- File Size: 2666 KB
- Print Length: 292 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0575082445
- Publisher: Orbit (December 2, 2008)
- Publication Date: December 14, 2008
- Sold by: Hachette Book Group
- Language: English
- ASIN: B0010SIPT4
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #600 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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The Last Wish: Introducing the Witcher Kindle Edition
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• The Last Wish and most of the series were published in the 1990’s
• They spawned from Poland, not the United States or United Kingdom
• Inspired the Witcher game series a decade later (2007-ongoing)
• More to come, the author and series continue
Andrzej Sapkowski’s Geralt of Rivia is a “Witcher,” a superhuman trained to defeat monsters. After hundreds of years killing creatures, there are fewer threats and witchers. Actually there is less hunting monsters than Geralt sleuthing mysterious altercations. Sapkowski’s stories have conflicts that are not lone-Witcher-in-the-wild vs. monster conflict; they are more humans/vs strange forces in which Geralt referees (and usually kills). His investigative methods are a bit rougher than Sherlock Holmes. Each story was as if Conan was dumped into the Grimm's Fairy tales. But all is not grim. Lots of humor present is reminiscent of Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser series. Humans tend to persecute or shun the weird witchers; sustaining future witchers is addressed as the seeds of an apprenticeship are sown.
Geralt has dialogue with antagonists often. Lengthy interrogations are common. This approach allows for funny banter, philosophizing, and entertaining information-dumps. This makes for a fast, entertaining read. Sapkowski stands out as a leading non-English writer. No map, table of contents (TOC), or glossary were featured in the paperback translation. I provide the TOC below. The structure reveals the over-arching narrative of “the Voice of Reason” which attempts to connect all the others. This works pretty well, but is not always smooth. This was designed as an introduction to the series. I was impressed enough to order the Sword of Destiny when I was only half way through. It is not until the third book does a dedicated novel emerge. The series and the games continue to this day with books 7 and 8 awaiting English translation (as of 2016).
The Last Wish Table of Contents
1- Voice of Reason #1
2- The Witcher
3 - Voice of Reason #2
4- A Grain of Truth
5- Voice of Reason #3
6-The Lesser Evil
7-Voice of Reason #4
8-A Question of Price
9-Voice of Reason #5
10-The Edge of The World
11- Voice of Reason #6
12- The Last Wish
11- Voice of Reason #7
Andrzej Sapkowski Blood of Elves saga:
1. The Last Wish; Short Stories 1992 , translated from Polish to English 2007 when the first Witcher Video Game was released
2. Sword of Destiny Short Storeis 1992 translated 2015
3. Blood of Elves 1994 [novels begin] translated 2014
4. The Time of Contempt 1995 translated 2015
5. Baptism of Fire 1996 translated 2016
6. The Tower of Swallows 1997 translated 2016
7. Lady of the Lake (1999…being translated for a 2017 release in US)
8. Season of Storms (Sezon burz) written 2013, set between the short stories in the first book in the series, The Last Wish. English edition TBD
2007 Witcher PC
2011 Witcher 2 (Assassins of Kings) PC, Xbox, Mac OS
2015 Witcher 3 (Wild Hunt), PC, PS4, Xbox
It has those things, but it doesn't come off as very exciting or enchanting. Rather, we see the world through a tired grey lens, where humans are often worse than monsters, and the monsters are rarely evil incarnate. Rather they're more just hungry like animals. And Geralt seems sick and tired of hunting them.
More broadly, the tales in this first anthology are a mix of twists on the old fairy tales, maybe mixed up with Eastern European folklore I'm less familiar with. The twists are mostly deconstructive, yet often end up less dark and gritty than the originals from the Grimms or from Hans Christian Anderson. They're not uproariously funny enough to be parodies, either, though a few elements were worth a chuckle.
