A review: The Last Wish – Andrzej Sapkowski

This book and the series as a whole has been on my radar for a while, my boyfriend is a big fan of the video games series ‘The Witcher’ that have been based on these books. He recommended that I read the series as a big fan of fantasy and as I enjoyed these games myself.
However, not all the series is available in English yet, having been translated from its native language of Polish.

The Last Wish is a collection of short stories following the Witcher; Geralt of Rivia. These are all set before the first true novel of the series Blood of Elves and help broaden your knowledge of his adventures and the lore of the series.

The Last Wish, follows Geralt of Rivia, a Witcher with pure white hair and amber eyes. We learn throughout the book and series that Witchers possess certain powers and abilities. Their combat skills are impressive and they can create signs – each meaning a different form of power. We are barely introduced to Geralt nor are we really told what we can do, although various sources say that you should read this book first, I do believe Blood of Elves should be read first, especially if you have no prior knowledge. As then you are properly introduced to the world, the lore and the characters with more depth – unlike in this set of short stories, where you are just thrust into the world.

Thankfully, I had prior knowledge to get me through. I enjoyed this book thoroughly, though perhaps that was because I already had prior attachments to the characters we see. Having already encountered and rooted for our protagonist; Geralt – I was always hoping he succeeded. However, without an already in place bias, I can see how he could be seen as grating as you are never given any real insight within these stories to his motives or his character as a whole. He more often than not comes off as a bit of jerk – sarcasm his usual form of reply when he’s not being blunt.
The characters we meet along the way, however, are given just enough background that we know if we’re supposed to root for them, or against them – we are given just enough characteristics within the dialogue that we can make our own, actually informed decision.

My favourite part of these stories would be the world that we explore with Geralt. It is incredibly detailed and each area we encountered, I could imagine clearly. The towns he visited and the nature he saw – I could picture it all.
Also, the various monsters we meet along the way – there are so many different types that we encounter in just these stories alone. Some exist in other fantasy / supernatural novels, some that may have been created purely for this series. Although we aren’t given too much information, it definitely leaves you wanting more, and therefore wanting to read the rest of the books.

I have two main issues with this book – firstly, this is the first book I’ve read that has been translated from it’s native language to English – and I feel it lost something along the way. Some of the sentences feel rather blocky, and that some of the sentences lost their flow through the translation. This is not anyone’s fault it’s just how some of the book read to me.
Secondly, it all felt a bit rushed – although a lot is fit into these stories and once you follow the journey of Geralt they all slip into place, for those unacquainted with his story and even those that are – it felt like it left out some vital information in some points. Although that may be because I already know the basics and therefore feel a tad shortchanged.

I will definitely be continuing with this series, although I had problems with it, I definitely enjoyed myself and I am eager to learn more about the lore and to delve deeper in the journey of Geralt. Have you read this series or played The Witcher – what are your thoughts? Let me know!





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