Wednesday 29 July 2020

#CBR12 Book 49: "The Last Wish" by Andrzej Sapkowski

Page count: 360 pages
Audio book length: 10 hrs 27 mins
Rating: 3.5 stars

#CBR12 Bingo: Repeat (since I've already covered the Adaptation square)

Geralt of Rivia is a Witcher. This means he roams about the countryside, travelling from place to place, killing monsters for profit. To become a Witcher, he was taken from his family as a child, and long training, magic and special potions make him a strong, fast and highly efficient killer. Based on the stories in this collection, it seems that once, there were a lot more Witchers, now they are rare and unusual, and Geralt is often feared and reviled by the villagers who hire him to help them. 

Geralt seems to have very few friends, with the exception of the bard Dandelion. He also seems to rest up at a convent, confiding his adventures to the Mother Superior every so often (this seemed to be the framing narrative of the stories).

I have very little knowledge of or experience with the popular series of games that were adapted from this. Nor have I yet started the Netflix series, despite the fine figure of Henry 'OMGHISGL' Cavill starring as Geralt. So I cannot tell you how accurate an adaptation of the source material the show is. I've heard good things, and while I found the frame narrative of this short story collection a bit confusing, I liked the way the author took various elements of folklore and established fairy tales and gave them his own twist. The original Polish books were written in the 1990s, and I wish the portrayal of women was a bit more nuanced. I've heard that the female characters of the TV show are quite varied, interesting and complex - so that's probably a good update.  

I listened to this in audio, and because it consisted of a series of short stories, it took me a few months to get through it. The narrator is generally fine, but I didn't much care for the way he does Geralt's voice, which becomes a bit of a problem when Geralt is the main character of the stories. I found the stories interesting enough that I'll probably get round to reading the rest in the future, but I'm not feeling any immediate need. 

Judging a book by its cover: Obviously, for something that has been out for as many years as this book, published in a number of countries and languages, there are also many different covers. After the Netflix series was produced, there are also several different tie-in covers available. On mine, Geralt is in the middle of fighting some legendary beastie, possibly a dragon. It looks dynamic and exciting. 

Crossposted on Cannonball Read

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