So, what does the author do well here? The way he weaves in and out from an overarching story down to the short stories he wants to tell is clever and interesting. The dialogues back and forth between Geralt and the other characters in the world are full of double entendre and puns (albeit some is lost in translation), but really help to build the world and the stories in a far more entertaining way than any of the actions and events that take place within the story itself.
So if your favorite part of fantasy or D&D is the part where you banter with the NPCs about quests and listen to spoony bards weave ballads out of half-truths and grog in the tavern, this series is definitely for you.
I bought this book after playing the wither 3 on ps4. I love the entire story and lore that accompanied the witches universe.
As immersed as I felt while playing the game, the book took me to the next level and I now want to buy the entire series of books.
I am a fan of Andrzej Sapowski's books and you will be too. It also looks really cool on my coffee table when I have guests over.
Top international reviews
I agree with others that call the writing 'disjointed'. It stutters, short sentences that are good for fights but just don't fit with a relaxed dialog. I can't find a rythm in the writing, like those books that just take your breath out and force you to turn pages one after the other. The fights are quite good, but then there other things like rough and heartless sex scenes that make little sense (they would if the rest of the book was different, but as they are they add little). The reason for me to drop it is that the characters are all soulless. The witcher cannot talk straight, and if you take the character names out of the dialogs you don't really know who is talking. It feels like there are just a few characters that just change name and face and appear in different stories... I don't know, I cannot feel anything for them, just not my type of book. On top of it the stories don't seem to have much depth and add little to the witcher character. Perhaps the other 60% of the book is awesome, but after what I have read, I rather invest my time in something else.
In summary, hope you really like it (most reviewers loved it), but just in case take a peek at a chapter before buying it.
The last story in the book deservedly took third place in a magazine competition and sowed the first seed that created a universe. I enjoyed these original stories, discovering Geralt’s origins in pre-game events. (And these stories are echoed in-game.}
The collection is assembled to reflect the chronology of Geralt’s life, although we have yet to learn many things – and I look forward to reading more books. Sapkowski creates a brilliant and exemplary framing structure for these stories that gives them more impact – and adds to the unfolding plotlines that I know develop. (This is a writing technique that I need to learn.)
Some amazing and complex characters are introduced, including the sorceress, Yennefer, whose life is woven into a complicated relationship with Geralt that opens great possibilities. And then there is Dandelion, the bard whose tales and exploits are something else amusingly different. These are origin stories perhaps before the Witcher-universe had fully-formed, but the characters are relatable.
The tales are rooted in heroic deeds – even if Dandelion has a habit of re-telling them differently. The author demonstrates that he has been inspired by folklore. However, while the echoed fairy stories have a germ of truth, this is a grimmer tradition than Grimm, in a cutthroat environment. There are the Slavic monsters that a reader might expect but other mythologies play their part, adding to a rich tapestry.
The world rings with the realism of bloody steel and fangs, the smells of soiled streets and tempting food. The era doesn’t feel not static, even across so few stories. The times are changing and so are the people. Evolving? Maybe not - but sowing many seeds. This is a medieval world of superstition and persecution – and riven by discrimination that resonates today. Witch-burnings are inevitable, and nothing is black-and-white. Not all monsters are obvious or what they seem.
Is my interpretation coloured by exploring the game-world? Perhaps, but these are the roots of the legend that is Geralt of Rivia. I look forward to discovering how the writing evolved, and how the world of The Witcher builds in later stories and novels. This was definitely the place to start on my quest to enjoy how Sapkowski grew from a very good writer into a master craftsman.
Story – five stars
Setting/World-building – five stars
Authenticity – five stars
Characters – five stars
Structure – five stars
Readability – five stars
Editing – five stars
The narrative flows easily, the plots are exciting and the translation from the author's native Polish is excellent. There were however a few instances in which I had to read the odd paragraph again where the sentences were rather awkward, but this in no way distracted from the story.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this introduction to The Witcher, and will definitely be reading more of the books in the series by this very talented, imaginative author.
'The Last Wish' is a good introduction into the world of the Witcher, whether you come at it as the fan of the games or general sci-fi aficionado.
