The Last Wish

Book Review of The Last Wish (The Witcher, #1), by Andrzej Sapkowski

I borrowed a copy of  Andrzej Sapkowski‘s The Last Wish from my local library.

Description from Goodreads:
Geralt of Rivia is a witcher. A cunning sorcerer. A merciless assassin. And a cold-blooded killer. His sole purpose: to destroy the monsters that plague the world. But not everything monstrous-looking is evil and not everything fair is good… and in every fairy tale there is a grain of truth.

A collection of short stories introducing Geralt of Rivia, to be followed by the first novel in the actual series, The Blood of Elves. Note that, while The Last Wish was published after The Sword of Destiny, the stories contained in The Last Wish take place first chronologically, and many of the individual stories were published before The Sword of Destiny.

I have a confession to make. I didn’t really read the description of this book before I read it. I picked it up on a recommendation to read the series and chose this thinking it was the first book. Turns out it is actually a collection of short stories published after the series itself (though set before the timeline). In a sense I’m relieved to discover that, because I didn’t love them and the series is supposed to be so good. It’s a relief to discover that this book isn’t the one I should have been reading to get a real sense of the series. It’s disappointing, of course, that I read it and didn’t love it. But now that I’ve been set straight I’ll read the actual first book.

Now, setting aside my little fumble, lets talk about the stories. I think I’d have liked them a lot more if I had read the series first. I think a lot of what felt vague and shallow to me would have had context. But I did think there was a lot of humor and I liked the character a lot. I was a little annoyed with womens’ apparent habit of falling into his bed with no effort on his part (and their tendency to be villains or faceless/voiceless) and there is some anachronistic language that annoyed me. But all in all, I didn’t love it like I’d expected to but I didn’t hate it either. It’s about what you’d expect from decent early 90s epic fantasy.

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