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The Last Wish: Introducing the Witcher Paperback – July 18, 2017
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"The universe of Sapkowski's The Witcher is one of the most detailed and best-explored in modern fantasy, offering endless opportunities for fresh ideas ... Complex character relationships enrich this already complex world; this is the sort of series fantasy fans will cherish."―B&N
"One of the best and most interesting fantasy series I've ever read. Though it functions well as adventure fiction, it has added depth and value as satire and commentary on fantasy literature ... Sapkowski is a genuine stylist."―Nerds of a Feather
"Like a complicated magic spell, a Sapkowski novel is a hodgepodge of fantasy, intellectual discourse, and dry humor. Recommended."―Time
"Like Mieville and Gaiman, [Sapkowski] takes the old and makes it new ... fresh take on genre fantasy."―Foundation on The Last Wish
"A breath of fresh air in a well-worn genre. Don't miss it!"― Fantasy Book Review
"Sapkowski has a phenomenal gift for narrative, inventing sensational events, creating a suggestive mood, and building up the suspense along with a dazzling, slightly cynical sense of humor."―Jacek Sieradzki, Polityka on The Last Wish
"Sapkowski's The Last Wish is a great collection of short stories centered around a witcher, Geralt - a rare sorcerous breed who hunts down the monstrous but is feared by the innocent. With a wondrous mix of Eastern European folklore and myth, beautiful princesses, mischievous 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
"It is [his] world-weariness combined with his battle-honed 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
"I really, really enjoyed this book ... None of the characters in Sapkowski's world are black or white; they are all shades of grey, including Geralt and the monsters."―The Deckled Edge
"Sapkowski is very good at creating interesting, imaginative characters with unusual levels of depth to them ... The Last Wish is an enjoyable book full of stories both melancholy and comic."―The Wertzone
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.
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
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• The Last Wish and most of the series were published in the 1990’s
• They spawned from Poland, not the United States or United Kingdom
• Inspired the Witcher game series a decade later (2007-ongoing)
• More to come, the author and series continue
Andrzej Sapkowski’s Geralt of Rivia is a “Witcher,” a superhuman trained to defeat monsters. After hundreds of years killing creatures, there are fewer threats and witchers. Actually there is less hunting monsters than Geralt sleuthing mysterious altercations. Sapkowski’s stories have conflicts that are not lone-Witcher-in-the-wild vs. monster conflict; they are more humans/vs strange forces in which Geralt referees (and usually kills). His investigative methods are a bit rougher than Sherlock Holmes. Each story was as if Conan was dumped into the Grimm's Fairy tales. But all is not grim. Lots of humor present is reminiscent of Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser series. Humans tend to persecute or shun the weird witchers; sustaining future witchers is addressed as the seeds of an apprenticeship are sown.
Geralt has dialogue with antagonists often. Lengthy interrogations are common. This approach allows for funny banter, philosophizing, and entertaining information-dumps. This makes for a fast, entertaining read. Sapkowski stands out as a leading non-English writer. No map, table of contents (TOC), or glossary were featured in the paperback translation. I provide the TOC below. The structure reveals the over-arching narrative of “the Voice of Reason” which attempts to connect all the others. This works pretty well, but is not always smooth. This was designed as an introduction to the series. I was impressed enough to order the Sword of Destiny when I was only half way through. It is not until the third book does a dedicated novel emerge. The series and the games continue to this day with books 7 and 8 awaiting English translation (as of 2016).
The Last Wish Table of Contents
1- Voice of Reason #1
2- The Witcher
3 - Voice of Reason #2
4- A Grain of Truth
5- Voice of Reason #3
6-The Lesser Evil
7-Voice of Reason #4
8-A Question of Price
9-Voice of Reason #5
10-The Edge of The World
11- Voice of Reason #6
12- The Last Wish
11- Voice of Reason #7
Andrzej Sapkowski Blood of Elves saga:
1. The Last Wish; Short Stories 1992 , translated from Polish to English 2007 when the first Witcher Video Game was released
2. Sword of Destiny Short Storeis 1992 translated 2015
3. Blood of Elves 1994 [novels begin] translated 2014
4. The Time of Contempt 1995 translated 2015
5. Baptism of Fire 1996 translated 2016
6. The Tower of Swallows 1997 translated 2016
7. Lady of the Lake (1999…being translated for a 2017 release in US)
8. Season of Storms (Sezon burz) written 2013, set between the short stories in the first book in the series, The Last Wish. English edition TBD
2007 Witcher PC
2011 Witcher 2 (Assassins of Kings) PC, Xbox, Mac OS
2015 Witcher 3 (Wild Hunt), PC, PS4, Xbox
If this were an actual novel, as it seems the publisher tried to make & market it, I'd be giving The Witcher a 3 star rating. That not being the case though, I happily give it four stars. In this collection of short stories, telling the tales of Geralt, the Witcher, the publisher (I presume) did something silly. In fear of the public's reaction to a short story collection, they set one story up to carry the others along, even though not all of the stories have anything to do with the chosen "string along" story. One story is divided up to start the book, carry on between stories, and finish off the book.
It just doesn't fly. Partly because of the aforementioned lack of connection between stories and also because there's no overall message other than Geralt kills by a strict code. You may be fooled into believing you're dealing with a werewolf, but he knows a curse when he sees one. He'll rid you of the monster as he agreed, but you may end up stuck with Uncle Fred brought back to humanity after Geralt lifts the curse, and you still owe the agreed upon fee.
The problem with the short stories is there is only a glimpse given of the walking, talking, not-quite-human ball of emotional damage that is Geralt. I know the series of novels let's the reader see this very clearly, based on their reviews. Unfortunately, the series is only now being translated and published in English from the author's native Polish (by the way, the only issue with the translation is the somewhat stilted, formal tone many of conversations take).
I guess I can wait, but I really don't want to do that. I want more, a lot more, of Geralt's world. I may even go buy the video game based on the books.