And even if you are neither there is something uniquely true about the human nature, the ever changing world and life in general that can be gleaned from it.
I read it originally as a teenager and in Polish, but years have passed, translations have occurred and the book is still very good.
The last wish is an episodic story telling the tale of geralt and dandelion and they're first meeting with yennifer.
I thoroughly enjoyed it, meeting new characters and monsters and seeing that geralt is more than just a cold blooded killer looking to get paid but thinks and plans for the best outcome for all; a great antihero. I loved his meeting with yennifer and dandelions sarcastic nature.
If you like the game or enjoyed geralt other adventures this is worth your time. If you like fantasy and adventure in an adults world then this is for you. The author has created a wonderfully visceral world with consequences and nuance. I applaud his efforts and can't wait to read book 2
This is a great read with a decent length that moves along at a decent pace. There's a good sense of the mystery and puzzling that goes on in the Witcher games, where often the figuring out of what's going on is more exciting than the bust-ups.
This is a collection of short stories, but there is no inconsistency of character and the whole reads very fluidly expect for one section where there are a number of very short chapters, which personally I wasn't a great fan of. However this is a very small complaint about a very small part of the book and I doubt most will notice.
Overall I really can't find much at all to be negative: this is a great read that kept me enthralled from beginning to end, it conveys the complexity of Geralt and the world neatly, and makes an exceptional companion to the games
This book does not disappoint from the game, the author is amazingly talented the writing is great, very descriptive and builds great scenes with even better dialogue.
The characters in this book are well written and unique, the plot following Geralt (The Witcher) on his captivating life of monster hunting is quite the page-turner.
Overall I think this book is very well written with a great plot and great characters. The author is clearly very talented and I will definitely be purchasing and reading more from this series.
As for the stories themselves, they're all fascinating and new, but familiar (in a good way.) They're satisfying to read, even if it does sometimes feel like they fly by too quickly. The only problem, I think, comes from the translation. On the whole, it's a very good translation, but sometimes there are moments where a word (or even whole sentences) were repeated so often and close to each other it was a little jarring. In the penultimate short alone, the phrase "no one will ever know what..." was repeated four times. It didn't ruin the fun, but it distracted from the story being told.
Overall I was very pleased by the book and I've already bought the next one. I'm looking forward to making my way through them all.
I've played the games and was looking for my Witcher fix after I finished the TV series, so decided to try the book. This is a really good book in its own right, but it gives excellent background to the TV series if there's anything you were unsure about. There were also things that I hadn't known about and I was pleased to discover them.
The book is almost like a collection of short stories with a wider story looping through it. Because of that, it's easy to put down and pick back up again due to the awesome main character. It's rare to find a fantasy book that is so casual and it's not dauntingly massive either. This made for an excellent casual reading experience. If you're looking for your Witcher fix, pick this one up :)
People are quite defensive and annoyed when you bring up sexism in fantasy books, but for those of us who look at things at more than face value, then here are some thoughts on how the author deals with female characters.
In the beginning, I felt that yes, there was quite a lot of sexism - I don't mean BY the characters (which was obviously acceptable in Medieval times), but in how the characters are portrayed. It's very much a case of reading the book from a male heterosexual perspective - constant descriptions about women's 'assets', shirts being ripped open, and most of them there for some kind of sexual purpose. Plus there weren't any admirable female characters. Yennefer who some suggest is a 'strong female' was in my opinion just a self-interested lunatic. That may not be the case later in the stories (if she survives) but in books 1 and 2 she's not likeable at all. Even Queen Calanthe is questionable early on. It's not simply that they are flawed, but they don't have anything particularly nuanced about them.
So why did I keep reading if I found that annoying? Well because I love the genre and these stories were good fun and the stereotypes weren't really limited to women, in fact many of the males are no deeper than characters in fairytales. I thought the translation was brilliant - lot's of wit and fluent dialogue. In fact I wouldn't have known they weren't originally written in the English language. Plus there was intelligent messages in drawing the readers attention to the treatment of different 'races' and how we treat nature.
