Rating: 4 out of 5
I’d seen Netflix’s rendition of The Witcher and that made me know, more or less, what would happen here. Nevertheless, the book adds so much detail, including items that the show changed, that everything about the story becomes a whole lot clearer when reading the original.
‘The Last Wish’ is a collection of stories which can broadly be defined as Geralt recuperating and Geralt getting wounded. Many of these stories take place very far from each other and there’s nothing to connect them, except of course, our illustrious protagonist. This gives the stories a very complete feel: indeed, after most of these I took some time off to actually ponder the specific story instead of jumping into the next one. Some made me want to revisit the TV rendition to see how they portrayed some events (like the wedding in Cintra).
I appreciated Mr Sapkowski’s focus on dialogue: his descriptions are definitely on the lighter side, but there is a lot of dialogue that allows the reader to think along with the characters in the story. Being thrust into a world of magic, this gives the reader a far better introduction into ongoing events than skimping out on dialogue would have done. The other beneficial aspect of this is that even minor characters, like the priest of the djinn story, make a noticeable contribution that grounds the reader.
This also meant that I came away with a much better understanding of some aspects of the lore in Mr Sapkwoski’s work. The choices at the wedding in Cintra are far more seriously portrayed in the story as opposed to the light-hearted way that the Netflix version treats them. Similarly, in the show, Geralt’s and Yennefer’s link seemed to be down to selfishness, but the author’s original gives it a completely different hue.
If you enjoyed what Netflix made of this, you’ll enjoy this—but you’ll also enjoy this if one is simply after a good fantasy, because that’s what ‘The Last Wish’ really is.