The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski

alberta's book reviewsI attend a small sci-fi/fantasy book group. ‘Tis smallish last meeting there was seven of us there to discuss The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski. Out of seven what, I wonder, is the chance of all of them enjoying it? I don’t know but I did expect someone to like it. Nope. I was the only one who not only enjoyed but thought it was the best we had read for the six months I have been part of this group and we have had some really good reads.

I don’t play video games, I never have, so I had not come across these characters before. The characters did come before the games I understand. I enjoyed this book so much it was like a slap across the face that everyone else trashed it so thoroughly. That they found it boring and tedious, it made no sense to them.

That they didn’t find the layers of richness, the insights into changing civilisations, the authenticity of the monsters and fairy tales, that I had, saddened me.

I felt puzzled and out of sync. I had been looking forward to sharing something I had enjoyed with others and it didn’t happen:( ah well these things happen and I really ought to know better; all my life I have found very few books my friends enjoy as I do, they all have have different tastes to moi.

I shall enjoy The Last Wish on my own:)

 

The Last Wish

The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski

Geralt is a witcher, a man whose magic powers, enhanced by long training and a mysterious elixir, have made him a brilliant fighter and a merciless assassin. Yet he is no ordinary murderer: his targets are the multifarious monsters and vile fiends that ravage the land and attack the innocent. He roams the country seeking assignments, but gradually comes to realise that while some of his quarry are unremittingly vile, vicious grotesques, others are the victims of sin, evil or simple naivety.

One reviewer said: ‘This book is a sheer delight. It is beautifully written, full of vitality and endlessly inventive: its format, with half a dozen episodes and intervening rest periods for both the hero and the reader, allows for a huge range of characters, scenarios and action. It’s thought-provoking without being in the least dogmatic, witty without descending to farce and packed with sword fights without being derivative. The dialogue sparkles; characters morph almost imperceptibly from semi-cliche to completely original; nothing is as it first seems. Sapkowski succeeds in seamlessly welding familiar ideas, unique settings and delicious twists of originality: his Beauty wants to rip the throat out of a sensitive Beast; his Snow White seeks vengeance on all and sundry, his elves are embittered and vindictive. It’s easily one of the best things I’ve read in ages.’ Amazon blurb.

The best bit is?  I have discovered this author after  he has written for decades, so I have enjoyment for a couple of years. Yay:)

This post is also part of Musing Mondays

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:

Musing Mondays | BooksAndABeat.com

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION:Which one book would you say everyone must read?

As to this question I have spent the whole day pondering it. One book everyone should read? I believe this a question I find impossible to answer, although I would like to. One’s first thoughts ranges over the classics, many are important life changing, let alone history changing, then I considered the modern authors(last 100 years !) all those amazing books. There is not one I could pick above others. So I admit defeat:)

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Drowning in Books: Musing Mondays

MusingMondays-ADailyRhythm

I am drowning in books.
Order is needed.
Order and self control!

Last year I began to put all my fictional books into an a-z order, tidied them up however I was left feeling dissatisfied. Non fiction was already in a different place. The I pulled out all the short story collections and the poetry putting them into two distinct sections.

Was that better?
It didn’t feel so.
So I left it.

Sometimes one needs to know when to walk away and let ideas stew a bit. Should I leave the rest of fiction together. I found that I, a person not known for her love of labels of any kind, who dislikes ‘genre’ and ‘sub genre’, whose sense of order is erratic to say the least, I wanted more order in these hundreds of books.

How much order did I want?

Did I separate the fantasy into plain fantasy and urban fantasy? Was the sci fi to be separated into dystopian and straight forward sci fi? Did I want the magic realism with the reality fiction or in a patch of its own? Indeed should the fiction be divided into continents, should the continents be sub divided into say North and South America the UK and the rest of Europe? What about translations? What about character driven literature as opposed to plot driven,’ should sagas and series go together or stay with the a-z? What about detective or mystery?

There was no end of bothersomeness:)

Then there was the non fiction.

Well I had moved all the philosophy and ethics into one section already and due to my studies at university food had its own section. Now should I divide science into evolution, general science, should the natural world come under science or should that be divided into its own natural divisions.
And so it goes on, the more one regards this momentous collection the more the problems multiply. I had at one time separated my parents books from mine but then I put them all together, only keeping established classics apart, then I mixed the classics with the A-Z as well, but, should the classics be kept separated?

