Last Updated on December 13, 2022 The Witcher books reading order is pretty important to any lovers of the video games by CD Projekt Red and the TV series with Henry Cavill.
While the Witcher fantasy series of books by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski were published way before the CD Project Red video games were created, 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. The author first published a short story called Wiedzmín in the fantasy magazine Fantastyka.
Thankfully, these days you can get the officially translated Witcher books from Amazon or any other online store. I do have to thank, however, the bold pioneers who did the big fan translations for us to at least enjoy the books for what they were: a further glimpse into the world of our beloved Geralt of Rivia, aka Geralt the Wiedźmin.
To read the Witcher books in order of release and publication for anyone eager to discover the Witcher universe and the world of Geralt of Rivia, see the list below.
Latest Witcher Book
The Witcher Books Reading Order Based on Chronology
- The Last Wish (short story collection), published in Polish in 1993, translated by Danusia Stok in 2007
- Season of Storms, published in Polish in 2013, translated by David French in 2018
- Sword of Destiny (short story collection), published in Polish in 1993, translated by David French in 2015
- Blood of Elves, published in Polish in 1994, English version by Danusia Stok in 2009
- Time of Contempt, published in Polish in 1995, translated by David French in 2013
- Baptism of Fire, published in Polish in 1996, English version by David French in 2014
- The Tower of Swallows, published in Polish in 1997, translated by David French in 2016
- Lady of the Lake), published in Polish in 1999, English version by David French in 2017
The list above will help you to read the Witcher books in chronological order, as they are a bit different from their publication order.
If you want to follow what is aired on Netflix, the two short story collections, Last Wish and Sword of Destiny, should be enough to check out for the first season. The story called, A Grain of Truth, which features in this same collection, sets the beginning of the second season of the Netflix show, with the story of Nivellen.
The Witcher Books in Order of Publication
The best order to read the Witcher books in order of publication, follow the list below.
- The Last Wish (short story collection)
- Sword of Destiny (short story collection)
- Blood of Elves
- Time of Contempt
- Baptism of Fire
- The Tower of Swallows
- Lady of the Lake
- Season of Storms
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 game.
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.
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 video games by CD Project Red.
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 which take place 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 captivating.
Geralt is a bit in a mood this time around, because of 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 in Blood of Elves. The book is slower-paced and the action is, for the most part, missing.
The first two novels 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 novels 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 the 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
Following the rest of the novels, 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), Tower of Swallows 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 when it comes to the actual novels. 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 temperament, 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 supporters have again gotten 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.
The Witcher universe is so big now that it not only includes books, but various other media as well:
A 2001 film and a 2002 TV series, both titled The Hexer, in Polish
The 3 Witcher games
The Witcher TV series – with Henry Cavill. Season 2 of the Witcher TV series has been out for quite some time, and season 3 featuring Henry Cavill is coming in August 2023, so everyone who loves watching the series is curious about the differences between the two and how much the series is covering from the books.
The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf – A Netflix animated film, , on August 23, 2021
The graphic novels and comic books – Between 1993 to 1995, six-issue comic books. Also, Dark Horse Comics announced a comic book series likewise called The Witcher, based on the video-game series and made in collaboration with CD Projekt Red.
Tabletop RPG – published by MAG in 2001
The Road of No Return – rock opera and musical