Mini Reviews: The Last Wish / The Sword of Destiny by Andrzej Sapkowski

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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.

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In the months before the release of The Witcher tv show, I saw a lot of promotion going around and I heard a lot of good things about the books, but I never felt any interest in picking them up. But I couldn’t resist watching the show itself and having enjoyed it quite a lot, decided I actually do want to try out the books now. Just so happens that it’s very popular now and there’s a long waitlist at the library, so it’s gonna be a while before I’m able to read it all.

This is supposed to be a prequel to the original series of books with short stories of Geralt’s adventures but a major part of it was in the show, so it almost felt like a refresher. But it was fun to go into detail and get to know the story and characters better. Reading through the famous fight scene from episode 1 was a delight because I could totally picture it in my head. I didn’t know Jaskier was called Dandelion in the books and I kept waiting to see if “Toss a coin to the Witcher” was an actual song from the text, but alas it wasn’t. I was also very impressed by some of the philosophical conversations and Geralt’s moral code and convictions.

Overall, I had a lot of fun reading this book. I don’t know if I can tell you to read it before watching the show (if you haven’t already), but doing it in the reverse order didn’t hinder my enjoyment at all; I actually loved being able to see the scenes in my head while reading.

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Geralt is a witcher, a man whose magic powers, enhanced by long training and a mysterious elixir, have made him a brilliant fighter and a merciless assassin. Yet he is no ordinary murderer: his targets are the multifarious monsters and vile fiends that ravage the land and attack the innocent. He roams the country seeking assignments, but gradually comes to realise that while some of his quarry are unremittingly vile, vicious grotesques, others are the victims of sin, evil or simple naivety.

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I had to wait a while to get to this second short collection because of the wait at the library. But I’m glad I did, because it gave me an opportunity to savor the experience of the previous one and enjoy this even more.

As with any collection, this one had a couple of amazing stories and a few bored me. As a very dialogue heavy writing style, this one too had many many conversations which I thought were pointless, but some of them were profound and emotional too, so I don’t wanna dismiss it all entirely. But it’s the couple of stories which were part of the TV show which I had the most fun reading. I definitely like that Dandelion is much more prominently featured in the stories, Yennefer here is a little less fiery and more emotionally available, and Geralt is a grumpy delight. There’s one story featuring a new character Essi which made me very emotional, and it was just so beautifully tragic. But it was the introduction of Ciri that stole the show, and I can’t believe how different the first meeting of Ciri and Geralt is. I definitely would have loved to see that in the show. And the ending was amazing, with the exact final scene from the show playing in my head and on the page.

In conclusion, I’m having as much fun reading these books as I was watching the adaptation. Both the similarities and differences are quite exciting to explore and I can’t wait to finally dive into the novels which will bring a whole new story. The writing (or maybe the translation) isn’t always easy to follow, but hopefully I’ll get used to it. The wait times for the next books seem to be quite high at my library, so I hope I’ll be able to finish them all before the start of the next season.

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5 thoughts on “Mini Reviews: The Last Wish / The Sword of Destiny by Andrzej Sapkowski

Add yours

  1. Ohhhhhh!!! I’ve seen the ad for The Witcher floating around where Henry reads out the first chapter maybe? I haven’t watched the show though, but I’m so glad you liked it! Both the show and the book ♥️

    Liked by 1 person

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