The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski (Witcher #0.5) Book Review

Sunday, 19 January 2020

I mentioned in my Books I Want to Read in 2020 post that I want to make a start on The Witcher series by Andrzej Sapkowski after watching - and absolutely devouring - Neflix's TV adaptation. It didn't take me long to crack on with the first book, and I had high expectations after doing a little research which taught me that Sapkowski has sold over 15 million copies of these books and has sold more books than Stephen King in his home county of Poland.

High, high expectations indeed.

Because I did some research beforehand, I went into the book knowing that the first book is a selection of short stories based around Geralt of Rivia, a legendary monster hunter who lives on the land of the Continent, where dwarves, elves, monsters and humans exist amongst magic and spells.

Despite the fact that there was no structural storyline and the book is translated from Polish to English, the book flowed effortlessly and you get a real grip of Geralt on his travels and the monstrous situations he finds himself in. Geralt himself is a pretty opaque character. Witchers are rumoured to be emotionless fighting machines in human  form and whilst we come to realise throughout these short stories that perhaps that's not always the case, it's easy to see why people on the Continent would think such a way about Witchers - they're efficient, stern and to the point.

After having read House of Salt & Sorrows a few months back, I was keen to read more fairytail retellings, and this book definitely certainly touches on that, which gives this book a refreshing vibe; the writing style has a strong ambience and Geralt is an entertaining character throughout these short stories. Don't be fooled with the term "fairytail" though. Think less cutesy Disney and more slaughterish & bloody and then you're on the right track.

Comparing the book to TV show adaptation, I think Netflix really pulled this one out of the bag, and if, like me, you enjoyed the 8-episode TV adaptation but had watched it before reading the books, I highly recommend picking a copy of the first book up. Not only does the book cover more aspects of Geralt's travels (I mean, Netflix did great but let's face it, they can't cover everything), but the book also explains some of the stuff seen in the TV show that isn't thoroughly explored, such as the elixirs and the silver swords used by Geralt.

I really enjoyed this book, and I've already picked up the second book in this series, Sword of Destiny. If you like the fantasy genre that has a classic yet modern feel, then I strongly recommend picking this up, and even if you don't have much interest in the TV show, this book is entertaining in its own right and one that I do highly suggest giving a go.

Verdict: ★★★★★

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