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The Last Wish: Introducing the Witcher: 1 Mass Market Paperback – 28 April 2020
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Geralt is a Witcher, a man whose magic powers, enhanced by long training and a mysterious elixir, have made him a brilliant fighter and a merciless hunter. Yet he is no ordinary 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.
The Last Wish
Sword of Destiny
Blood of Elves
The Time of Contempt
Baptism of Fire
The Tower of Swallows
Lady of the Lake
Season of Storms
The Tower of Fools
Warriors of God
Translated from original Polish by Danusia Stok
"One of the best and most interesting fantasy series I've ever read."--Nerds of a Feather
"Sapkowski has a confident and rich voice which permeates the prose and remains post-translation. I'd recommend this to any fan of heroic or dark fiction."--SF Book Reviews
Like Mieville and Gaiman, [Sapkowski] takes the old and makes it new ... fresh take on genre fantasy.--Foundation
This is a series you can sink your teeth into.--BuzzFeed News
About the Author
- Publisher : Orbit; Media tie-in edition (28 April 2020)
- Language : English
- Mass Market Paperback : 384 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0316495964
- ISBN-13 : 978-0316495967
- Dimensions : 10.92 x 3.56 x 22.48 cm
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from Australia
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Great characters and narration with good conversational style.
Good stuff. Looking forward to the original series.
I always love to read a series after watching or vice versa, just to see the changes made. Anyway, onward to the next book, sword b&bbof destiny
To me, this book is very interesting and gave me a lot of background information to let me understand more about the game, while showing me the world the Witcher lives in, where monsters are not always monsters whereas humans can be worse than monsters.
I’m not sure if this book would be attractive to someone who’s never heard of Witcher, but I would recommend it to anyone who likes the game of Witcher and still wants to know more about the story, and the famous white wolf.
Top reviews from other countries
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 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 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.
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