The Last Wish (The Witcher #0.5 by Andrzej Sapkowski – translated by Danusia Stok

Yep. I read the Netflix cover edition. And yes, I feel dirty for it.


Introducing Geralt the Witcher – revered and hated – who holds the line against the monsters plaguing humanity in the bestselling series that inspired the Witcher video games and a major Netflix show.

Geralt of Rivia is a Witcher, a man whose magic powers and lifelong training have made him a brilliant fighter and a merciless assassin.

Yet he is no ordinary killer: he hunts the vile fiends that ravage the land and attack the innocent.

But not everything monstrous-looking is evil; not everything fair is good . . . and in every fairy tale there is a grain of truth.

Andrzej Sapkowski, winner of the World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement award, started an international phenomenon with his Witcher series. The Last Wish is the perfect introduction to this one-of-a-kind fantasy world.

I’m late to the party with this one – having already watched the full first series on Netflix and watched my husband play Witcher 3 (it’s so much fun to watch!), so I was curious how the adaptations measured up to the original.

My first observations are that the Netflix series played it really close to the source material! Though the bouncy timeline is much easier to follow in the book than it is in the series given that nobody ages… Geralt is recovering from his battle with a striga and is remembering some of his past, which is laid out like a series of short stories surrounding the main storyline.

The book is in the passive voice so we don’t get any sense of Geralt’s (the Witcher) personality beyond pragmatic and fiercely loyal, so more of the same in that area. But you still have to love the guy for having morals about killing innocent creatures and not getting involved in politics even if his moral code is generally quite murky. I was expecting the book to be a little hard going because of the third person, but it really wasn’t – it has an old timey feel to it but is surprisingly easy to read.

The fairytale inspiration is more apparent in the book than it was in the series – an evil stepmother tries to kill her stepdaughter with a poisoned apple, a prince searches for his dance partner using her lost shoe, a beast man falls in love with beautiful women… that kind of thing. I love these touches along with the slow world building the author applies, which makes me feel like all the best is yet to come!

It’s enough to keep me hanging on for at least one more book to see if I’m right, but without the promise of any character development for our cranky old bastard of a hero, there’s a limit to how much time I’ll dedicate to the cause.

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