So far I have separated fiction into short stories, fantasy/urban fantasy, magic realism, sci fi, hard backs, paperbacks, a-z by author and poetry.

Why do I bother? Well it may make it easier when I die of course, easier to get rid of to the correct places. That’s not, I fear, why I want order. I want it for me it is just that I am not very practised in the art!

How do other people do it?

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: What do you do with your books once you’ve read them?

It was sheer coincidence that this question ties up well with the post with all my puzzlement as how to order my books. The inevitable thought comes up – why do I have so many? Why not use the library? Well, I do use the library, always have, but I am an addictive book buyer. I am also a book re-reader and if I have a sudden desire for a certain book it is too frustrating to wait until

A) The library is open
B) To find it is out on loan for next six weeks!

Every house move I make I do shed some of the load to libraries , charity shops etc but that is getting harder as my books age. also I cant stop buying books!

I try not to buy books, I do try, but like all addicts it is very difficult. I saw two yesterday at the supermarket, on their second hand stall, which looked really interesting, by an author I do not know. It used to be a second hand book stand for charity, donations that one thought was fair.  I had managed not to look at it for months in an attempt not to buy any more so I hadn’t noticed it had changed to a book exchange stand. Now there was a thought, could I find some books I know I will never want to read again, could I bring some books here each week to leave for others to read. I would only take back if something interesting came up:) Maybe it is worth a try. Wont reduce the piles tottering in the book room by very much but a drip of water eventually can wear away rock.

But. . But. . Do I have a few million years:)

 

The Last Prospector by Cairn Rodrigues

prospector cover

Solstice is a world apart, created by a mysterious Boss and shaped by tempers of warring twin goddesses. Once it was a playground for sisters Ylumya and Ynoirya, but then the wars began. Now Solstice is the stage for the final battle between light and dark. Everyone must choose a side. The Boss sired the first prospector 1,000 years ago. Charged to search for a treasure unnamed, an unbroken line of men have been caretakers, shepherds and warriors for Solstice since the misty times. Now, Grayme Ceruleya is the last prospector, he is destined to find the treasure. But what happens to Solstice when he does?

A runaway slave dies giving birth alone in the desert. The nomads who find the baby don’t realize that the child is the pawn of the gods and wields more power than they can comprehend. Except for one boy, broken-hearted Tonyo who makes a tremendous sacrifice to ensure the baby’s safety. In Solstice the unlikely is probable, magicks are mundane and all the stories are true.

It’s a land of stunning natural beauty, filled with exotic wildlife and vibrant cultures. Powerful factions like the whore’s guild make the rules, ancient enemies find new strength and dreamers are waking up all across the land with one message. The Final war between the Twins has started. A victor must be decided this time.

Where to purchase  – The Last Prospector by Cairn Rodrigues and where to find Cairn

Amazon  http://amzn.to/1dnQYjR

Blog  http://thelightstealerssong.com/

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/TheLastProspector

Twitter  https://twitter.com/CairnRodrigues

G+  google.com/+CairnRodrigues

Goodreads  http://bit.ly/19XGeYR

 

I have recently read this book for review purposes, with a little trepidation as it isn’t really in my normal genre, but I enjoyed it immensely

My review on Goodreads:

I did so enjoy this book – many times with fantasy I am disappointed – not this time though. The world here is drawn so well – it could almost be ours, but so obviously is not – the characters are real and all interesting. Descriptions are fantastic from the landscape, through different cultures, history down to the mundane – the food, the dirty clothes. I was standing right there eavesdropping.

This is a tale of  the many. Divers people are traveling to unknown destinations led by dreams. Their stories are interwoven so well; it is not always easy to write about so many characters and keep them as distinct beings, or to keep the story untangled.

I also found pleasing the lack of sword and sorcery which seems to dictate so much fantasy these days. There is magic, almost everyday affairs, strange creatures that are such acceptable beings I could wish we had them here in reality:) but this is mainly a story of people caught up in the games of the gods. A story of the power play of some and the helplessness of many.

The opening scene is brilliant and drew me in with excitement to find what happens.

(Disclaimer, I was given this book to read and am very pleased I was too – sometimes if I am asked to read I cannot honestly find much to write that would please anyone but, I am looking forward to reading the next instalment in this tale. A new author for me to follow.)

2013 reading challenges round up: alberta ross

So how did I do with my 2013 Reading Challenges?

