The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski (The Witcher #0.5 Book Review)

Publisher: Gollancz
Page Count
: 280

It is a well known fact on this blog that I very much like the Netflix adaptation of the Witcher (it made a surprise entry into my favourite shows of 2019 list, because I couldn’t stop watching it upon its release). However, before that, I never played the games and honestly didn’t even know that the books existed. The Last Wish was originally published in 1993 (my birth year, or as I like to call it, the best vintage) and just completely escaped my notice until now. Upon closer inspection, it turned out that The Last Wish wasn’t a Witcher novel but a Witcher anthology instead, with everyone recommending to read it first. That truly explains a lot about this book!

Much like the show, you have to be prepared to not really know when things are happening and what their connection is. Reading The Last Wish, I felt like the show had done a great job, as I could clearly identify the contents of episodes 1 to 5 (not necessarily in that order) within the pages. Some character names were changed (why is Dandilion called Jaskier on the show?) and some might not have appeared yet (or will never appear at all?), but I think I had a grand advantage having watched the show before reading the book. I was prepared for the jumbled up timelines, for the messy tasks Geralt has to perform and for the characters that slowly crept into his heart.

I was especially surprised by the nonchalant mention of several well known fairy tales (such as Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Rapunzel, Snow White, Rumpelstiltskin, etc.), because they weren’t just tales within that universe, they actually happened there (even though in an even more sinister way than most remember it). Some got their own chapter, others were just mentioned in passing, but the inspiration was very clear behind the use of those characters/tales. That really made me think that Geralt was always just a village away from all the nighttime stories I knew so well from my childhood. A strange thought, a bit of a funny one too, but also a befitting one for it helps build a familiarity with an utterly different world.

“Evil is evil, Stregobor,” said the witcher seriously as he got up. “Lesser, greater, middling, it’s all the same. Proportions are negotiated, boundaries blurred. I’m not a pious hermit. I haven’t done only good in my life. But if I’m to choose between one evil and another, then I prefer not to choose at all.”

So, if you pick up The Last Wish, you will find a series of tales introducing Geralt to you. He will show his true character and keep you guessing at what kind of massive mess he has gotten himself into. It ends on such note, that you will want to know more about the (in this version not THAT stoic) witcher and the trials that await him. It’s exactly what was promised on the cover! However, you should not expect a traditional story with beginning, middle and end. There are hints at something that spans greater for sure, but it’s just really not what The Last Wish is.

I am definitely intrigued and would pick up further novels. My only problem for now is that I am an absolute cover snob and this is the only one Netflix has released with the TV show cover and I would like matching ones. There are about eight or nine books in total though, so I feel like the show still has a lot of material to draw from and will hopefully release the other books with the tie-in covers as well!

Never not proud of this drawing I made. Geralt, my foul-mouthed hero.

Fazit: 3/5 stars! Definitely worth a read if you are a fan of the show (or games too, I suppose)!

Have you read any of the Witcher books? Have you played the game? Loved the show? Let’s chat!

What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #24

This will likely be one of the last “normal” posts of the year! Tomorrow there’s the usual trailer post and then come Monday I am going to go WILD with multiple ranking posts almost every day of the week. It’s going to be interesting to see if I can really follow through on it, but I did tweet about it already and am saying it here as well, just to hold myself accountable. Anyway, I watched a lot of stuff and it was as follows:

Marvel’s Runaways (Season 3)

I am really sad this was the last season of the Runaways, but they really did try to give it their all. In some ways that worked better than in others, but I am glad they tried to fit the content of about three seasons into those final ten episodes. Maybe some more time would have helped with certain storylines, but I particularly lived for the cameo of Cloak & Dagger! I love Tandy and Tyrone and they fit in with the other kiddos so well, I basically just wanted them to stay.

While I understand Marvel’s need to start fresh and cancel everything that they didn’t start themselves as canon-part of the greater MCU, I am disappointed they weren’t willing to work with anything pre-existing at all. I understand that there are complex character-specific contracts and that they couldn’t just continue with the Netflix shows (as there are clauses about waiting periods until they can use characters again), but Runaways was produced by hulu which is owned by Disney as well, so I don’t see the issue here …

Lastly, something happened at the end of ep. 9 of the season and I would have never in a million years forgiven them, if they had ended it on that note. They remedied it though, so for that alone, I am already so very grateful. At least I got that!

For fans of: evil parents, teen superheroes, messy relationships, found family, cool cameos

Soundtrack (Season 1)

This show was a bit of a surprise hit for me. Usually, I am not too fond of musical content, but none of the people actually sing on the show, they just use music and lip-syncing to dramatise scenes. Well, that’s not entirely true, since some of the characters are in the music industry, but overall it isn’t really a musical, but rather the OG song of Imagine Dragons starts playing and someone just mouths to it.

While the show looks more on the light side, it had surprising depth to it. As much as I could see this as a standalone season, over the course of the episodes, you really connect with the characters and want to know more about them. Without giving anything away, I love that it has a “This Is Us”-kind of approach to the timeline and really neatly works with those different layers.

