Book Review: The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski

The Last Wish
Genre: Fantasy/Sword & Sorcery
Series: The Witcher
Author info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrzej_Sapkowski

This is the first book of the renowned Witcher series, which inspired the popular video games. I am a gamer but I never played Witcher cause it was never available on my console, and I didn’t want to crowd my life with another console just to play this game. Reading the book made me consider getting a Ps4 so I can play the glorious Witcher 3 on it.

The Last Wish is a collection of loosely connected short stories, which retell the familiar fairy tales with dark, gritty and bloody twists. I didn’t recognize all of them, but the ones I did recognize were quite twisted and great fun to read.

Many reviewers compared The Last Wish to pulp sword & sorcery classics like Robert Howard’s Conan and Michael Moorcock’s Elric books, and they are right on point. I haven’t read any Conan books yet, but I’ve read a few Elric books and it certainly has the old school pulpy sword and sorcery feel.

Geralt is quite an intriguing and charismatic character, he has legions of fans thanks to the video games, but also many that have read the books. If you head to deviantart and search for Geralt, you will find some fan art by incredibly talented artists. Geralt is a witcher, raised by the Witcher Guild who take kids at young age, erase their memories and mutate them with harsh elixirs, poisons and infections. They hunt monsters for a living, save the people from murderous creatures. Some towns treat them like vermin, some barely tolerate them cause of the job they do, few places show them respect.

Geralt’s friends, high priestess Nenneke and trubadour Dandilion are highly entertaining characters. Their bickering with Geralt is hilarious and adds a bit of good humor to the stories loaded with bloody, brutal fights, plenty of suspense and and hardcore action scenes. Some people find Dandilion annoying as hell but I liked him. He sort of reminded me of the Kender Tasslehoff from Dragonlance, minus the nasty thieving habit. Instead of thieving, he invites trouble with his big mouth and whines too much. He is also a womanizer who eyeballs every attractive female. Geralt eyeballs them too, but doesn’t make it too obvious and acts aloof.

Nenneke on the other hand, plays the nurturing yet snarky mother role for Geralt and patches him up whenever he gets too many cuts on his hide. She also gives hell to Geralt’s enemies who show up at the temple to plague him.

Queen Calanthe is another great supporting character and her banter with Geralt is highly entertaining. Yennefer, Geralt’s love interest I know from all the fan art I’ve seen around is also introduced in this book. She is as dysfunctional and goat-headed as Geralt, and a powerful sorceress with a mercenary personality. She is arrogant and coquettish, and has some hilarious as well as dramatic and violent scenes. I think there will be a lot of fun to be had in the next books featuring her.

I particularly liked the small towns, villages, pastoral settings and Slavic mythology elements. The balance of snarky humor, dark scenes and high-paced action is great. This book makes an excellent light reading material in between intense grimdark books. I am definitely going to read all the rest of them, Geralt pretty much sold me on the whole series.

Naturally the prose Polish friends spoke highly of and a quite a few  jokes got lost in translation, and there are a few rough edges here and there but it is a great read nonetheless.

I highly recommend this book to the fans of Sword and Sorcery, old school pulp fantasy, as well as people looking for settings that are different from medieval Western Europe (it’s Polish setting), ladies who are looking for a bad boy character to have a crush on, fans of fantasy with a bit of humor and hilarious bickering, and people who are looking for a nice light read after nightmare fuel grimdark books.

I sure as hell loved it!

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite New Authors I Read For The First Time In 2015

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesdays meme is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish and this week’s theme is the top 10 new authors I read in 2015. Many of them are established, some are even international bestsellers but I picked up reading again in late 2014 and discovered those great names this year. I haven’t done that much reading in 2015, since I’m too busy finishing my own book, and I read multiple books by the same authors so my list is rather short. I am adding the authors I have discovered and added to TBR to make it 10.

Here is my Top 10:

Authors whose books I have read in 2015:

1. Mark Lawrence

Discovered via the blogosphere looking for gritty fantasy to read while waiting for the new ASOIAF and Second Apocalypse books – I can safely say that Mark is the author of the future classics and the new king of Grimdark.
I’ve read 5 books by Mark Lawrence in 2015 and looking forward to The Wheel of Osheim. Future classics, I’m telling you!

2. Joe Abercrombie

I discovered Abercrombie along with Mark Lawrence, when I was looking for books to read to cure my ASOIAF hangover. I’m now a big fan of The First Law series. Joe’s characters are something else. Sand dan Glokta is the Raskolnikov of fantasy literature.

