Saturday, December 1, 2007

The Last Wish

(Amazon.co.uk, Book Depository)

The Last Wish is a mosaic novel by Polish author, Andrzej Sapkowski. I had never heard of him before Filipa on the ASOIAF message board started raving about him on the Literature forum. Sapkowski has been a pretty big name in Poland for the past 20 years, but The Last Wish is his first book to be printed in English and is currently only available in the United Kingdom. So if you want to buy it, you’ll probably have to get it online, although it seems Amazon.co.uk and the Book Depository are both out of stock. Look around and perhaps you can find it.
Like I said above The Last Wish is a mosaic novel, meaning it’s a collection of several short stories in a novel form. The stories are from the Sapkowski’s Witcher series where Witchers are mutant warriors who have been trained to hunt down and destroy monsters. The main character is a Witcher by the name of Geralt who travels from town to town searching for work. The Last Wish is written in a story within a story framework in which Geralt is injured in a battle and has flashbacks to events in his life.
I really, really enjoyed this book. Despite the original language being Polish, the translation is quite good and captures much of Sapkowski’s prose. None of the characters in Sapkowski’s world are black or white; they are all shades of grey, including Geralt and the monsters. In fact, other humans tend to be greater monsters than the ones Geralt is sworn to track down and destroy. The background mythology is incredibly rich and only loosely touched on in the short stories. I thought the only real drawback of the book was that the last story had too neat a resolution to the climax. Other than that, it was great book and can’t wait to read Blood of Elves being released by Gollancz next year.
Final Rating: 9/10.

4 comments:

Calibandar said...

The book is nout of stock, you linked to the hardcover but the trade paperback is in stock.

Benjamin said...

The hardcover is the edition that I bought, but you're right the paperback is in stock. Thanks Calibander.

Peadar said...

Nice review. I'll definitely be giving this guy a try in the new year.

Benjamin said...

Thanks Peadar. I really enjoyed this book and I hope you do too.