Welcome to a new edition of Fantasy Review! This time the book being reviewed is The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski. The Last Wish is one of the two short story collections preceding the main Witcher Saga. This review may contain spoilers.
The Last Wish
by Andrzej Sapkowski
The book contains seven main short stories. The stories are independent yet connected.
The story The Voice of Reason connects all other stories. Other stories are flashbacks that occur during the course of the main story.
The Voice of Reason takes place in the temple of the goddess Melitele. Geralt, a witcher, is recovering in the temple after suffering some serious wounds trying to reverse a spell on a striga. Here he meets some characters that play an important role in some other stories. The local lords are not happy that he is staying there and try to make things difficult for him.
The Witcher is the story of the striga that caused the wounds from which Geralt is recovering from in The Voice of Reason.
A Grain of Truth tells the story of a monster like figure that Geralt meets during his journeys. The monster lives in a mansion in the middle of a forest. He has a rose garden and if anyone steals a rose, they have to give their daughter to him for a year.
The Lesser Evil is the story where a wizard asks Geralt to kill a girl because she might be a monster. The queen had tried to kill her on various occasions with the help of the wizard. She had ordered a huntsman to take her to forest and kill her. She escaped and lived with some dwarves for some time. When she meets Geralt, she asks him to help her kill that wizard.
In A Matter of Price, Geralt is asked to help a queen but told to figure out the details of the mission by himself. It introduces the Child Surprise, someone who has an important role in later books.
The Edge of the World is the story where Geralt and his friend, Dandelion, travel to the edge of the world. A "deovel" is destroying the fields and some villagers want Geralt to get rid of the "deovel" but the wise woman forbids him to kill it.
The Last Wish, the story after which the collection is named, introduces the sorceress Yennefer, someone who has been mentioned various times in the book. Geralt and Dandelion had found a genie and Dandelion tried to make the genie grant him three wishes. He does not get to utter the third wish because he is injured in the confrontation with the genie. Yennefer agrees to cure him so that she could use the genie for her own purposes.
Some of the stories are alternate versions of some popular fairy tales. It is easier to sink into the story once you find something familiar.
Geralt has a simple yet complicated character. He claims to be a mutant designed to kill monsters but his idea of monsters is different from everyone else's at times. Just when he starts emerging as a righteous character, an incident happens that makes him look evil and saves the story from becoming too dull.
Some of the stories are beautiful. A Grain of Truth has some lines that make you think twice. The ending of the story is bittersweet and managed to make way into my memory.
The book was originally written in Polish and the English version is a translated version. There are bound to be some things that it misses because of this interpretation.
Sometimes the characters are infuriating and the motive for their actions are contrary to what I had perceived the character to be.
All in all, it was an enjoyable read. It takes time to get used to the format of the story but after that it's fun to read.
I would give it a rating of 4.5/5