Escape Velocity

A curated Collection of Fantasy and Science Fiction Media

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Geralt of Rivia is a Witcher, trained to fight monsters of all shapes and sizes.

As Geralt travels the continent in search of bounties to earn his coin with, he is confronted with a difficult truth: some monsters are fairer than others, and some monsters are not even monsters at all.

After enjoying almost every other piece of media in The Witcher universe, fate finally enabled me to check out the source material, a collection of short stories about Geralt of Rivia and his adventures as a witcher.

To directly cut to the chase, I thought Sapkowski’s prose was pleasant to read. With a lot of “show” and little “tell” and altogether short scenes, it’s easy to race through the different stories in this collection. The episodic format perfectly suits the setting, which is primarily defined by grim representation of well-known fairy tales and Polish folklore, grey moralities and dry humour. The way Sapkowski builds his narrative is something I haven’t encountered earlier, simple but effective, with multiple occasions in which the reader is invited to fill up the blanks themselves. It is a storytelling technique I’d like to try myself one time.

I enjoyed The Last Wish, but I can’t help but wonder if it still holds up if you’re not already taken in by the universe and its characters. Though the stories occasionally offer some good food for thought with their themes, there is little else. There are some elements of mystery, but the other building blocks of the stories can often be reduced to violence and an ambiguous role for the female characters, who might often come across as strong, but are certainly also catered to the male gaze. In that regard, some might see The Last Wish as just another sword and sorcery fantasy novel.

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