For fans of: music, fresh faces, family-centered struggles

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

I feel like, in order to properly review this movie, I would have to go in depth and therefore spoil some of the things that happen in the movie, but I don’t want to do that. So, I am going to try and be very vague. IF you still haven’t watched this and want to go in completely blind, then by all means, feel free to skip everything about this movie and just continue reading about the next show. Overall, I can tell you that I was disappointed with the movie. While I did chuckle and felt entertained during the run time of the film, the movie just didn’t make sense within the universe and was a huge disservice to so many characters. Here it goes:

  • Redemption through death is one of the laziest tropes ever. It’s rarely ever satisfying, it’s an easy cop-out to not do the work and let the character actually show that they are better and I am still mad it was used in this movie.
  • Rose, as a character, was completely sidelined, which made it feel like the writers gave in to the hate and cowardice of the fanboys who harassed Kelly Marie Tran, to the point where she had to leave social media. She had 73 seconds of screentime. Let that sink in.
  • They initially made it seem like this trilogy was about how ANYONE could use the force, not necessarily people of a specific heritage. Also, they negated the statement that everyone has a certain light and darkness in them, by basically saying that a specific character only had “dark” thoughts due to their heritage. Another easy out if you ask me to blame her doubts on her DNA.
  • Finn and Poe had great chemistry, we all saw that! But, to say it in the kind words that Oscar Isaac used, the Disney overlords were too cowardly to do anything with it. Instead they insert a new female character, who’s face you literally never see, just to make sure no one is getting ideas about Poe being anything but straight.
  • Speaking of Finn, his character was also done dirty. I am glad he is force sensitive, but the boy didn’t even get to say whatever he wanted to tell Rey in a precarious situation. Guess we’ll never find out now.
  • They did things with the force that were never done or mentioned before. They weren’t just inconsistent with it in terms of other movies, but within the movie itself it didn’t always work the same way. It’s almost as if it just does whatever they want it to for the convenience of their writing.

Seriously, my highlight of the movie was a little droid who had some unknown past trauma and respectfully rolled away saying “no, thank you” whenever someone tried to touch him. Even more so enjoyed how the good guys all respected that and didn’t force themselves on it. That was my favourite part.

The Witcher (Season 1)

I have neither read the books nor played the games that this show is based on, but I really enjoyed it nonetheless. I want to warn anyone who isn’t sure about watching it that it heavily features nudity (especially of women) and violence, to the point where I sometimes skipped scenes, but it doesn’t deter me from still recommending it as a watch.

It’s definitely a show where you have to pay attention and I would recommend watching it within a short period of time, just because the timelines and story is more complex than it might seem and it took most people (me included) until at least episode 4 for all pieces to really fall into place. I like the world-building a lot though and am glad it already got renewed for another season which will air in 2021. It has a couple minor flaws (some *romantic* relationships were too intense too fast for me, like dude, no way could you fall in love with someone that quickly), but the performances all around were magnificent. The fight choreographies were beautiful, the characters layered and three dimensional and even the animals (shout out to Roach) were cool. I especially liked the dynamic between Geralt and Jaskier, because I love a good we-are-friends-but-I-will-never-admit-that-out-loud-relationship. Also, Henry Cavill gave so much depth to a single “fuck”, I am in awe!

For fans of: Fantasy settings, magical creatures, complex timelines and world-building, Henry Cavill in a weave

Lost in Space (Season 2)

I really liked the last season of Lost in Space (you can read more about it here) and I was really happy to have enjoyed this one as well. First of all, JJ Feild was a great addition to the cast. It’s really never a mistake to have that man on board, please, cast him in more stuff. Second, Don is still one of my most favourite characters. I think the writers picked up on the fact that people didn’t love the underlying romantic tones they gave him with Judy (since she is what? 19?), so there was a lot less of that happening. However, I loved his scenes with Penny. Legit some of the favourite of the season for me. And third, the Robinsons remain a beautiful complex mess of a family and I am here for it.

The season felt different than the last one and I would have preferred some more intimate conversations between a couple characters, but I really liked where we went overall again. Just like last season, it ended on a huge cliffhanger though, so I am just praying we get more episodes. 

For fans of: space adventures, hero-villain-friendships, family dynamics

YOU (Season 2)

I know this show is crazy. I honestly don’t understand how people are swooning over Joe as a character, because it’s a big NO from me. If we are talking about Penn’s performance as Joe though, that’s a whole other story. He very openly advocates for people to look at Joe critically and to not see the show as a “how far are we willing to go for love?”-thing, but rather as a “how far are we willing to go to forgive an evil white man?”, which I applaud him for. And those are legit his words, I did not phrase it like that myself in case some people feel attacked in their white male privileged ego.

I wasn’t sure if a second season with more or less a similar premise would work, but I was positively surprised by how smoothly they made that transition without getting repetitive at all. I would LOVE to talk about so many things but so many of them are spoilers. Let’s just say that I liked how they managed for the viewers to root for Joe to take down another bad guy (like, if someone has to do the dirty work, might as well let it be the “villain”), but I was a bit disappointed with the pay-off from some scenarios. It felt like really good writing that didn’t end up where you sometimes wanted it to. Definitely could see another season in the future and would 100% watch it.

Finally, I did love how ambiguous the whole “did he finally find his match?” tagline for the season was and how I guessed it right though.

For fans of: creepy white man inner monologues, “is that still love?”-questions


Did you watch some of the things as well? Are we on the same wavelength concerning opinions? Let’s chat!