3. Graham Austin-King

Discovered via Facebook. Graham’s Riven Wyrde Saga is an awesome fantasy read. It has the dose of great magic lacking in the realistic fantasy books, yet it’s not your typical heroic epic fantasy. I particularly liked the martial arts training in the first book, the Norse inspired elements and the alien Fae world. Book 3 is releasing this Thursday, I’m so looking forward to read it!

4. Michael R. Fletcher

Discovered via word of mouth and blogosphere -I’m 320 pages into Beyond Redemption and utterly impressed with the depth of the characters ands the gritty setting. This book is a grimdark masterpiece.

Authors I discovered and added to TBR in 2015:

5. Robin Hobb

Discovered via word of mouth, my bookish friends swear up and down by the Farseer Trilogy and I’m planning to read it as soon as I finish the immediate review stack.

6. Mazarkis Williams

Discovered via social media, later on I found out she beta read The Broken Empire books by Mark Lawrence. Added Tower and Knife Trilogy to my TBR, the books sound quite promising for a fantasy lover.

7. Michael Sullivan

Discovered via Reddit /r/fantasy and the denizens there convinced me to read his Riyria series. I bought the first few books, planning to read them soon.

8. Sarah J. Maas

Discovered via blogosphere -since the majority of the book bloggers out there are focused on YA and everyone has been hyping the Throne of Glass series, I am planning to read it soon.

9. Marissa Meyer

Discovered via blogosphere -Lunar Chronicles sounded quite promising (even though I am not interested in reading scifi) so I decided to give it a shot.

10. Victoria Schwab

Discovered via blogosphere -A Darker Shade of Magic sounded very intriguing so I added it to my 2016 TBR as well.

What is your top ten?

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books To Movies I Can’t Wait For

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesdays meme is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish and this week’s theme is the books we can’t wait to see on the big screen.

Here is my Top 10:

1. Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss

They already optioned this, so I expect to see a movie soon enough. It will be interesting to see how they will adapt a story with no plot. It will be a difficult one for sure.

My reviews for the books:

The Name of The Wind

The Wise Man’s Fear


2. The Broken Empire by Mark Lawrence

Gritty as gritty goes, I’m dying to see a movie adaptation of this magnificent trilogy. I think Jorg will have millions of fangirls if they ever make it a movie of these books.

My reviews for the books:

Prince of Thorns

King of Thorns

Emperor of Thorns


3. The First Law trilogy by Joe Abercrombie

Who wouldn’t want to see Sand dan Glokta on the big screen? Though I’m looking forward to Ferro kicking arse and Bloody Nine going nine kinds of berserk.

My review for the first book here:

The Blade Itself

4. The Prince of Northing by R. Scott Bakker

This is one guaranteed to make the Game of Thrones look like a Disney princess movie. It’s the epitomy of grimdark allright! But I doubt I will see a movie adaptation of it in my lifetime.

My reviews for the series:

The Darkness That Comes Before
The Warrior Prophet
The Thousandfold Thought


5. The Empire Trilogy by Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts

Oldies but goodies -this is the second fantasy series I have read after Tolkien and it has a special place in my heart. It features superb political intrigue, a powerful and exceptionally intelligent female lead and a cast of awesome secondary characters. I think it would make a great series of movies. Which reminds, I need to re-read this series and write reviews that’s long overdue too, damnit!


6. The Riftwar Saga by Raymond E. Feist

This is the prequel to The Empire Trilogy (though The Empire Trilogy can be read as a standalone) and the first fantasy series I have read after the Tolkien books. I think it would make a fantastic movie series.

See my reviews for the books:

Magician (Apprentice and Master)
Silverthorn
A Darkness in Sethanon


7. Dark Elf Trilogy by R.A. Salvatore

I don’t know about you but I can’t wait to see Drizzt and his magical pet panther Guenhwyvar on the big screen. If they could make an accurate Menzoberranzan it would be a total delight to watch.

8. Dragonlance Chronicles by Margret Weis and Tracy Hickman

This series has millions of fans worldwide, yet they never bothered making movies or even a TV show of it save for that pathetic, 70’s style cartoon pilot. It’s a total shame, really. I hope some day we will get to see Raistlin on the big screen or at least on TV… Some day…

Read my reviews for the books:

Dragons of Autumn Twilight
Dragons of Winter Night
Dragons of Spring Dawning

9.The Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny

It’s such a shame they never made a movie of this cult classic of fantasy literature. It would make a terrific tv series if anything! But movies would be great. I think Benedict Cumberbatch would make a fantastic Corwin!

10. The Elric Saga by Michael Moorcock

Another older cult classic, another way overdue movie adaptation fans have been waiting for decades. Sword and Sorcery is never out of fashion and I think it would be fairly successful if they made movies of the Elric books.

See my review here

Elric Saga: Part 1

What is your top ten?