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The Last Wish (1993)

by Andrzej Sapkowski

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Witcher (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,4392041,407 (3.94)190
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.
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» See also 190 mentions

English (187)  Finnish (5)  Spanish (4)  German (3)  French (2)  Italian (1)  Dutch (1)  Polish (1)  All languages (204)
Showing 1-5 of 187 (next | show all)
Nothing wrong with it. I just don't like short stories. ( )
  CaitlinDaugherty | Aug 28, 2023 |
He is a beast hunter given supernatural abilities at a young age to battle wild beasts and monsters, he is a witcher and his name is Geralt of Rivia. The Last Wish is the short story collection by Andrzej Sapkowski that follows the adventures of his creation Geralt and the world he lives in.

The seven stories are connected via “The Voice of Reason” which is used as a framing story as either the aftermath of the Sapkowski’s original short story, “The Witcher”, or as an introductory device for the other stories before ending the collection. All the stories a good, though the standouts are clearly “A Gain of Truth”, “A Question of Price”, and the collection’s titular story, “The Last Wish”. Geralt instantly comes across as interesting character that the reader would want to follow and over the course of the collection, the reader is introduced to other great characters that Geralt interact with some of which will be important later in Sapkowski’s larger saga. Using Slavic mythology given his Polish background, Sapkowski bring additional creatures to the reader attention that is usually more familiar with Western European fantasy tropes and Sapkowski’s use of twisting or subverting known fairy tales and tropes gives another dimension to his writing.

The Last Wish turned out to be a great way to be introduced to Andrzej Sapkowski’s world of The Witcher.

The Witcher (3.5/5)
A Grain of Truth (5/5)
The Lesser Evil (3/5)
A Question of Price (4.5/5)
The Edge of the World (3.5/5)
The Last Wish (4.5/5)
The Voice of Reason (3.5/5) ( )
  mattries37315 | Aug 18, 2023 |
A heroic sorcerer - the witcher. We follow the witcher through several adventures - fights with monsters and genies - as well as a love affair with a priestess or two. The book is nearly a collection of short stories or adventures. ( )
  waldhaus1 | Aug 7, 2023 |
A rather dull story collection with bits of cute and dark humor based around an uninteresting story world, largely uninteresting characters, with occasional references to vaguely grimdark versions of familiar fairy tales.

There are moments where this collection is quite good. But it feels like the equivalent of squinting. The collection opens bizarrely with a badly written sort of sex scene, then transitions to something completely unrelated, and maybe a dozen or more pages later you realize that the opening was actually part of the central storyline, from which all the others are flashbacks. And of course this sets the tone of the series, as well. The women in this world are mostly either fuckable or unfuckable (mostly when they are old; as there are only 1.5 old women in this story, most every woman is on the sliding fuckable scale, but sometimes unfortunately Ugly with a capital U, but under most circumstances, still fuckable). The men are by and large forgettable and boring. Some of them are funny, with the unfortunate side effect of also being ridiculously sexist.

Geralt is a delight when he is being snarky to people in power, pointing out their hypocrisy and cutting through their lying to get to the heart of what is causing a problem (e.g., it's not a prophecy, it's just a toady clawing for more power in the government). And at times he is clearly Not Like Other Men in Sexist Land, but also that really long part in the Djinn story where for some reason we need to know that Geralt was sort of respecting Yennefer by not looking at her nude without her permission, but also he was unwilling when he did it. And then of course there's that odd character switch, sort of OOC moment where one minute, when Stregobor says "I considered you a friend. Counted on your help," and Geralt replies:

"Our last meeting . . . I'd come to be paid for killing the amphisboena which had been terrorizing the neighborhood. You and your compatriot . . . vied with each other to call me a charlatan, a thoughtless murdering machine and a scavenger. Not only didn't [the King] pay me a penny, he gave me [12] hours to leave Kovir and, since his hourglass was broken, I barely made it. And now you say you're counting on my help. You say a monster's after you. What are you afraid of, Stregobor? If it catches up with you, tell it you like monsters, that you protect them and make sure no witcher scavenger ever troubles their piece. Indeed, if the monster disembowels and devours you, it'll prove terribly ungrateful."

Two scenes later (not with Stregobor, and not with anyone making the case for why Geralt should help him) and for no apparent reason he's telling Renfri he will intervene if she attempts to kill Stregobor. I'm not sure why...? Maybe I missed something? Most of this collection is forgettable.

You could argue that Geralt's comeuppance moment is when Yennefer takes her revenge... but that situation really begs the question: why was this whole thing needed? Why does Geralt's primary character flaw have to be his sexism? He's arrogant, too. You could just... focus on that? I doubt he's somehow not-sexist after this whole scenario, particularly the whole pressing himself into her cleavage thing without her consent.

