Geralt the Witcher—revered and hated—holds the line against the monsters plaguing humanity in The Last Wish, a collection of adventures and the first chapter in Andrzej Sapkowski’s groundbreaking epic Witcher fantasy series that inspired the hit Netflix show and the blockbuster video games.
With the Netflix show hitting our screens 20 December 2019, it catapulted the series into the spotlight. Even moreso than the game, which were hugely popular in and of itself.
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The Last Wish
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 hunter. Yet he is no ordinary 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.
While it is not a part of the main saga per se, The Last Wish is definitely my favourite Witcher book. It’s a collection of tales about a man hunting monsters for money. And it’s amazingly good. It is also definitely the place to start reading Witcher stories for those looking for a gateway into this wonderful world.Markus, Goodreads user
The Last Wish is a collection of short stories by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski that follows the adventures of Geralt of Rivia, a powerful and skilled witcher (a monster hunter for hire). The stories are set in a fantasy world and follow Geralt as he travels across the land, encountering a variety of creatures, magic users, and characters with their own agendas.
The Last Wish is the first book in the Witcher series and serves as a prequel to the Witcher novels.
The collection begins with the story “The Voice of Reason,” which introduces Geralt and his profession as a witcher. It also introduces his close friend and mentor, Vesemir, and his love interest, the sorceress Yennefer. In the following stories, Geralt encounters a number of challenges and must use his witcher training and magical abilities to overcome them.
One such challenge is the quest “The Lesser Evil,” in which Geralt must choose between two equally undesirable options: saving a village from a monster, or allowing the monster to continue terrorizing the village in exchange for a reward. The wizard talks about Shrikes passed and how she ran off with and lived with a group of 7 dwarves. A clear reference to the beloved Snow White tale.
In “A Grain of Truth,” Geralt must confront a djinn and deal with the consequences of making a wish. Those with a keen eye may draw parallels between this story and the old tale of Beauty and the Beast.
In “The Edge of the World,” Geralt must navigate a political intrigue involving a princess, a dragon, and a group of rebels.
We also see “A Question of Price”, in which Queen Calanthe of Cintra wants to ensure a good political marriage for her daughter Princess Pavetta. His quest involves him helping a prince find a beauty who fled the ball and lost her slipper. Jog any memories?
When I picked up this book I wasn’t sure what to expect. Safe to say I was thoroughly impressed by the introduction to this fantasy world! I found myself falling for the world, its lore, the adventures, and the characters.
Geralt of Rivia is an incredibly well-developed and complex protagonist, and I found myself rooting for him as he navigated the dangerous and often morally gray areas of his job as a witcher. The story also goes on to explore deeper themes such as love, loyalty, and the consequences of power. Altogether, this novel has a surprising amount of depth for being a ‘prequel’, and sets the stage for what is going to be an epic fantasy.
The world that Sapkowski has crafted is incredibly immersive, and I found myself fully invested in the stories and eager to learn all about the magical creatures and characters that Geralt encounters. The writing is sharp and engaging, and the plot twists and turns kept me on the edge of my seat. Not to mention, we are happy to meet Yennefer in this novel.
Overall, this series might be one to dive into. With the Witcher video game series and a Netflix series, there’s more than enough content to dig your teeth into!
Our rating: ★★★★★
Check it out on Netflix
Frequently Asked Questions
Is The Last Wish the first Witcher book?
The Last Wish is the first book in Andrzej Sapkowski’s The Witcher series in terms of story chronology, although the original Polish edition was published in 1993, after Sword of Destiny.
Is The Last Wish a short story?
“The Last Wish” is a collection of short stories and the first story is about Geralt curing a striga’s curse. You might recognise this story as it was also shown at the start of the video game.
Is Yennefer in The Last Wish book?
Happy news! We can confirm Yennefer is present in The Last Wish.
Should I read The Last Wish first?
Although it’s not within the main series, The Last Wish is quoted as a really good entry into the series, followed by Sword of Destiny. After reading these, you should be prepared to join the main series with enthusiasm.
Is Ciri in The Last Wish?
Ciri is not in The Last Wish. Ciri and Geralt’s adventures are then the subject of the five books of the main Witcher Saga.