Book Review: THE LAST WISH by Andrzej Sapkowski

Title in white against the a blue-toned image of the three leads from the  netflix show staring out the screen

Genre: Fantasy
Age Range: Adult
Star Rating: 2
Series: yes - prequel short stories collection


Book cover for the netflix tie in copy of THE LAST WISH: the three leads for the show staring dramatically from the blue-grey coverGeralt of Rivia 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.

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


Once I’d got my head around the messy chronology of the Netflix show (which could have all been solved by simply putting date stamp/title cards in), I liked it. Therefore, I was hoping I’d like the books and find a new adult fantasy series to dig my teeth into. However, this collection of short stories was an absolute fight to get through. I probably should have DNF’ed it, but decided to keep going as it was such a short book.

The book is reasonably old, first published in Polish in 1997, and so many of the female characters are either wives yelled at off-screen, prostitutes (including a what is point objectifying sex scene as the very first thing in the book) or evil. Of the show’s two female leads from the show one is vaguely mentioned and has no bearing on the plot, and the other appears in the final story, so they aren’t there to balance the book out. However, the rest of the book had enough other problems that I couldn’t just wave that all aside on account of its age if I were so inclined.

I wrote a post about how the show’s storytelling made it uncompelling at times, and unfortunately those issues were found in this collection without the positives or eventual cohesion that meant I enjoyed the end of the Netflix series.

It’s a short story collection, so I wouldn’t expect there to be a major central aim. However, Geralt as a character is so dull and hardly worthy of the name character as he lacks depth. I’m told it comes up later in the series, but in this collection any “depth” is told to me by characters commenting on his morality.

He has no fear – or any other emotion – and no goals. He just rides around killing monsters for money. Without some sort of goal or dream, it’s impossible to root for him to succeed. And as he’s an unfeeling collection of muscles who just kills, I didn’t care for him at all. He never seemed like he was in no danger, as he had no fear, and there was nothing to humanise him so I could connect. As I said to a friend about halfway through, he could have been killed and my only reaction would have been “well, it’s over then”. I probably should have DNF’ed at that point.

The other major issue is the chronology. For a book that only has to manage one character’s actions, I’d have thought it would avoid the issues the show ran into, but no.

I could not work out what order the short stories were supposed the happen in because they’d refer to events in the past, and then that event would be the focus on a story later on. Plus the stories were split up by scene from what probably was meant to be another story, but it was hard to work out what the point was, given how it was split up and meander around.

There is probably an intricate world underneath it all, but I could not see it because I was having to fight through the stories themselves. I highly doubt I’ll read the series, unless a lot of people tell me that it’s absolutely stunning and lacks the above issues.

3 thoughts on “Book Review: THE LAST WISH by Andrzej Sapkowski

    1. I wanted to really like it, but it ended up not being for me. Maybe the series proper would be a better place to start than a jumble of short stories?

      Liked by 1 person

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