Have you ever heard of a book becoming a video game, and then, a Netflix series? I hadn’t until I watched The Witcher.
Geralt, The White Wolf and The Butcher of Blaviken is a brooding monster hunter imbued with magical powers. This series is like if Game of Thrones had a ton more monsters.
The Last Wish is technically an anthology of stories about Geralt before the happenings in the Blood of Elves. I had bought The Last Wish thinking that it was the first book, needless to say I was confused but I figured it out. In this book we follow Geralt and learn why he is called The Butcher of Blaviken. We also get to learn why him and the sorceress Yennefer are bound by fate. But the single most important detail that we discover in this book is how Geralt gains Ciri as his child surprise. Ciri is a character that will become much more important in later novels.
“Evil is Evil. Lesser, greater, middling… Makes no difference. The degree is arbitary. The definition’s blurred. If I’m to choose between one evil and another… I’d rather not choose at all.”
The quote above is something that follows Geralt his entire life. In the Netflix series it haunts him and helps him decide what his next move and, this idea of evil is evil, is solidified in his actions. He makes a wrong move and is forced to decide and it ends badly for him. I enjoy this quote because it makes Geralt more human. He is one of the least human, beings, in this book. All of his humanity is stripped from him and he’s given powers that no human should have. Yet, Geralt is not shy about showing that he cares and deep down he is a human at heart.
This book does a good job of weaving fairy tales from our world into Geralt’s world. There are clear references to Beauty and the Beast and Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. In fact, my favorite of the stories in this book is the Beauty and the Beast story. Sapkowski takes these fairy tales and turns them dark. There is always a twist. To me, it meant that life isn’t supposed to be a fairy tale, with every beautiful thing there is an ugly underside. It really fascinated me. There is even the quote,
“There’s a grain of truth in every fairytale…”
Sapkowski does a good job of making fairy tales feel real within the constraints of his fantasy story.
I was a little lost here and there because it’s not a linear story line. These are just tales to enhance your reading of the main series. I was learning about events and people that I still am yet to be introduced to even though I’m about 100 pages into the first book. But this book is what the Netflix series is mostly composed of. So if you are interested in The Witcher because of Netflix this is a really good place to start.
All in all, I’m not knocked off my feet but I can tell that this series is going to be outstanding. Geralt is such a promising anti-hero and the adventure is there. I know this series is already well loved but I think with the implementation of a Netflix series this will be able to stand to series’ like Game of Thrones.
The Last Wish earns a 4/5 stars.