Review: The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski

40603587._SX318_ Geralt of Rivia is a witcher. A cunning sorcerer. A merciless assassin. And a cold-blooded killer. His sole purpose: to destroy the monsters that plague the world. But not everything monstrous-looking is evil and not everything fair is good… and in every fairy tale there is a grain of truth.

A collection of short stories introducing Geralt of Rivia, to be followed by the first novel in the actual series, The Blood of Elves. Note that, while The Last Wish was published after The Sword of Destiny, the stories contained in The Last Wish take place first chronologically, and many of the individual stories were published before The Sword of Destiny.

I knew very little about The Witcher series before I read this collection of short stories.  Basically, I knew my husband loved the video games and that Netflix was producing a series starring Henry Cavill.  Yeah, I’m shallow, but Henry’s the reason I picked up this book.  Have to say, I’m not sorry.  So much so that I bought all the rest.  Hahaha.

Fantasy is a favorite genre of mine but I haven’t read much over the last couple years for a variety of reasons.  So, I was really happy to get back into it with this novel.  I think it helped that it was broken up into seven shorter stories so I didn’t have to use all of my brain at one time lke I usually do with fantasy books.

“Don’t worry. There’s no shame in fear.”

Each story introduces you to new characters as well as new areas of the world that Geralt lives in.  In addition, you get to know the Witcher himself more and more as you go along.  You get to see what kind of a complicated character he is and how he’s neither good nor evil, but whatever he needs to be in the moment.  What suprised me the most was how much humor was laced throughout the stories.  In one, Geralt is discussing being killed during his mission as ‘having an accident at work’.

I’m anxious to get into the next in this series, one I believe is another set of short stories.  I’ll leave you with a bit of Geralt’s wisdom.

“People”—Geralt turned his head—“like to invent monsters and monstrosities. Then they seem less monstrous themselves. When they get blind-drunk, cheat, steal, beat their wives, starve an old woman, when they kill a trapped fox with an axe or riddle the last existing unicorn with arrows, they like to think that the Bane entering cottages at daybreak is more monstrous than they are. They feel better then. They find it easier to live.”

It’s always nice when fiction can slap you upside the head with the cold, hard facts of life.

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