I'm currently behind on reviews, so don't be surprised if the recent reviews are a bit sparse.

The Last Wish

Cover of The Last Wish.

Finally catching up with some European fantasy โ€“ I haven’t watched the show, but I’ve played some of the games, and I’m generally aware of what’s going on in-universe. I knew the book was fairly episodic going into it, which might have been a problem otherwise.

It’s really decent fantasy, is what it is. The world feels solid the same way the games do, with actual professions and politics, currencies and distances and other central European shenanigans, while also having clearly a backdrop that is alive in the author’s mind, without dropping all of the history on us.

The stories are dark, grim, realistic. There’s violence, there’s rape, and there are absolutely no damsels in distress thankful for their rescue. The Witchers are explained as much as possible, and the fact that they are the last of their line and that that’s not a bad thing gets through better than in the games. The stories do everything: inverted Beauty & Beast, mutant Rapunzel, Snow White, โ€ฆ

The (German) translation is decent, but uneven. The sentences are often off, but the vocabulary is brilliant and I learnt several new words while reading this book. Dialogue is the best of it, if and when it works.

But the pacing is odd, and the protagonist has the worst case of protagonist syndrome I’ve seen in a while โ€“ I don’t feel like I’ve wasted my time, but I’m also not keen on continuing.