Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Witcher - The Last Wish

So now that life has geared down a bit for the holidays I've had a chance to do some reading. Strolling around the mall the other day while waiting for new passports photos I pushed my way into Indigo books and took a look around. I really hadn't intended on buying anything but a couple books caught my eye so I picked them up.

The first book is The Last Wish. I written by a Polish best selling author and only translated into English a couple years ago. Its not a tough read and I tore through it in 3 nights. The tale is really a collection of short stories connected through a meta story that separates each part.

The witcher is a monster hunter, a human who was taken as a child and subjected to various experiments that makes him faster, stronger, and heal quicker than regular humans as well as see in the dark. Geralt, the protagonist, withstood the experiments better then most and so was subjected to more which left his with no skin or hair pigmentation.

The world itself is either heavily influenced by D&D or they share many common sources. The book has a rather dark sense of humor and most of the short stories are twists on fairy tales. One thing I really like about the setting is that magic is somewhat, well magical. In D&D, everyone (the players anyway) know what magic is and what it can do. In this world, magic is much more mysterious and there is always a great deal grey. There is no black and white clearly defined rule sets. For example, a mad wizard proclaimed that all princesses born after an eclipse would be cursed with evil. So all of these princesses were locked in towers (because killing them would be inhumane). Unfortunately there was a period where it became fashionable for princes to rescue these maidens. The rescued princesses then sought out revenge on the wizard who locked them up, which the wizards used as proof the women are evil.

There are lots of clever twists on the genre and the book is a worth while read. The witcher makes me want to try out the new magus class that is being play tested by Paizo. Very similar flavor.

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