The two make love, and fall asleep together, with Geralt dreaming of his fight with a striga, the powerful monster who wounded him, in Wyzim "The Witcher". Geralt refuses "A Grain of Truth". They are ordered by the prince of Ellander to chase Geralt out of town. Geralt promises to leave in three days. They discuss how the witcher profession is losing profitability in modern times "The Edge of the World".
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Shelves: favourites , fantasy , , extraordinary-gentlemen , lovely-ladies , the-white-wolf People - Geralt turned his head - like to invent monsters and monstrosities.
Then they seem less monstrous themselves. I have loved this series for many years now. When I read it, it was arguably the least famous one among my favourite fantasy series. The Witcher Saga by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski is still something of a diamond in the rough, with its own very particular sense of raw beauty. While it is not a part of the main saga per se, The Last Wish is definitely my favourite Witcher book. It is also definitely the place to start reading Witcher stories for those looking for a gateway into this wonderful world.
And as much as love the books, I will continue to insist that the more recent third game in the series, The Witcher III: Wild Hunt is the single greatest contribution to the Witcher universe, let alone the greatest fantasy RPG of our time.
Do not make the mistake of thinking these are mere tie-in novels, however. Whether you come from the games or from the Netflix adaptation, keep in mind that this is the source material, and where the original ideas are found. The adaptations in other media were based on the books, not the other way around, and should be viewed that way. And not only that, but the games are sequels to the books, and thus the books should by all means be read first. Sapkowski introduces the reader to a beautiful combination of Slavic mythology, a distinct eastern European setting, and classical high fantasy.
That makes for a different read from a lot of other works within the genre, while at the same time keeping all the mandatory aspects of epic fantasy magic, elves, kings The writing is almost lyrical, but in a relaxed manner, and the English translation is good.
But the characters and the setting are what really makes this a great novel. Geralt of Rivia is the most interesting and fascinating protagonist in the fantasy genre, bar none, and the world in which he lives is in many ways different from all others. His one true love, Yennefer of Vengerberg, is one of my favourite fantasy characters of all time. The creativity when it comes to the setting is brilliant. The whole concept of Witchers, human mutants bred and trained to slay monsters, is extraordinarily fascinating.
And the monsters themselves no less so. You have well-known monstrosities like vampires and werewolves, legendary creatures like chimeras and manticores, and the most interesting of them all, the deadly striga. Most of the world is built on the foundations of fairytales and mythology, mainly Eastern European, but Sapkowski forges it into something truly astounding. The narrative is also really well constructed. The book opens up with a frame story set in a Temple of Melitere, where Geralt is recovering from his injuries.
From there, he tells stories of his greatest exploits, every now and then going back to the present for a short interlude. While each story is modelled on a classic fairytale, they always add something unique and distinctly flavourful. This is, as mentioned earlier, a collection of short stories about the witcher Geralt riding around the countryside, talking to people, killing the occasional monster, and riding on. Sometimes he accepts a contract from a peasant, sometimes from a king.
All that matters is the reward. But you would really miss something. I loved this book both for its simplicity and for its beautiful descriptions, and would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone who loves fantasy, especially those who would like to try something a little different.
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