The Last Wish: Introducing the Witcher (The Witcher, 1) - book cover
Short Stories & Anthologies
  • Publisher : Orbit; Later Printing edition
  • Published : 18 Jul 2017
  • Pages : 352
  • ISBN-10 : 0316438960
  • ISBN-13 : 9780316438964
  • Language : English

The Last Wish: Introducing the Witcher (The Witcher, 1)

Geralt the Witcher-revered and hated-holds the line against the monsters plaguing humanity in this collection of adventures, the first chapter in Andrzej Sapkowski's groundbreaking epic fantasy series that inspired the hit Netflix show and the blockbuster video games.

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.

Witcher collections
The Last Wish
Sword of Destiny

Witcher novels
Blood of Elves
The Time of Contempt
Baptism of Fire 
The Tower of Swallows
Lady of the Lake
Season of Storms

Hussite Trilogy
The Tower of Fools
Warriors of God

Translated from original Polish by Danusia Stok

Editorial Reviews

"This is a series you can sink your teeth into."―BuzzFeed News

"Delightful, intense, irreverent, and have to read The Witcher books because they are rife with all of the elements that make you love fiction, and especially fantasy, in the first place....In a word, The Witcher delivers."―Hypable

"One of the best and most interesting fantasy series I've ever read."―Nerds of a Feather

"Like Mieville and Gaiman, [Sapkowski] takes the old and makes it new ... fresh take on genre fantasy."―Foundation

"Sapkowski has a confident and rich voice which permeates the prose and remains post-translation. I'd recommend this to any fan of heroic or dark fiction."―SF Book Reviews

Readers Top Reviews

Stitch Witch
I have just finished the second book in this series and feel able to comment properly about the one thing that initially bugged me. People are quite defensive and annoyed when you bring up sexism in fantasy books, but for those of us who look at things at more than face value, then here are some thoughts on how the author deals with female characters. In the beginning, I felt that yes, there was quite a lot of sexism - I don't mean BY the characters (which was obviously acceptable in Medieval times), but in how the characters are portrayed. It's very much a case of reading the book from a male heterosexual perspective - constant descriptions about women's 'assets', shirts being ripped open, and most of them there for some kind of sexual purpose. Plus there weren't any admirable female characters. Yennefer who some suggest is a 'strong female' was in my opinion just a self-interested lunatic. That may not be the case later in the stories (if she survives) but in books 1 and 2 she's not likeable at all. Even Queen Calanthe is questionable early on. It's not simply that they are flawed, but they don't have anything particularly nuanced about them. So why did I keep reading if I found that annoying? Well because I love the genre and these stories were good fun and the stereotypes weren't really limited to women, in fact many of the males are no deeper than characters in fairytales. I thought the translation was brilliant - lot's of wit and fluent dialogue. In fact I wouldn't have known they weren't originally written in the English language. Plus there was intelligent messages in drawing the readers attention to the treatment of different 'races' and how we treat nature. In terms of the sexism, more interesting female characters are introduced into book 2, and there are more references to them bucking the trend or - even better - their sexuality not being referred to at all. Geralt himself is a pretty decent, open-minded character and reverent towards the women in powerful positions, often more so than the men. And that's the main reason why the books are so good, because Geralt is a great character, but he's not a cliched 'hero' who turns up to save the day in every story. People in the stories are always trying to figure him out, but very little is revealed of inner thoughts, you build a picture from his actions and words. His infatuation with Yennefer is irritating (but that's because she's irritating in my opinion) though it's part of what makes him multi-dimensional. So I would recommend these stories if you are a fan of the genre and make allowance for the simplistic nature of the characters early on, as they become more complicated later
Justyna Tenel
I still prefer the book in Polish, and I saw one particular sentence (the anti-djinn exorcism) translated with more panache, but this is quite close to how reading the original felt like, so I can definitely recommend it. 'The Last Wish' is a good introduction into the world of the Witcher, whether you come at it as the fan of the games or general sci-fi aficionado. And even if you are neither there is something uniquely true about the human nature, the ever changing world and life in general that can be gleaned from it. I read it originally as a teenager and in Polish, but years have passed, translations have occurred and the book is still very good.
Chris Moore
This book is essentially a collection of short stories about Geralt of Rivia, who is better known as The Witcher. The stories relate the exploits of Geralt in which he has to demonstrate all the skills (including magic, fighting, sowrdsmanship, diplomacy, cunning, flattery, etc.) that he has developed during his training to become a Witcher. All the stories are real page-turners and different enough in their plots to easily maintain the readers interest. The narrative flows easily, the plots are exciting and the translation from the author's native Polish is excellent. There were however a few instances in which I had to read the odd paragraph again where the sentences were rather awkward, but this in no way distracted from the story. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this introduction to The Witcher, and will definitely be reading more of the books in the series by this very talented, imaginative author.
RevR. Clarke
There are so many good reviews of this book, so I strongly recommend potential readers to download a chapter and try it out before purchasing. If I had done that, I would not have bought this book. I have read 40% of it with effort and will add it to the very short list of books I have dropped half way. I agree with others that call the writing 'disjointed'. It stutters, short sentences that are good for fights but just don't fit with a relaxed dialog. I can't find a rythm in the writing, like those books that just take your breath out and force you to turn pages one after the other. The fights are quite good, but then there other things like rough and heartless sex scenes that make little sense (they would if the rest of the book was different, but as they are they add little). The reason for me to drop it is that the characters are all soulless. The witcher cannot talk straight, and if you take the character names out of the dialogs you don't really know who is talking. It feels like there are just a few characters that just change name and face and appear in different stories... I don't know, I cannot feel anything for them, just not my type of book. On top of it the stories don't seem to have much depth and add little to the witcher character. Perhaps the other 60% of the book is awesome, but after what I have read, I rather invest my time in something else. In summary, hope you really like it (most reviewers loved it), but just in case take a peek at a chapter before buying it.
I wanted to like this more. My friend highly recommended it as a great dark fantasy story with swords and sorcery, dungeons and dragons. It has those things, but it doesn't come off as very exciting or enchanting. Rather, we see the world through a tired grey lens, where humans are often worse than monsters, and the monsters are rarely evil incarnate. Rather they're more just hungry like animals. And Geralt seems sick and tired of hunting them. More broadly, the tales in this first anthology are a mix of twists on the old fairy tales, maybe mixed up with Eastern European folklore I'm less familiar with. The twists are mostly deconstructive, yet often end up less dark and gritty than the originals from the Grimms or from Hans Christian Anderson. They're not uproariously funny enough to be parodies, either, though a few elements were worth a chuckle. So, what does the author do well here? The way he weaves in and out from an overarching story down to the short stories he wants to tell is clever and interesting. The dialogues back and forth between Geralt and the other characters in the world are full of double entendre and puns (albeit some is lost in translation), but really help to build the world and the stories in a far more entertaining way than any of the actions and events that take place within the story itself. So if your favorite part of fantasy or D&D is the part where you banter with the NPCs about quests and listen to spoony bards weave ballads out of half-truths and grog in the tavern, this series is definitely for you.

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