The Last Wish, Andrzej Sapkowski

Hello, lovely nerds!

I mean, you sort of had to realize this one was coming. I love to read fantasy books, there’s this new show on Netflix (maybe you’ve heard of it? The Witcher?) based on a series of fantasy books….

Yeah, I bought the first two books. While only one has arrived so far, it was – thankfully – the first one, so I held out for a day and a half before diving in and finishing it literally in one go.

The Last Wish is the first book in the The Witcher series by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski, and upon which the hit Netflix series is based. There are also games, but I know nothing about them and probably wouldn’t know how to activate the game system required to play them, so here we are with the books.

I enjoyed this – more than I expected to, if we’re being honest with each other. I really liked the show, but it’s the sort of show where you think that maybe that ‘based on’ bit means they took a whole bunch of liberties and the book actually isn’t much like the big screen version (lookin’ at you, I, Robot).

However!

They actually kept astonishingly close to the book! Can we all take a minute to just appreciate that for once, for once and excepting LOTR, entertainment companies haven’t made a complete hash of turning our books into movies or shows? Think about it (or don’t, it’s kind of painful).

This one was actually pretty freakin’ decent. The book obviously has a lot more detail than they were able to fit into the show, and a few of them I think maybe they should have tried to squeeze in, like what the potions are and the purposes they serve for Witchers and so on. However, in large part, the show mirrors what happens in The Last Wish, which I really am still boggled by.

I do wish that Nenneke had been included, because I feel she is the sort of character I’m going to find in the books fairly regularly (I hope, anyway), and also because she is an interesting counterpoint not only to Geralt but also to Yennefer. She is also a badass in her own right, and we always need more of those on-screen.

The writing in the book is interesting, as well. It isn’t as, well, prose-y as I was expecting of a fantasy novel in a series with the scope The Witcher already has (eight books so far, I believe). This makes it both quite captivating in its simplicity and very, very easy to read (see above comment about picking it up and then finishing it, cursing the worldwide stock shortage preventing the second book BEING HERE SO I CAN READ IT). And just in case anyone was wondering, the book has those odd episode/time slips as well, so you can all stop complaining about the way Netflix shot the program. It makes perfect bloody sense according to the book, and how about we all just celebrate a tv show that doesn’t serve up the plot, beginning to end, in teaspoon-sized servings with all the complexity of apple puree? How about we appreciate a book that doesn’t serve up the plot in baby-food servings?? I gotta tell you, it isn’t often these days that I am in any way surprised by what happens in a book. Despite having seen the show, there were still bits in this book that I didn’t see coming. And in a delightful (sort of) turn, since the next season of the show (PRAISE ALL GODS ABOVE, BELOW, AND BESIDE) won’t be out until 2021, I get to read even more of these books without knowing any of what is coming and I am very much looking forward to that.

Worth a read, people. If you can get hold of the damned thing.

 

Image credit: my photograph of my copy of the book.



Categories: Book Reviews, Fantasy

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