The Last Wish (The Witcher, 0.5) by Andrzej Sapkowski – Spoiler Free Review

Publisher: Orbit

Publication Date: 1993 (Originally. Edition shown in photo published 2019)

Genre: High Fantasy, Magic, Short Stories, Adventure

Adventure Rating: 4.5 Stars

Amazon

” Geralt of Rivia is a witcher. A cunning sorcerer. A merciless assassin. And a cold-blooded killer. His sole purpose: to destroy the monsters that plague the world. But not everything monstrous-looking is evil and not everything fair is good… and in every fairy tale there is a grain of truth.

A collection of short stories introducing Geralt of Rivia, to be followed by the first novel in the actual series, The Blood of Elves. Note that, while The Last Wish was published after The Sword of Destiny, the stories contained in The Last Wish take place first chronologically, and many of the individual stories were published before The Sword of Destiny. “

Where to start… First let me say, if you want to watch the show, I highly recommend you read up through book one. Read The Last Wish, Sword of Destiny, AND Blood of Elves first. In the show, there are multiple timelines that cover each of those books.

Anyways, each short story is like a Grimm Fairytale that is even more grim. (Ha. Ha. Ha.) They don’t really end in happy endings and they are often filled with gore. I loved it. They were really dark. My favorite was the Beauty and the Beast one of course. Again, no happy endings, but it was very interesting! Each story is setting you up for the first book, Blood of Elves. And it’s basically Geralt’s back story.

Geralt is fascinating to read about. He acts like he has no feelings but he does. His character development is really well done. The world is changing and he has to change with it. Or die out. It’s really about him navigating his dying profession of monster killing, and where to go from there.

My favorite character is Dandelion (not pronounced like the weed but pronounced more like Dan-DILL-ion). He was the comic relief and the cinnamon roll of the series. I love him. He is a traveling bard who is a quick thinker and has sassy come-backs. He’s a good contrast to Geralt. And Yennefer for that matter.

I’m not really sure how I feel about Yennefer yet. She’s kind of a mysterious morally grey character. She is cool, I just don’t know if I like her yet.

This book was FULL of adventure. I was surprised at how fast I fell in love with it. No wonder it’s insanely popular. It’s dark, intense, and just fun to read. I’m officially a fan of The Witcher!

Have you read this? What did you think? Let’s discuss!

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The Harp of Kings (The Warrior Bards, #1) by Juliet Marillier – Spoiler Free Review

Publisher: Ace Books

Publication Date: September 03, 2019

Genre: High Fantasy

Adventure Rating: 4 Stars

Amazon

A young woman is both a bard–and a warrior–in this thrilling historical fantasy from the author of the Sevenwaters novels.

Eighteen-year-old Liobhan is a powerful singer and an expert whistle player. Her brother has a voice to melt the hardest heart, and a rare talent on the harp. But Liobhan’s burning ambition is to join the elite warrior band on Swan Island. She and her brother train there to compete for places, and find themselves joining a mission while still candidates. Their unusual blend of skills makes them ideal for this particular job, which requires going undercover as traveling minstrels. For Swan Island trains both warriors and spies.

Their mission: to find and retrieve a precious harp, an ancient symbol of kingship, which has gone mysteriously missing. If the instrument is not played at the upcoming coronation, the candidate will not be accepted and the people could revolt. Faced with plotting courtiers and tight-lipped druids, an insightful storyteller, and a boorish Crown Prince, Liobhan soon realizes an Otherworld power may be meddling in the affairs of the kingdom. When ambition clashes with conscience, Liobhan must make a bold decision and is faced with a heartbreaking choice. . . “

*Thank you so much to Ace for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review!*

This was my first Juliette Marillier book and I quite enjoyed it! It was a very traditional fantasy. Meaning it was more focused on the characters, I think, than the plot. Which I am completely fine with! It had elves, magic, druids, bards, and warriors! It reminded me a tad bit of an RPG!

Characters. Almost all of the character names were pronounced differently than how they were spelled. I was very thankful for the pronunciation guide at the beginning of the book! Liobhan (sounds like Leevahn), is totally BA. I really liked her personality. She was very headstrong and always did what she thought was right, and not necessarily what she wanted. She also had a feminine side to her that I appreciated. Why can’t women be BA AND very feminine?! She played her spy role fairly well I think! Dau. Oh sweet Dau. I think he is a cinnamon roll (and I NEVER use that term!) He has a very hard exterior but once you get to know him, your heart breaks for him. Brocc is a total sweetie. He has a bit of a secret past as well that he tries to run away from but it ends up finding him. He has musical magic abilities which I found really cool!

Plot. All three main character POV go on a quest to find a missing harp. Obviously A LOT of things happen during their quest. And there is a bigger plot happening that we have yet to really find out about! Plus a few mini plots that are happening. There is a lot to read about! We just get a teaser of what looks to be some pretty cool dark magic at hand. I hope we find out more in book 2!

Writing. I am officially a big fan of Marillier’s now! She really has a way of drawing you into the story so much so that it was hard sometimes to come back into the real world.

Final Thoughts. Really enjoyed it! Can’t wait to read another one of her books and the second book to this series! Harp of Kings reads like a nostalgic bedtime story. That ending was a tear-jerker! And I have questions! And I want to see if my ship sails…

Have you read a Juliet Marillier book? If so, what is your favorite?

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