The last wish - Book review
Updated: Jun 21
The last wish by Andrzej Sapkowski
Published on January the 31st, 1993
Genre: High Fantasy
My rating : ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The “Witcher” is one of the most beloved adult fantasy series out there, and I have to admit that I was worried, at first, that the hype would drag me into a disappointing read. How wrong I was! “The last wish” was everything I wanted it to be, and maybe more.
Geralt of Rivia is one of the best characters I have read in a fantasy, and one of the most interesting. If you like your fantasy black and white, and your heroes clean as snow, definitely avoid this book. Geralt of Rivia is far from being a fundamentally good hero. Come to think of it, no character in this short stories was, which makes them all the more relatable in my opinion. What you will find in Geralt however, is a person battling with the hardships of life and love, and trying to make the best out of it.
Since I am talking about characters, I have to express how much I loved how the female characters were written in "The last wish". If you are often let down by women in fantasy books, I recommend picking up this series. Every woman in this book is strong and powerful and fiercely independant. In no way does this mean they are sheltered and nothing bad happens to them. Many are abused and maltreated in the short stories alone, but then, they all take their fates in their own hands and stand up for themselves, women in Sapkowski's world are rarely damsels in distress, and I am here for it!
Where the plot in concerned, “The last wish” is a collection of short stories telling the adventures of Geralt of Rivia, a famous witcher; i.e. monster hunter; as he goes from village to village looking for work, going on quests and living his life. Each short story reveals some facet of Geralt’s personality, as well as him interacting with a different set of characters. And yes, every story felt more or less like a video game quest. If you follow me on social media, you would have guessed from my incessant raving that I liked every short story, with “The lesser evil” being my absolute favorite. That particular story stuck with with me because not only did I love Renfri’s character, but also because something in Geralt’s dilemma, his pain, and his indecision resonated with me. Besides “The lesser evil”, “The edge of the world” is the short story I liked the most. I know many of you would disagree because it is the only one with Deus Ex Machina, but honestly, it didn’t bother me at all. I found the whole narrative delightful and the themes of races and exclusion very well written. Overall, I really enjoyed reading “The last wish”. This is one of the best adult fantasies I read in so long, and I hope the other books in the series are as good.
Before I wrap up this post, I would like to recommend some witcher goodies, starting with a very good podcast I discovered, entirely dedicated to The Witcher series, and entitled “Whispers of Oxenfurt: a Witcher podcast”. Of course, I also recommend the Netflix adaptation starring Henry Cavill and Anya Chalotra.
Finally, I will leave you with some of my favourite quotes from the book.
“People”—Geralt turned his head—“like to invent monsters and monstrosities. Then they seem less monstrous themselves.”
“I manage because I have to. I have to because I have no other way out. Because I have overcome the vanity and pride of being different. Because I’ve understood that the sun shines differently when something changes, but I’m not the axis of those changes.”
“Lesser, greater, middling, it's all the same. Proportions are negotiated, boundaries blurred. I'm not a pious hermit, I haven't done only good in my life. But if I'm to choose between one evil and another, then I prefer not to choose at all.”