Book Review: The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski

I really enjoyed the Netflix series The Witcher which came out last year and sees Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia, a monster hunting warrior in a fantasy world. So, seeing a copy of this book at a decent price I snapped one up and took it with me on my night shifts.

It’s an absolute belter of a book, a collection of stories that slowly reveal more of Geralt and his world.

The connecting structure is that Geralt is holed up at a temple recovering from his wounds and from here we are taken back to some of his earlier exploits. The stories deal with Geralt having to use his skill and cunning to best monsters, scheming rulers and deceitful wizards.

Geralt isn’t just a hired sword and Sapkowski slowly reveals a wry, thoughtful warrior who tries to avoid bloodshed when he can and lives by his own code. He shows compassion for some of the creatures he deals with and an awareness that men can be crueler than the monsters.

Sapkowski’s writing is shot through with humour and effective characterisation, crafting compelling yarns for his hero. I quite liked that as well as drawing on Eastern European folklore and myths, Sapkowski delivers twists on familar fairytales like Beauty and the Beast, Rumplestiltsken and Snow White.

Similar to Game of Thrones this mixes high fantasy with brutal realism in the violence and a lack of romanticism. This serves as a great introduction to the characters and their world and I can’t wait to read more in the series.

While some of the stories are connected, or serve to highlight Geralt’s views and code, it does make the book a tad disjointed in places. But there are no real missteps and it’s extremely entertaining.

Verdict: 8/10.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.

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