14 July 2013

The Last Wish

Author: Andrzej Sapkowski 
Translator: Danusia Stok
Year published: 1993 in Polish, 2007 in English
Pages: 280
Time It Took To Read: A day
My boyfriend got The Witcher 2 for Christmas on Xbox. I borrowed it off him, after he said the combat system was a bit difficult, and completed it in a fairly sleepless week. It was my sort of game - swordy, some magic, traditional RPG elements and good characters. I bought this, the first collection of short stories which the games are based on, when I found out that they existed! Originally written in Polish, the books are slowly (painfully slowly) being translated into English. Only three of eight have been done so far. This is vexing. Get on it, publishers.
Geralt is a witcher and he kills monsters for money. Witchers are mutants, removed from their parents at birth and treated with hormones and poisons to make them superhuman. They use magic, but aren't exactly sorcerers. They have great alchemical skill, and a mastery of lore. Although they are mercenary, they have a strict code of honour. They are mistrusted by most of the regular population, and seen as a necessary evil by much of the elite.They are supposed to have their feelings destroyed in the process of becoming witchers, but this has not wholly happened to Geralt.

The Last Wish is a collection of loosely interlinked short stories about Geralt's adventures. There is a great deal of humour, life and warmth in the stories, as well as gore, horrendous monsters and fantastical elements. It has helped that I've played the game, and had an understanding of the subset of magic that's used in the book, but I found it a really good read regardless. If you enjoy playing RPGs in the Baldur's Gate/Elder Scrolls genre, or, indeed, have played The Witcher, I can't recommend it highly enough. It makes me wish I could read Polish so I could get them all now!

Book count: 32/50

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