The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
"The Last Wish" is a collection of stories about Geralt Rivia, the Witcher, whose occupation is to deal with monsters. This is a frame story in which other stories are the memories that the protagonist recalls as he recovers from a nearly fatal wound.
Readers who enjoy dark fantasy, fables, and fairy tales will love this book. The author retells some well-known fairy tales with ingeunity, such as "Beauty and the Beast" , "Sleeping Beauty," "Rapunzel", and "Snow White", and he also offers unique twists on ancient Eastern European legends such as the strigoi and rusalka, jinn, and even the Fair Folk, Fae or Elves. Some stories are pretty scary, and some are fairly humorous. Some have a little of both. All are written with loving care, with emotional depth, and plenty of action scenes.
Geralt, in my mind, is a hero, but he might be considered an antihero as well. I think he's a hero because he has a very good moral compass, and he makes tough decisions for the overall good. He's not driven by greed, but instead a desire to help people. But he also shows empathy and isn't unncessarily cruel. Even as a monster hunter, he doesn't kill them indiscriminately. His BS detector is well-honed as he deals with crooked humans who want to manipulate him. He's a well-developed character who struggles with the issues all humans face, despite his superhuman qualities.
This series is begging to be a movie, or even better, a cable network series. A thoroughly enjoyable read. I'm excited to continue this series.
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