The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski, Danusia Stok (translator)
Series: The Witcher #.5
Published: December 14, 2008 (originally 1993)
Rating: ★★★★ 1/2 (4.5 Stars)
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 started this short story collection at the same time as I started the game Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and I felt that it really added to my video game experience. I’m so glad that I decided to pick up this book series because it adds so many layers over the world. A lot of these short stories are twisted and dark takes on classic fairytales which made them even more enjoyable for me because I LOVE a dark retelling.
The backstory of Geralt was something that was so unique and unlike most if not all fantasy stories I’ve read. Geralt is a dark and gritty assassin who has a grey moral compass that makes him all the more likable. There are so many decisions that he has to make in this first collection that have no all-together good or positive outcomes which is rare in a world where the good guy normally wins.
My one complaint is at some points the writing seemed a bit clunky – I believe this is likely because the book was translated from Polish to English and can’t really bring myself to dock a star because of it. I know that the rest of the series has a different translator, so I’m interested to see if the prose flows a bit better.
Now I just need to buckle down and finish the rest of the series before the Netflix adaptation of the books! I definitely recommend this series to any fantasy fans, whether or not you enjoy video games as well.