The World of the Witcher: Video Game Compendium (英語) ハードカバー – 2015/5/19
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Dive deep into the world of monster hunters, as the prominent characters from the universe take you on a guided tour of the fascinating dark fantasy adventure that is The Witcher. This gorgeous, illustrated hardbound volume contains in-depth knowledge about the locales, the deadly beasts that inhabit them, and the lethal weapons used to put them down.
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The book is presented under the pretext of a compendium providing information about the witcher, Geralt, his adventures, and peripheral information. The compendium is composed by Dandelion, poet and long-time friend of Geralt. He collects works of other authors and statements from main characters to compile an extensive and entertaining historical, biographical, scholarly piece of literature. His voice and character, wit and pomp, are heard throughout the work.
The first chapter is a very broad history of the world, from times before humans inhabited it to the times when humans ruled over it. It provides information about the Northern kingdoms, the empire of Nilfgaard. and other places, as well as political factions and relations. It's apparently from the scholarship of a golden dragon named Villentretenmerth. It's a bit of an annoying and bizarre read because the dragon speaks in first, second, and third person; and has a great disdain or at least cynicism toward humans. Nevertheless, it's a fascinating look at the history of the world and how it came to be as it is at the time of the Wild Hunt.
The second chapter provides information about witchers, their origin, their creation, and the tools of their trade (medallion, blades, signs, etc.). It was narrated by Vesemir, Geralt's mentor and, according to this book, probably the oldest living witcher. This was definitely my favorite chapter: a pleasant and enthralling read. I actually felt as if Vesemir really wrote, hearing his age old wisdom and world weariness.
The third chapter concerns magic and religion.The magic section is perhaps the most intriguing information from the book because it is so well-composed and critically analyzed. The religion section is, well, about religion: the cult of Melitele, the Order of the Flaming Rose, Druids, etc. This chapter is narrated by powerful sorceress and Geralt's long-time lover, Yennefer of Vengerberg. Even more so than Vesemir, I thought a brilliant job was done in convincing the reader that it was her authentic voice - her stern attitude, dry wit, intellect, and intuition. Personally, I don't really like her character as a "person," but I respect her; this chapter smartly captures the essence of the characteristics I respect in her.
Then we arrive at the fourth chapter, a bestiary and brief description of the monsters of the witcher (you know, drowners, wraiths, dragons, trolls, etc.). The guide is pretty good, yes. But my problem is its narrator, none other than the man himself, Geralt of Rivia. This chapter hardly felt as though it were in the voice of Geralt, save for a few references to his adventures and misadventures. To be fair though, it is what Dandelion recorded from conversations with Geralt, so not exactly his writings. But his character is utterly vacant from this chapter, which is a tad disappointing, as he is, you know, the main character. Nevertheless, this does not detract from the chapter as a whole - it's a very interesting read.
The fifth and final chapter is a rapid overview of Geralt's story. It mostly concerns his destiny with that of Ciri, the fabled Child of Destiny and his adoptive daughter. The information seems to be taken from the books as well as all three games in the series. On that note, reading the entirety of this chapter will spoil the ending of the third installment; I myself stopped short of the last page because I've yet to finish the game. The fast-paced nature of this chapter can be confusing to one not oriented with the story, but if you want a broad picture and some colorful detail, this will satiate you. Speaking of colorful, this chapter, most of all, and naturally, captures the voice of its narrator, Dandelion himself: a tender recount of the history of his friends, and an inflated sense of his own importance in the events of the story.
The art throughout the work is beautiful and, more often than not, relevant. However it is clearly not the focus of this book, as a great deal of it is used and reused, pasted here and there. Much of it is stuff you've perhaps seen before from promotional material. Nonetheless, it enhances the narrative and the aesthetics of the guide.
In summary, The World of the Witcher is a fun, fascinating, and informative read. The inclusion of characters as narrators is a treat, but not as well done as it could have been. The art is nice, but not impressive and certainly on-the-budget. If you're interested in Geralt, his story, and his world, I would highly recommend this compendium.
The contents of the book are. 1.Introduction. 2. The World and its Inhabitants. 3. The Witchers. 4. The Magic and Religions of the Continent. 5. The Beasts of the Northern Kingdoms. 6. The Story of Geralt of Rivia.
1. The Introduction is basically 2 pages that talk about how the book is a bunch of info on the World of the Witcher.
2. The World and its Inhabitants is 40 pages and covers the history of the land and goes over the first inhabitants, the arrival of humans, the wars, the geography, and finally the different kingdoms. There is a lot of art to show the different regions and its just beautiful to look at and lets you truly imagine what they are like.
3. The Witchers is 28 pages and goes over what Witchers are, what they do, how they came to be, how they think and act, their training, the silver sword they use, the medallion, and jobs they do for people.
4. The Magic and Religions of the Continent is 34 pages and talks about what magic is, how they use it, the power it has, the types of spells, forbidden magic, and the training to use magic. The religion section talks about the different religions and cults. It goes over the beliefs of each one as well.
5. The Beasts of the Northern Kingdom is 30 pages and covers the different species of monsters and the characteristics of each one. It ranges from vampires, wraiths, werewolves, dragons, griffins, golems, and much more. The art work of each monster is stunning and really helps to get a sense of each monster and just how powerful it is.
6. The final chapter is the Story of Geralt of Rivia and is 42 pages. For those of you who haven't played the previous Witcher games this will help you understand a lot of what is going on. It explains the Witchers relationship to certain people, what his goal is, why monsters are trying to kill him, the politic schemes, and everything else you need to know to fully understand and appreciate the game.
Overall this book is a must get for any Witcher fan. The artwork is amazing and the book covers everything you need to know to fully appreciate the Witcher. I actually have not really played the previous games so I was sort of confused with things, but after reading this I fully understand everything that's going on in the game.
The book was released to coincide with The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt which was out on 18 May 2015 so you can expect a lot of spoilers within. It's best to go through the book after you've finished the game.
By the way, there's actually a dedicated artbook just for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt but that's only available in the collector's edition of the game. The difference is The World of the Witcher covers the game world as a whole.
The text is written from the perspective of Dandelion, friend of witcher Geralt of Rivia. Included are the histories of the wars, empires, people, creatures, religion, cultures and other folklore, and snippets of text supposedly extracted from tomes and diaries of the inhabitants. There is a lot to read, probably half the book is text.
The interior pages are nicely laid out with beautiful artworks and text. There will be at least two pieces of art for every two pages. The artworks are a mixture of concept art and also the high resolution rendered stills of scenes and characters from the game. The environment paintings are really beautiful but most are printed at half page size, which is not too bad. There are also full page and double page art.
Highlight of the book is the folklore and history of the Witcher's world. The beautiful artworks complements the book well.
This book will no doubt be a very satisfying compendium for the fans. And for the price it's selling at, it's a good deal.
Highly recommended to fans of The Witcher.
(See more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)