Mark Lawrence's Reviews > The Last Wish

The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski
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really liked it

So, this is a collection of short stories loosely threaded around a stay by our point-of-view character, the eponymous witcher, at a temple while recuperating from his latest fight.

The stories are mostly (all?) retellings of / inspired by well known fairy stories, like Beauty and the Beast. They share a slightly fairy tale vibe too. It's a world where destiny is a real force and unlikely promises about first born children etc made to strangers carry their own weight both magically and in popular opinion.

The witcher himself is a fairly opaque character. We get tantalising hints about his origins and training, but he seems to be a mature man at the height of his powers, and there's not much by way of personal growth going on here.

We find him to be a rather stern fellow set to the slaying of monsters for money but bound about by a rather unclear professional and ethical code.

The society described is a rather misogynistic one, and the witcher is certainly not swimming against the tide in this regard.

In the Beauty and the Beast story our Beast was cursed by a priestess he happened to be raping (she then kills herself). The witcher commiserates with the Beast, who is portrayed as a jolly and quite good natured fellow, and ends up freeing him from the curse with the added bonus that his new human form is much better looking than his old one.

The world's take on female magic-users is also … interesting:

"so only daughters with no chance of finding a husband became sorceresses"

"the result was pseudo-pretty women with the angry and cold eyes of ugly girls"

All this aside, I actually enjoyed the book a lot. The stories have a refreshingly different feel to them, partly due to the fairy tale vibe and I guess because the author draws on his eastern European heritage to colour in his backgrounds.

Additionally, there's lots of imagination on show, the writing has a strong voice, and the witcher is an entertaining character.

I think this is only the second translated fantasy book I've read (the first being The Neverending Story). I was never bored, and whilst I'm not rushing to read the rest of the series, I am certainly not ruling it out. I look forward to giving the upcoming TV show a try.

Oh - I should have mentioned insta-love. There's that too. Also elves. And dwarves. And a whole bunch of interesting monsters, though mostly mentioned rather than battled.



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Reading Progress

July 28, 2019 – Started Reading
July 28, 2019 – Shelved
July 28, 2019 –
page 60
20.55% "So … currently I'm reading a retelling of Beauty and the Beast..."
July 28, 2019 –
page 70
23.97% "Hmmm … so the Beast-to-be is gang raping a priestess and it's his turn and she curses him to be a Beast then kills herself.

"Bad luck," commiserates the witcher. "Of all the temples you could have chosen you got the death temple."

Story rolls on, witcher saves the beast and the man returns not to his old weak and ugly body but to a handsome rugged one."
July 28, 2019 –
page 70
23.97% "Now perhaps my experience has been coloured by the uproar over Jorg

http://mark---lawrence.blogspot.com/2...

But again I find myself amazed (after Ember in the Ashes) at book which seems to get a pass on this. I'm not objecting to the book - I learned the witcher is fine with gang rape - it's building a picture - just amazed this is the first I've heard of it."
August 3, 2019 –
page 202
69.18% "This is the 26th UK printing of this 26 year old book and it still has typos :D

"quick as lightening""
August 5, 2019 –
page 237
81.16% ""so only daughters with no chance of finding a husband became sorceresses"

"the result was pseudo-pretty women with the angry and cold eyes of ugly girls"

Throughout the book the society described and the seemingly the opinions of the witcher are very misogynistic.

I'm enjoying the book though."
August 6, 2019 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-14 of 14 (14 new)

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Guilherme Santos Hey, Mark. The quality of the writing and the story itself takes a big dive after Blood of the Elves (or something among these lines, don't remember how it was translated to in English) and you could find better books to spend your time on, frankly.
The Last Wish is pretty good and The Sword of Destiny is also very readable, but after? Meh.


message 2: by Claudette (new) - added it

Claudette Gabbs I didn't read this short story book. I started right with The Blood of Elves. I am having a love hate relationship with the series. Enjoying the books, hate the extra long chapter lengths. I too am going to give the TV show a looking at. Up until I watch it, I think that they cast Geralt wrong. We shall see.


Paige Neaville I am working my way through the series now and I’ve been really enjoying it! My goal is to finish before the TV series airs. The two short story novels are great, but I think you’d really like the series as well 😊


Paige Neaville Gosh, how many times can I say ‘series’?! I need to call it a night lol


Mike's Book Reviews I usually am not a fan of short story collections, aside from Stephen King, but I really enjoyed this one. Looking forward to the next.


A.M. Steiner The best Witcher book by far, IMO.


Brad Kirk I agree with Guilherme and A.M.. The first two short story collections are quite good. I lost interest after Blood of Elves.


MangoLoverReads Good info. Thanks! I got a few of these, wanted to check them out and get a base before the TV series.


A.M. Steiner Brad wrote: "I agree with Guilherme and A.M.. The first two short story collections are quite good. I lost interest after Blood of Elves."
Totes agree. It's kind of funny how his great characterisation and pacing in the short stories doesn't seem to stretch out well in long form. (For my taste).


Oleksandr Zholud the misogynistic society is chiefly because it is based on real medieval misogynistic society


Stewart Hagen It's really slow up until Lady of the Lake, but LotL was one of my favorite books for a long while


Kelly Charmaine Marie Flanagan Ok, I fell in love with the short stories in The Last Wish, wasn't too impressed with The Blood of Elves, except for the extended spy network I am still confused about. And since I have stopped at the end of Blood, the Netflix trailer of a woman asking Yennifer if she wants to rule the world is awfully scary! I just keep telling myself that it's not the same as the books, and please don't screw up my rule that the book is Always (underlined 1,000 times) better.
Always.
Damn, Netflix is messing with my paradigm!


Mark Lawrence Kelly wrote: "Ok, I fell in love with the short stories in The Last Wish, wasn't too impressed with The Blood of Elves, except for the extended spy network I am still confused about. And since I have stopped at ..."

How To Train Your Dragon: The film was better! :D


Guilherme Santos Kelly wrote: "Ok, I fell in love with the short stories in The Last Wish, wasn't too impressed with The Blood of Elves, except for the extended spy network I am still confused about. And since I have stopped at ..."

Give Shawshank Redemption a read. The movie is better ANY DAY of the week, too. Mark mentioned another prime example with HTTYD


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