And then there's how I'm not quite sure this collection managed to screw up the Aretuza transformation thing even more than the 2019 show did. Neither of them do a good job with it, but the 2019 show does a much better one. Did you know that Ugly women and non-Ugly women have different eyes? And that even if, say, an Ugly woman works hard and for years and is lucky enough to get a treatment that might make her less physically unattractive (potentially to herself), she will still have angry, Ugly eyes? And no matter what, there will still be something Not Right about her appearance? This whole internal exposition thing that Geralt has is... so many layers of screwed up I don't even know how to unpack it.

I did like two characters in this book: Nenneke and Dennis. Dennis shows up near the end and Nenneke isn't around nearly enough, but they're good. Eist is less frustrating than he is in the 2019 show, and Calanthe is fun in different ways. She has some good dialogue. And Mousesack is thankfully less everything, which is wonderful.

The twists on fairy tales... I mean I'm not sure how popular it was to do the "grimdark" fairy tale spin thing back in 1993 or beforehand, but while there's something to be said for being an early adopter of the concept, that doesn't necessarily mean you're a good example of it, or that we don't have better options. A lot of the "grimdark" here is just "let's add rape to it". "Snow White"? Oh now that's got a lot of rape in it. "Beauty and the Beast", based on a story where a child refuses to marry an adult woman who was grooming him and is cursed for it? Oh well now he's a rapist. From what I know of the "Rapunzel" tale, that seems relatively accurate, at least comparatively. "Cinderella" was a footnote that's barely worth mentioning. That's the general problem with this book. We just... have better elsewhere.

There are a lot of cute scenes between Dandelion and Geralt, when Dandelion's not being a pig. The two have a very sweet and funny dynamic, and clearly care deeply for each other.

Overall, if I wasn't reading this to see the books behind the 2019 show and the games, I wouldn't recommend it. Go read "Namesake" for fairy tale compilation stories. Or Steven Brust's "Dragaera" books for some "adult" fantasy that doesn't just rely on sex, but also involves some Politics But Not Boring bits, and a lot of great humor. Or there's Sarah Monette's "Doctrine of Labyrinths" for some more adult fantasy that actually knows how to be a fantasy story with magic that involve sexual assault. ( )
  AnonR | Aug 5, 2023 |
I loved the structure of this book. A current situation spread out over every other chapter with flashbacks in between. All the stories just left enough that I want to know more.
Very fun ride and an easy read ( )
  Acilladon | Jul 30, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 187 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Andrzej Sapkowskiprimary authorall editionscalculated
Arnold, TommyIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Barcinski, TomaszTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bartel, JenIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Błaszczak, MarcinCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Belletti, RaffaellaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brenneise, BruceIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chomiak, MarianCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Colucci, AlejandroCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dyèvre, LaurenceTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fačková, MartinaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Faraldo, José MaríaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
French, AndrewTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
French, DavidTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gaweł, BartłomiejCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Håkanson, TomasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ivan, MichalCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Justamon, NicolasNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kärkkäinen… Tapani(KÄÄnt.)secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kenny, PeterNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Komárek, StanislavTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Komárková, JanaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leonard, Kiri ØstergaardIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lesman, KarolTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Matyszewski, ArkadiuszCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mei, RiccardoNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mielniczuk, PawełCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Milutinović-Đurić… VesnaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nelson, WinonaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Niklus, ToomasDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Panepinto, LaurenCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pilch, JiříTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Puu, AarneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ramos, MauroNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Seider, AnuToimetajasecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Siebeck, OliverNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stok, DanusiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Szathmáry-Kellerman… ViktóriaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Uluots, KristinaToimetajasecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Weiss, SamuelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Williams, AllenIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Вайсброт, Евгений ПавловичTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
הלפרן, עילימתרגםsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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She came to him toward morning.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Contains 7 short stories. do not combine with 5 story editions.
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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.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Geralt the Witcher—revered and hated—is a man whose magic powers, enhanced by long training and a mysterious elixir, have made him a brilliant fighter and a merciless assassin. Yet he is no ordinary murderer: his targets are the multifarious monsters and vile fiends that ravage the land and attack the innocent.

But not everything monstrous-looking is evil and not everything fair is good... and in every fairy tale there is a grain of truth.
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Average: (3.94)
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Orbit Books

2 editions of this book were published by Orbit Books.

Editions: 0575077832, 0316029181

Hachette Book Group

An edition of this book was published by Hachette Book Group.

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