I’ve finally started re-reading this series! One book down, other are waiting for their turn :D. It might take a while, but damn it’s worth it!
A little message to every fantasy lover out there: if you still haven’t read the Witcher series – what are you waiting for? Yes, re-reading these assured me that my previous warm feelings weren’t misplaced. It’s a fantastic book and a great introduction to something bigger.
The Last Wish (The Witcher #1) by Andrzej Sapkowski
I could just pass on the whole Goodreads blurb, but I kind of like it, so here it is:
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.
These stories will let you meet Geralt and some of the other characters that show up in the main series. They will give you some background, show you the world and explain how Geralt came from curing a curse to requesting a Law of Surprise.
I liked how the stories were set up. They are split into two parts – one set makes a whole story, and if you read every second of them you would pretty much have a whole book. And the second set is kind of an addition that shows you other events from Geralt’s life and adventures, mostly from the past – memories, meeting with some of the characters, explanations how a certain thing happened. They show you the world as it is and how it deals with witchers, monsters, mages, elves. Some of these stories are almost pure action – go there and slay the monsters we’ve paid you for, but most of them show you Geralt’s character. He’s not your simple “chosen one” who will save the world and he’s not a person who would want to be the hero. He is a mutant who’s trying to live in the world he’s given and help people as long as they’ll pay him for it.
Oh, and for the curious ones – I do have my copy of this book [but I couldn’t tell you how I got it, one day I simply found it home and decided it’s mine :P] but it’s the second edition from 1995 and I’ve started collecting the newest edition not so long ago and I still can’t decide whether to buy a second copy of this book or not. And here’s the photo:
And yes, I’ve got a set of stories in Russian there too… I was kind of determined to learn this language at high school and I’ve actually read that book (slowly, but I managed). By not I pretty much only remember how the strange letters are read ;).
Since I’ve read the book in Polish [well, obviously ;)] I might be mistranslating some of the story titles I’ll use, but here are some of my favorite.
Witcher – Here’s where we meet Geralt. The first story that shows who he is and what his work looks like. It’s also the story when he lifts the curse from a certain princess who just happens to be a striga at the moment ;).
Smaller evil – Oh this is a good one. It throws you in some of Sapkowski’s philosophy, shows you the world isn’t simply black and white and that sometimes you have to make choices even though none of the options seems good. That thought returns many times throughout the Witcher series and it starts in this story.
The last wish – the title story in which Geralt finally meets Yennefer. Well, that’s a woman with strong character :D. She knows what she wants and how to get it and she’s not afraid to use anyone or anything to achieve her goals. And if someone disagrees or tries to make her life harder? I pity them :D.
Plus there’s Dandelion and we’re finding out what was the deal with the djinn.
Btw Dandelion’s this name was totally mistranslated, but I’m guessing it sounded better in English than the original or the proper translation (buttercup). They probably just searched for the yellow flower and picked the one that sounded good enough ;).
What’s bad in this book? Umm… nothing! It’s perfect and I love every bit of it. Actually, I like it so much I want to play all of the Witcher games again (as soon as I’m done reading the series).
Have you read The Witcher already?
Have you played the games?
If your answer is “no” for at least one of these questions – go fix that! Seriously, like now! Why are you still here?