Book Reviews

The Last Wish and Sword of Destiny: Tales of The Witcher by Andrzej Sapokowski: Book Review

This is a spoiler-free review.

The Last Wish and Sword of Destiny: Tales of The Witcher by Andrzej Sapokowski

Published December 14th, 2008 (first January 31st 1993) & May 19th, 2015 (first May 21st, 1992) by Orbit.

My rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Geralt of Rivia is a Witcher. A cunning sorcerer. A merciless assassin. And a cold-blooded 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.

“The sword of destiny has two blades. You are one of them. But what is the other?”

I remember the day my partner came home and told me excitedly about a new series coming out on Netflix she said we HAD to watch. It was based off one of her favourite video games and she just KNEW I would love it.

Well, she was right. I did.

After binge-watching the series in a day (an all-time record for me), I knew I had to get my hands on the books that inspired it as soon as I could.

I know I’m pretty late to the party, but gosh, I’m so glad I finally found The Witcher. As a long time fan of the fantasy genre, I honestly don’t know how it took me so long. But I’m not complaining – this series was definitely worth the wait.

The Last Wish and Sword of Destiny are both prequels to the rest of The Witcher series, compiled of short episodic stories that serve to introduce the reader into the world of Geralt of Rivia. Alongside him you meet his travelling musical companion Dandelion and his lover Yennefer, a sorceress, as well as the young princess Ciri – whose fate is mysteriously tied to his. Each story is compelling in its own right. The tales are somewhat self-contained, and show Geralt as he travels around the world, hunting monsters (and protecting other beings incorrectly labeled as such) while being forced to deal with cheap, cunning and devious (though sometimes generous and kind) humans along the way.

The first thing I noticed while reading these books was how easy it was to make my way through them. I’m used to fantasy books that are overly complicated and ardently descriptive, sometimes having to slog my way through them just so I can find out what happens in the end out of my sheer need for completion of the story. The world of The Witcher is by no means any less vast and full of intricate lore as those other stories, but it finds a way to show it in much more consumable pieces; each one managing to be easily digestible and satisfying, but so good that you can’t help yourself from wanting more.

It was a real treat to read these prequel stories. They were so interesting I couldn’t help but read them almost constantly until I finished, but the task never felt as daunting as it can with some other books in this genre. I read them quickly from a sheer sense of interest to find out what came next – not because I was worried if I waited too long I’d forget all the little details that strung the story together.

I also loved the overall premise (which I won’t go into detail for fear of spoiling), and can’t wait to see how it develops in the later novels in the series. I love that there are strong female characters like Yennefer. In books where the protagonist is a lady killer like in this one, that isn’t always the case. Though my favourite character by far is Ciri – she’s little kid adorable with the spirit of a spitfire, and exactly what Geralt is in need of. I’m looking forward to seeing more from her in the future! (I’ve been slightly spoiled for what’s to come by my partner who has played the games, but if anything that’s just made me more excited to see how it all unravels!)

If your interest has been peeked by my review, then my recommendation is – in the words of Jaskier (or Dandelion if you’re like me and prefer the original) – toss a coin to your Witcher, and buy yourself these books. You won’t be disappointed.

Have you read The Witcher, watched the TV show or played the video games?

What were your thoughts?

Let me know!

Liza is a twenty-something book blogger who spends way too much time with her nose in books and feels way too much. She loves cooking, baking, reality tv show watching and, of course, reading. She can be found most often with a cup of tea in one hand and a book in the other. Her blog, Literary Liza, features bookish content like reviews, recommendations, and author interviews.

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