you read the Witcher series? I would be curious to know how they compare! 😊

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    • Thanks, Juliette! I’m always wary about translated books for various reasons, especially that fear of an author’s writing style not having the same impact once translated. This one isn’t the worse of those out there but it didn’t help that it was fundamentally veeeeery historical fiction ahhaha I haven’t read the Witcher books but I have read comics and whatnot from the franchise hahaha I’ll definitely pick the Witcher saga in the near future though! Thanks for reading as always! 😁

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