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The Last Wish: Introducing The Witcher Mass Market Paperback – May 1, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

Review

This beautifully written character-based story from Polish author Adrezej Sapkowski is a refreshing champion in a genre that's starting to get a little homogenic. While there is the occasional nod to traditional European fairy tales (Snow White, among others), much of the application of supertext and tropes are from a new point of view.―THE SPECUSPHERE

It's refreshing to see another take on familiar elements. There's a fairy-tale quality to much of THE LAST WISH.―Jonathan Wright, SFX

It is [his] world-weariness, combined with his battle-boned powers that make Geralt such an interesting character. Here's hoping THE LAST WISH is merely the opening chapter in his English language adventures.―EDGE magazine

Sapkowski's 'The Last Wish' is a great collection of short stories centred around a witcher, Geralt - a rare sorcerous breed who hunts down the monstrous but is feared by the innocent. With a wonderous mix of Eastern European folklore and myth, beautiful princesses, mischievious demons and where all is not as it seems, 'The Last Wish' is a great read - perfect for dipping into or just reading cover to cover, as I did.―WATERSTONES.COM

About the Author

Andrzej Sapkowski was born in 1948 in Poland. He studied economy and business, but the success of his fantasy cycle about the sorcerer Geralt of Rivia turned him into a bestselling writer. He is now one of Poland's most famous and successful authors.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit (May 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316029181
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316029186
  • Product Dimensions: 4.1 x 1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (500 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,800 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

211 of 219 people found the following review helpful By Jerry Marchand on May 26, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
First off, the Product Description does this book a great disservice when it says:
"Geralt de Rivia is a witcher. A cunning sorcerer. A merciless assassin.
And a cold-blooded killer."

Well...he's not a sorcerer...at least not in the sense they mean in the book. He's not an assassin - they actually go through great lengths in the book describing how witchers are not hired killers. And he is by no means a cold-blooded killer. I don't think it's too much a spoiler if I say I can count the number of things Geralt kills in the book on one hand. A witcher, as described in the book, is supposed to save lives rather than take them.

I don't know why the publishers chose this description, but I guess the description "A philosophically-minded warrior confronted with moral ambiguities" would not sell many copies.

Now the review:
This book chronicles the adventures of Geralt of Rivia in a series of loosely tied adventures. A convoluted way to describe his job would be to say he slay monsters, but a better way would be to say he helps people with monster troubles, resorting to violence as a last resort.

The book is written in short story form with a overarching mini-story which acts as a segway between each story.

The book itself, honestly, falls flat for about the first half of the book. I felt quite a bit was either lost in translation or the author was trying too hard to define his character.

The book becomes much, much better once Geralt's foil, named Dandilion, is introduced. I would also say that the very last of the six short stories, named "The Last Wish," is superb and more than enough to warrant a purchase of this book.
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69 of 76 people found the following review helpful By J. Gill on June 17, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Wow. I got this book for my hubby for Father's Day, since he enjoys the PC game based on this book. I was literally in the middle of quite a large fictional novel when I picked up his book, this book, and read a few pages. I was hooked on the main character, Geralt, immediately. I took a wonderful liason from my current book, and the streets of NYC, and went directly into a medieval, magickal world full of monsters and sorcerers. The author is great with his adjectives and after a few sentences you really can imagine for yourself what the author is describing. Also, Sapkowski gives us humor and that humor doesn't encroach into the seriousness of the tone in the entire story. I absolutely LOVE that the author mixed in some of the older faerie tales, old wives tales and even some general well-known stories into the story. This is a quick and amusing read with some ancient 'history' intertwined. I loved this book! I want more! You will too!
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116 of 139 people found the following review helpful By arkham618 on July 22, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I came by The Last Wish via The Witcher video game, and I am quite satisfied with both. As a European, Sapkowski seems not to have been tainted by the triteness and commercialism that has afflicted so much speculative fiction in the U.S. His writing is gritty and dark, like the original fairy tales on which it seems to be based. The protagonist, Geralt of Rivia, is a classic anti-hero--a warrior who has made himself into a monster in order to combat still greater monsters. His task is necessary yet thankless, and he approaches it with the attitude of a hardened mercenary--as just another job. I cannot express how refreshing that is in an era of Tolkien-clones and shallow D&D novelizations, in which every character has some Grand Destiny(TM) and good and evil regularly clash in Titanic Battles for the Fate of the World(TM).
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 25, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book has more emotional depth, and maturity than most in this genre. It ties in a lot of children's stories, Snow White, etc, and provides an adult perspective on them. Stimulating and engrossing. Like Lord of the Rings, it has a dark edge, set in a time where the old world is fast disappearing. One of the best books I have read in a long time.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By S. Gregory Boyd on May 26, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In short, a great read and a welcome break from cookie-cutter fantasy.

I feared that the stories may fall flat in translation, but this is not the case. These short stories compiled into novel form leave no doubt about why this world was adapted into one of the most popular role playing games in recent memory. The world portrayed in the book is deep and layered with blood and shades of gray. There are rarely any real heroes or villains. Everyone has secondary motives. Even the "monsters" have sympathetic qualities, and a recurring theme is that people are far more dangerous than anything mystical.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By M. Bazzy on May 29, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
You probably know by now that Geralt is a Witcher, a monster slayer, and is a typical fantasy fiction hero. If you like fantasy fiction or the PC game The Witcher, the odds are good that you will enjoy this book.

What surprised me upon reading "The Last Wish" were the references to classic fairy tales and their somewhat twisted incorporation into Geralt's world. Stories about Snow White, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Rumplestiltiskin, and others are woven into the tales in a dark and untraditional way. I found this added to the fun and elevated this book above your typical hack and slash fanatasy novel.
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The Last Wish: Introducing The Witcher
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