Review: The Last Wish

The Last Wish (The Witcher, #1)The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After spending almost two months enmeshed in the video game “Witcher 3: Wild Hunt,” I wanted to explore more of Geralt’s world. While the game itself was made very accessible to a newcomer in the series (despite being based on a book series and being the third game), I knew there was so much more going on that deeper fans would understand that I was missing out on. So here I am, having finished the first book, which is a collection of short stories.

“The Last Wish” made me realize how narrow my world can be sometimes. That sounds bad, doesn’t it? It makes it sound like this was a bad book. But it’s not.

“The Last Wish” was written in 1992. It’s been out there, all this time, and yet I was wholly unaware of it until it gained enough fans to warrant a translation into English. How many other wonderful worlds are out there that I’m oblivious to? How many amazing stories are there to discover? I’ve heard constantly that the fantasy genre is shackled to the formula set down by Tolkien, but it wasn’t until “the Last Wish” that I realized what a breath of fresh air it was to be in a different style of world.

Don’t get me wrong, there are still elves and dwarves here, but the core of the Witcher’s world, the skeleton of it is based on dark fairy tales. It’s not the same old fantasy, but it reminds me of the early days when I’d first discovered fantasy novels and that feeling of diving headfirst into a mythical world. I’ve grown jaded and bitter in my grizzled old age, having read so many stories that followed along the well-worn path. But “the Last Wish” proves that there’s more out there, more to be discovered. It’s a good feeling and a great reminder.

And the book itself? You don’t need to play the game to read this book; if you like fantasy AT ALL, it’s worth your time. But there’s a very good chance you’ll want to pick up a controller after spending even a little time in Geralt’s world. Either that, or the next book in the series. Either way, it’s worth your time.

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Happy New Year (Seven Days Late!)

Welcome to 2016! What? It’s already been 2016 for an entire week? What do you mean? Where have I been? Why am I writing so many questions?

Indeed. Where have I been? New Year’s Day was a week ago tomorrow. Everyone else already shuffled through the New Year’s Day hangover and made resolutions, unfogged their brains, and then went back to work and life. What have I been doing, that it took me a week to woke up?

Well, due to a convergence in the schedules, I ended up with a solid seven days off from work. Seven days. IN A ROW. Without spending any vacation days. See, what happened was that my schedule was set to rotate to a new one in 2016. The combination of having Friday off (New Year’s Day), my old schedule having the last part of the week off and my new schedule having the first part of the week off, it created this unbroken string of days that did not require me to wear pants.

What did I do with all my free time? Well, I’m happy to say I did go for a few hikes, including one hike while it was snowing, and that was lovely. But mostly I gamed. I gamed hard.

My intended furnished me with several video games over the holidays, including the Witcher 3 and Fallout 4. Both of these games are absolutely massive, sprawling world RPGs that can easily devour 100 hours or more. EACH.

Basically, it was an epic video game bender. It was glorious.

But it’s glorious because it’s the kind of thing you do very rarely. It was fun to laze about for a week, accomplish nothing, ignore my email, and basically lose myself in the digital worlds. But it’s hard to do that for too long without it starting to affect your mind and not in a “video games rot your brain” kind of way, but more like “I need to actually be doing something again so I don’t become a shell of a person.”

It reminded me of how it was to be in my late teens and early twenties; even though I was in college, even though I had a job, gaming binges like that were what I loved most. But as I’ve gotten older (and I am older now, my 29th birthday was Dec. 24), my gaming time has become more selective, dare I say, more mature. I’ll go for long periods without playing anything. I’ll play for a few hours after dinner and dishes are done. The binge days are long over. And that’s a good thing. For the most part.

It was fun to lose myself for a while, but only for a while. I’m dusting off the cobwebs from my brain and getting back to work. I’ve got a day job that I love and I’ve got a novel that I’m excited about. I’ve got my wedding coming up and man if that isn’t making the time fly. There’s a lot going on. Life is good and there’s a lot to do and I wouldn’t change anything else about it.

The virtual world is a fun place to visit. I’m going to keep on visiting, because oh my god you guys these games are so much fun. But the binge is over. And I’m glad that it is. I don’t think I’d want to live that way, even if I could.