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The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski
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The Last Wish (original 1993; edition 2008)

by Andrzej Sapkowski

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1,402565,404 (3.94)67
Member:jgaiser
Title:The Last Wish
Authors:Andrzej Sapkowski
Info:Gollancz (2008), Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Your library, Ebook
Rating:****
Tags:Fiction, Fantasy, Witcher

Work details

The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski (1993)

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» See also 67 mentions

English (45)  Finnish (3)  German (3)  Spanish (2)  Polish (1)  French (1)  Dutch (1)  All (56)
Showing 1-5 of 45 (next | show all)
Great set of introductory short stories about Geralt, a social outcast because of his Witcher School mutations, which give him powerful and even magical abilities - which makes him subhuman in the eyes of most. He plies his unenviable trade - monster extermination - in a world of moral greys and shifty feudal villains. The most interesting stories have him reasoning with and even befriending monsters, and fighting the depraved humans who hired him. Many stories have a noir-like set of twists and turns, and unlikely betrayals and alliances, which gives the book a sort of uniquely pulpy detective-comic flair. Lots of sleuthing and whodunits.

The prose, well translated from the original Polish, will win no awards but is nonetheless evocative and enjoyable, and amusingly modern. Geralt and his various companions are bursting with character, and even if they're not very original, they're likable and memorable. Also fun are the twisted variations of common fairy tales - this book has some engrossing takes on 'Beauty and the Beast' and 'Snow White' which may make your skin crawl.

This is as far from Disney as you're likely to get and shares many of the same adult themes and political tangents as Game of Thrones - but for my money the stories of Geralt of Rivia are much more interesting; and the shameless dives into gross dark fantasy are more fun too. If you're curious about the world from the (excellent) video games, or if you just want a lightweight fantasy read with fun mysteries and icky lore, this is a fine introduction. You can't exactly binge these books but they make great vacation and commute filler. ( )
  ddueck88 | Oct 24, 2016 |
Geralt is a Witcher, trained in sorcery and swordcraft, accepting commissions to eliminate ghosts and demons. He travels in a nameless land, clearly Eastern European in inspiration, looking for employment. He battles demons with names evocative of old tales: a striga, a sylvan, elves, djinns, and sorceresses. He returns for rest and healing to a temple to an earth goddess, and travels through the last tales with Dandilion, a bard. The book is more a loosely knit collection of stories. Geralt and his friend have a dry sense of humor, and in some places the writing turns philosophical. The world in which Geralt lives is somehow changing, becoming less magical, and there is an autumnal feeling about the book. It has inspired a videogame ( )
  neurodrew | Oct 3, 2016 |
I liked this book quite a lot. It is made up of a bunch of short stories about the Witcher Geralt. As someone who really likes the video games, I was excited to read the stories that inspired it.

It lived up to my skeptical expectations and even exceeded them.

I'd recommend this book! ( )
  Sarah_Buckley | Sep 17, 2016 |
This collection of short fantasy stories introduced Geralt of Rivia, a Witcher, who isn't quite human anymore, having taken various concoctions in his youth to turn him into a supercharged monster fighting machine. One would think that such a rare, impressive set of talents as super-senses, reflexes and skills would make him revered wherever he goes. Instead, Geralt is faced with constant prejudice, and most only hire him out of extreme reluctance, rarely, and for small coin. The world he lives in is also one of political turmoil, as kings from neighbouring realms fight for a slice of each other's kingdoms, and the medieval lot is generally one of hardship. Add to this the prevelance of supernatural monsters, and there is much to be bleak about.

However, in this sequence of stories, as well as some dark themes, there is friendship, romance and jolity. In one story, Geralt has to lift the curse of a girl born a monster, only to know she will turn into a feral teenager, as from removed from the princess her lineage gifts her as you could imagine. In the second story he comes across a man who looks like a monster, but is in many ways the opposite. In the story The Lesser Evil, perhaps the darkest story in the collection, Geralt is forced to choose between a cruel wizard hiding in his tower, and the girl he tortured, repeatedly tried to kill, and whose life he undoubtedly turned to ruin, as she seeks her revenge, along with her cut-throat gang. In the next story he is hired, by force, by a queen, to deal with the demands of a monster suitor, though nothing in the story is quite what it seems, and the dark magical power that lurks under the surface is far more potent than anyone there could imagine. The penultimate story, The Edge of the World, describes again how those that appear to be monsters can be far from that sight, deep down, and how the elves are possibly a race that will be hounded out of existence by the dominating humans. The last story, and that which bears the title of the work, concerns a genie that has been removed from its bottle, that half kills Geralt's best friend, and the sorceress, Yennefer, he hires to heal him, only to be betrayed by her, as she wants the genie's power all for herself.

It's very difficult to put down this extremely solid collection of interconnected very adult, very complex fantasy stories. They are full of moral subtlety, psychological depth, political complexities, as well as damn good storytelling, with a fascinating, deep, main character, who appears at first to be rather single-minded, but who ends up being far more unpredictable than we could have imagined. This is one of the best fantasy books I've ever read, and was a whole lot better than the later Witcher novel I've read so far (The Blood of Elves). Simply fantastic writing (and a wonderful translation as well). ( )
  RachDan | Sep 5, 2016 |
Boy what a joy this book was. Glad there are more in the series. While it has elements of other faNTASY BOOKS, A COUPLE THING MAKE IT STAND APART.

The monsters are fascinating. He is much more creative than most authors.
The morally ambivalent hero is trying to have a code as he goes killing monsters and being annoyed by the human race.

( there are more things but i will have to extend this on another day)
  newnoz | Aug 6, 2016 |
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She came to him toward morning.
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Contains 7 short stories. do not combine with 5 story editions.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316029181, Mass Market Paperback)

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.

The international hit that inspired the video game: The Witcher.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:30 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Geralt de Riv, a witcher, uses his vast sorcerous powers to hunt down the monsters that threaten the world, but he soon discovers that not every monstrous-looking creature is evil, and not everything beautiful is good.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

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Orbit Books

2 editions of this book were published by Orbit Books.

Editions: 0575077832, 0316029181

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