The Witcher books reading order is pretty important to any lovers of the series of PC games by CD Projekt Red.
While the books by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski have been published way before the games were created and became popular, I would venture to guess that at least 80% of the non-Polish people who came across the books have done so after first playing the game, or at least after reading about it (and yes, I am one of those as well).
I liked the first Witcher game and enjoyed even more the second game, and the third one became a real home run for me. It was while playing The Witcher 3 that I came across the first (badly) English translated Witcher books from Polish.
Back in the day, there were no official translations of the books, and the only ones you could find online were fan-created with some horrible grammatical mistakes.
Thankfully, these days you can get the officially translated Witcher books from Amazon or any other online stores. I do have to thank, however, the bold pioneers who did the big translation jobs for us to at least enjoy the books for what they were: a further glimpse into the world of our beloved Geralt the Wiedźmin.
Here are all the Witcher books in order of release and publication for anyone who is eager to discover the Witcher universe. It is a world worth knowing.
New Witcher Book
The Witcher Books in Order of Reading
- The Last Wish (short story collection), published in Polish in 1993, translated in 2007
- Season of Storms (The Witcher #1), published in Polish in 2013, translated in 2018
- Sword of Destiny (short story collection), published in Polish in 1993, translated in 2015
- Blood of Elves (The Witcher #2), published in Polish in 1994, translated in 2009
- Time of Contempt (The Witcher #3), published in Polish in 1995, translated in 2013
- Baptism of Fire (The Witcher #4), published in Polish in 1996, translated in 2014
- The Tower of Swallows (The Witcher #5), published in Polish in 1997, translated in 2016
- Lady of the Lake (The Witcher #6), published in Polish in 1999, translated in 2017
The list above will help you to read the Witcher books in chronological order, as it is a bit different from its publication order.
Basically, Season of Storms, the very last published book comes in between two stories within The Last Wish short story collection. Technically it comes after most stories in the collection but before The Witcher short story.
So what you could actually do is read most short stories in The Last Wish, and when you come across the story The Witcher, put that book down, pick up Season of Storms, and once you finished that, pick up The Witcher story right after.
Next, you can go ahead with the stories in the Sword of Destiny.
The Witcher Books in Publication Order
To read the Witcher books in publication order, follow the list below.
- The Last Wish (short story collection)
- Sword of Destiny (short story collection)
- Blood of Elves (The Witcher #1)
- Time of Contempt (The Witcher #2)
- Baptism of Fire (The Witcher #3)
- The Tower of Swallows (The Witcher #4)
- Lady of the Lake (The Witcher #5)
- Season of Storms (The Witcher #6)
What about Something Ends, Something Begins?
Coś się kończy, coś się zaczyna is the Polish title of this particular collection of 8 short stories. It was originally published in 2000, and expanded upon in 2012 to add some new stories and change its title.
This collection is not crucial to the Witcher series. If you are the person who wants to read everything Witcher related, you can find unofficial translations of in on the net. It is not yet, sadly, officially translated.
The short story titled A Road With No Return tells the story of Geralt’s parents, Visenna and Korin. It is not directly related to the Witcher storyline.
In The Last Wish, Geralt briefly meets Visenna, so based on this short encounter, some readers might be interested to learn more about her past.
The story Something Ends, Something Begins, which the title of the anthology is taken from, is probably one of the best in that book. It also directly involves Geralt and Yennefer, featuring their marriage.
This story is non-canon, meaning it is not directly part of the story. It is said that the author wrote this story as a wedding gift to some friends who were getting married.
So if you can find the translated anthology online, it is worth downloading it (it’s not illegal, the translation is made by fans since there are no official translations of it as of yet) and reading Something Ends, Something Begins. It is truly an unforgettable and funny story.
When the anthology will be officially translated, I will add a link above to it as well. As usual, the official translation will be much better, but until then, unless you know Polish, you’ll have to do with the fan-translated piece.
The Last Wish
The Last Wish was the very first book I have read in the Witcher series, soon after I started playing Witcher 3. I had previously played the first two Witcher games as well, and while Witcher 1 was really not to my liking (too clunky mouse movements and clicks), this particular books made me see the whole story with different eyes and got me to replay it once again.
This collection of short stories is probably my favorite one in the entire series. It has a lot of action, a lot of Geralt, and a lot of monsters. Which is pretty much what the games are about as well (ok, ok, there is romance with Yennefer as well).
The author, Andrzej Sapkowski, introduces the reader to a wonderful European-style mythical world focused on Slavic mythology. The setting is Eastern European, and while some of the beings featured in the story collection are distinct Slavic, others come from all around Eastern Europe, including Romania.
For example, the striga, one of the creatures in the book, comes from strigoi, which is a Romanian vampire legend (and no, it is not Dracula).
In this book, we meet many of the Witcher characters that we got to love from the game series, and some new ones as well. Throughout all this, do remember that chronologically, the first Witcher game starts after the last book ended. Some might even go as far as say to first read the books and then start playing the games.