I read a staggering 122 books in 2013, I think probably the most I have read, the numbers were boosted quite a bit by the children and YA novels I read or re-read for my A-Z challenge, they are of course much easier reads, and some very short. I read books in various genres, and enjoyed a good 95% of them. Which I count as a huge bonus in life.

There are too many to post here so if you wish to view them here’s the link to my Goodread challenge.

I have divided my reads into challenges and genre here

Goodreads: 122

of these the following

TBR: 63

New Authors: 84

Dystopian: 7

Telling Tales: 18 (fairy/myth)

Chunky: 9 (450+ pages)

Tea and Books 5 (650+ pages)

E-books: 12

What’s in a Name:Didn’t quite fulfill this one:(

Keyword:Nor this one:(

Indie: not sure as I find it difficult to work out who is Indie and who isn’t)  but I am sure I read quite a few. I have joined an Indie author group on Goodreads sothis year I will be able to keep a better track of this category.

I didn’t find a challenge last year for Non Fiction, YA,Fantasy etc. as such, but I have separated them out and discovered I read

Non Fiction: 26

YA: 13

Fantasy: 19

Rereads: 14

Historical Fiction: 7

I obviously have a yen for non fiction and fantasy/mythology – a strange mixture:) I really enjoy reading new authors, living always in the hope of finding new ones who can keep them coming for me. I ran out of many of my favorites decades ago:(

I have been dismal at commenting on all these books and will have to do better in 2014. I have a few more drafted from the list which I will post during the next couple of weeks,

Now for this year’s challenge and the huge tottering pile waiting for me.

So what is Fantasy exactly?

senior hands on a bible

So what is Fantasy exactly? These genres confuse an old lady mightily. Books I was brought up on, which just seemed like exciting /interesting tales have to be split into genre’s? Genre, being a subject there seems to be much debate about because, of course, stories do not like being confined by boundaries, so no sooner than it is decided what consists a particular genre, than sub divisions and alternatives creep out from under the fence and leap to freedom, to divide and multiply as they should.

There are purists who firmly draw lines under the boundary fences, and the other free’er spirits who chase after the new, hearts pounding in excitement at the novelty.

So what is fantasy when it is at home?

Fiction, with no doubt, is the first and most fantastical of all. Authors create worlds, people them with non existent characters and spin a tale of pure imagination around them.

I’m afraid though that the individual levels of genre I am easily confused and often impatient at the necessity to name stories so. Since writing my own books I have had to struggle with genre, it taking years before I was anywhere near finding one that suited. But, I have discovered that many of the books I have enjoyed reading in the past come under the title of magic realism.

What?

Well magic accepted as everyday aspects, needing little or no explanation, okay I understand that – just – however, what basically is the difference between that and a fantasy story which is set in the real world and has magic in it? ‘Tis a difference of only one or two degrees. In the first, magic mustn’t be the main aspect (sorry in The Particular Sadness of Lemons, the magic of knowing what others were feeling and experiencing and where it happened when a particular food was made, is kind of the whole point of the story. Yet despite magic being a central part it is magic realism not fantasy.

Ah well, booksellers must have their way I suppose, it has meant the reading challenges I entered have become all the harder, as I have to search to find out what genre exactly I am reading, when it comes to all things fantastical. Fairy tale /legend/myth or fantasy/sci fi or magic realism or. . or. . .or. . .

I am getting there,but only by researching, it is not really apparent with many of them. After all shouldn’t fairy tales come under fantasy, shouldn’t myth and legend? And what to do about ghosts, are they ghost stories or fantasy?Or werewolves and angels, should they not be paranormal or are they fantasy? Does it depend on whether the reader believes in an after life? If a murder is solved using magic, is it a murder mystery, a fantasy or a fairy tale?

I need to separate my reading challenge books into fantasy and also into fairy/myth. The lines blur dreadfully but am slowly sorting it out. Why, oh why, can we not just have, BOOKS.

I can hear you devotees of labels stirring impatiently so I will cease my rambles and confess to having found that I enjoy two genres I knew nothing about, magic realism and urban fantasy (well specifically London urban fantasy, as all those I enjoy are set in the city of my birth.

I am putting them into my fantasy challenge collection which means it is now burgeoning out of control as it was already full of traditional fantasy – dragons, imaginary kingdoms and the like. Who would have an old lady such as moi, cynic as I am would fall into the genre trap:)