In terms of the sexism, more interesting female characters are introduced into book 2, and there are more references to them bucking the trend or - even better - their sexuality not being referred to at all. Geralt himself is a pretty decent, open-minded character and reverent towards the women in powerful positions, often more so than the men.
And that's the main reason why the books are so good, because Geralt is a great character, but he's not a cliched 'hero' who turns up to save the day in every story. People in the stories are always trying to figure him out, but very little is revealed of inner thoughts, you build a picture from his actions and words. His infatuation with Yennefer is irritating (but that's because she's irritating in my opinion) though it's part of what makes him multi-dimensional.
So I would recommend these stories if you are a fan of the genre and make allowance for the simplistic nature of the characters early on, as they become more complicated later
The book is split into a number of medium short stories each with a thread linking back to rugs present or the man story. I am wondering is something was lost in translation in this book. I only say that as the flow of the book is a bit different to what I am used to.
A good collection of stories, I am definitely looking forward to the series both in book and on screen. I do hope there is continuity between the book and the on screen series.
I didn't know much about the Witcher series before I went into this book, I knew my brother was obsessed with the games when he was younger (but I'd never played them myself) and I also knew that it was being made into a series by Netflix (which was the main reason I wanted to read it, I mean come on, did you see the pictures of Henry Cavill as Geralt?!). Apart from that, and the fact it was high fantasy, I didn't know what else to expect so I was somewhat surprised when I realised that The Last Wish is actually a collection of short stories rather than a full length novel. I usually find short stories work better as an addition to series I'm already familiar with rather than an introduction to a new world but it was actually pretty well done in this case and allowed us to find out a decent amount about Geralt's background and some of the main characters I assume we'll see throughout the series.
The book starts with Geralt getting injured in a fight, he is taken to a temple to recover and while there he proceeds to recount stories of some of the other monsters he's come across over the years. These stories are interspersed with short updates on his recovery and what is happening in the current timeline. I really liked the huge variety of different monsters that are included, everything from vampires and werewolves through to djinn and gnomes. I loved that we get so many hints of familiar fairytales included in the stories, it makes the world feel familiar and I was always trying to guess what fairytale creature would pop up next.
As a Witcher Geralt has trained both physically and mentally to protect humans from monsters, even going so far as taking a potion that makes him not quite human himself and gives him extra speed, strength and healing abilities. Witchers provide an important service but it isn't always appreciated so he's always a little on the outside looking in no matter how far he travels. I'm really curious to find out more about Geralt but I don't feel like I know him that well yet and that made it a little harder to connect with the story. While there was a lot I enjoyed about the book I don't think I've been fully sucked into this world yet. My friends have assured me that I can start the TV series now though so I'm looking forward to that and I'm hoping I'll enjoy it so much that it'll make me want to continue reading the books.
On one level this is a sword and sorcery novel with lots of bloodshed and mystic signs, on another level it's about the essential meaning of the idea of the witch hunt and gives a quite thought provoking view of monsters and scary mythical beings of both genders.
The book is set as a series of short related tales and I occasionally found the timing difficult to follow - partly due to the sparse writing style - but in the end I think it did add up to a fairly understandable narrative. The ending was rather sudden but I liked the premise and at least it wasn't a cliffhanger!
I'm definitely tempted to read the next in the series and not just to find out what happens next.
As far as reviewing the book; I'm a Patrick Rothfuss and Tolkien fan. Nothing will ever hold a candle to them, not even Rowling, but as far as the Witcher goes, I'll read the series, it's interesting and unique enough to hold my interest. I love that he's taken fairy tales and made them his own. Some of the wording falls a little flat at times, but I put that down to the transition. I may not watch the next series on Netflix, I'll definitely read the books. I expect those who have already read them are not happy with Netflix at all. Gamers probably love it.