The stories included are titled The Voice of Reason, The Witcher, A Grain of Truth, The Lesser Evil, A Question of Price, The Edge of the World, and, finally, The Last Wish.
Sword of Destiny
Sword of Destiny is the second collection of short stories before the main book series starts. It should be read after The Last Wish. This book is almost as action-packed as the first anthology, and the stories are just as capticating.
Geralt is a bit in a mood this time around, because Yennefer.
There are slightly fewer beasts to slay in this book, and more brooding Geralt doing broody things. He’s madly in love with Yennefer, but he’s also suffering deeply. This book is a must read as well.
Blood of Elves
Blood of Elves is the first main book in the Geralt the Witcher book series. As I’ve noticed while reading it, the book slightly departed from what we were used to in the first two anthologies.
There is much more politics and war involved and fewer demons to slay. The book is slower-paced and the action is, for the most part, missing.
The first two books were mostly told from Geralt’s point of view. This book, however, includes several POVs and Geralt is hardly in the book at all.
However, as a Witcher enthusiast, of course, you will pick it up to read it anyway. Afterall, there are five more books awaiting with plenty of Geralt in them.
Time of Contempt
Time of Contempt, the second full-length Witcher book, is more of the slow-paced storyline that you’ve already found in Sword of Destiny.
It is a direct continuation of where the previous book left off. Here Geralt the Witcher is featured more than in the previous book. We also see more of Yennefer and Ciri. There is, in fact, quite a lot about Ciri, one of my favorite characters in the series. She has some magical powers that she can and does definitely use.
This book has, once again, a lot of political intrigues, which is so very different from the first two short-story collections, but we’ve gotten used to in the first Witcher book.
Baptism of Fire
Baptism of Fire continues Geralt’s saga. He is now recovering from the severe injuries inflicted on him in Time of Contempt. Still, after some news he’s getting, he has to hid the road, no matter what.
He needs to get to Nifflegard, and on the road, he picks up quite the diverse set of companions.
I have to admit that in this book, Geralt was slightly brooding and boring. Some of his fellow travelers, however, really stole the show. We meet here Zoltan, Milva, and Regis, each with their own very interesting story and secret to hide.
My favorite character of this book: It’s gotta be Regis.
The Tower of Swallows
The Tower of Swallows picks up once again right where Baptism of Fire ended, and here the action picks up more. Ciri is, once again, the star of this book. She is on the road with “The Rats,” but something happens that she is split from the group and ends up recovering at the house of a hermit.
At the same time, we get Geralt’s point of view again, who is searching for Ciri.
If you do enjoy Ciri’s character (from the previous books or the Witcher 3 game), this book will be probably one of your most favorite of the entire series.
Lady of the Lake
Lady of the Lake is technically the last book in the Witcher series. Some say the book is very different from the previous ones. Ciri is again one of the important characters featured, and her story takes her to a very different place than where Geralt is.
One might say to an entirely different time as well…
There is one point worth mentioning here. The ending – without spoiling anything major – is bitter-sweet, and depending on your character, you might feel a few stray tears falling down your cheeks by the time you’re through with the story.
After The Last Wish, Lady of the Lake is probably my second favorite book in the entire series. It is different and truly awesome. Sadly, probably because it is so very different, it has recently a ton of negative ratings on Goodreads. However, for me this book worked quite well.
Season of Storms
Andrzej Sapkowski wrote Season of Storms several years after he finished the Witcher series. While it is a full-length book, it takes place just after Last Wish and before A Matter of Price (both short stories in The Last Wish collection).
This book reverts somewhat to the format of the two initial anthologies in that there is more action involved and less politics and drama.
Here Geralt is, once again, featured as the main character in the book. The reason why you should read it between the two short stories mentioned above is that it literally takes place right after The Last Wish ended. Geralt has left Yennefer, is on his own, and he’s trying to find his place in the world. So on some new adventures he goes.
Since the Witcher book series has long ended, readers wanted to be thrown once again into the Witcher universe. With this new book – although not a sequel, the long-time fans have gotten once again a taste of Geralt and his adventures.
Yennefer does enter this book as well, but she’s more a character working in the shadow than a real protagonist. After all, this IS Geralt’s story.
Praise for The Witcher
Books Reading Order » Series » The Witcher by Andrzej Sapkowski
Sapkowski has a phenomenal gift for narrative, inventing sensational events, creating a suggestive mood, and building up the suspense along with a dazzling, slightly cynical sense of humor (Jacek Sieradzki)
Sapkowski is a genuine stylist. (Nerds of a Feather)
Sapkowski is very good at creating interesting, imaginative characters with unusual levels of depth to them … The Last Wish is an enjoyable book full of stories both melancholy and comic. (The Wertzone)
The universe of Sapkowski’s The Witcher is one of the most detailed and best-explored in modern fantasy, offering endless opportunities for fresh ideas (B&N)
This beautifully written character-based story from Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski … a refreshing champion (The Specusphere)