In the second collection of short stories that start the Witcher saga, Sword of Destiny helps to further broaden the setting and characters that would eventually be used in Blood of Elves . Following somewhat chronologically and expanding upon ideas first covered in The Last Wish , this collection continues to flesh out characters like Geralt and Yennifer while also introducing characters like Ciri. While they're fine stories by themselves, they pale in comparison to long-form novels like Blood of Elves, mainly because of their episodic nature.
I applaud author Andrzej Sapkowski for using these short stories to introduce the world-building of the Witcher series. While some writers might just make character sheets for their characters, he actually puts them in interesting situations to see what they would do. From a writing standpoint, I'd recommend this method of concept development as it gives certain edge cases or rarer character interactions to see where the limits of the characters lie. After all, figuring out what works in short form helps the longer pieces feel grounded. It helps when there are such strong characters to work with, though.
My only qualm with this collection was that nothing was particularly memorable. Sure, if I had read this before Blood of Elves, I might feel differently. As it is, I already know how Geralt handles himself, what drives Yennifer, and how Ciri has more going for her than even she knows. Since I'm writing this review many months later, I had to remind myself what even happened in it. Some stories in this book were covered in the first season of the Netflix adaptation, which made remembering them easier. Still, it's a solid collection and should be required reading for anyone who wants to get into the Witcher series.
Another great, but hardly memorable, collection of short stories, I give Sword of Destiny 3.5 stars out of 5.