The Last Wish (The Witcher #1) by Andrzej Sapkowski
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A fun and fantastical world. I picked up The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt on Xbox a few years ago, and was immediately drawn to the complex characters, the huge open-world map, and the wide ranging story lines. When I then discovered that it was based on a series of books, I just had to get my hands on them!
The Last Wish is the first in the series. It feels very much like a set of video game main and side quests in narrative form. The main character is Geralt of Rivia, a Witcher, someone who has been trained in the art of tracking and hunting monsters, and has had physical mutations given to him to enhance his physical and magical abilities. Whilst recuperating from an injury he recalls his previous exploits in conversation with his nurse/priestess and his long time friend and troubadour Dandelion.
We also learn how he met the woman who is destined to be his future love, despite trials and tribulations (from what I gather from the video game story line); Yennefer of Vengerberg – a sorceress.
The best part about Geralt is that he’s a very discerning protagonist. Despite often being asked to just “kill a demon” or “hunt a vampire”, he will instead get to the bottom of the curse creating the situation or the motivation behind the “demon” and it’s antics; therefore making the story so much more interesting. The only thing that stopped me from giving this a 5-star rating, is the fact that as a compilation of shorter quests you only touch on the backstories of certain characters, whereas a single story novel would give more room to develop all the people. Which I’m sure, is what takes place in later novels in the series. I’ll get on to those soon!
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