Witcher Books Ranked: Why ‘The Last Wish’ is Number One

Why ‘The Last Wish’ is the Best Witcher Book

If you are a fan of the Witcher Netflix original show, or of the acclaimed video game, then you might be excited to dive into the books. However, upon initial discovery, you realize that chronology of the Witcher books is somewhat confusing. Where do you start? 

As it turns out, The Last Wish is the book to start with. Essentially a collection of short stories, Last Wish establishes the Witcher universe and introduces the key characters and plot. However, not only is The Last Wish the best entry point into the story for those new to the Witcher universe, it’s also the best book of the series. Here’s why. 

Spoilers ahead.

The Stories Solely Follow Garalt of Rivia

Unlike the TV show and the books, Last Wish solely follows our favorite Witcher from Rivia. To me, Garalt is by far the most interesting character in the Witcher universe. And while there are a cast of very appealing supporter characters – Dandelion, Yennefer, Regus and so on – the story is at its best whenever Garalt is taking up the “screen time”. 

Last Wish is great because we get to see how Geralt interacts with his buddies, falls in love with Yennefer, and get an insight into his resourcefulness and inherent power as a Witcher.

The Stories Are Easier to Read than the Novels

In addition to following just one character, Last Wish is also easy to read. The story is structured around one single story which acts as the present timeline. It is then interspersed with multiple different stories that help paint a picture of Geralt of Rivia.

What also makes the stories seem familiar while introducing an entirely new world is the fact that they are loosely based on fairytales. For example, one story draws inspiration from ‘Snow White’, while another is like a grotesque version of ‘Beauty and the Beast’. 

In comparison, the Witcher books are a lot harder to follow with a lot of switching perspectives, long chapters, and an oftentimes difficult to discern overarching storyline. 

This isn’t to say that the Witcher novels are bad books. They aren’t. They just are less poignant as standalone books and work much better when seen as a whole story. 

There’s a Lot Less Ciri

Although the adaptations of Ciri in the Netflix show and in the video game present a very compelling character, Ciri in the books is notorious for being a bit of a…well…brat. Unfortunately for the books, Ciri plays a pretty big role in not only the story of the Witcher, but much of the books are also told from her perspective

In Last Wish, however, we don’t see much of Ciri, and get to spend time with the other characters we all know and love. 

There’s a Lot More Monster Hunting

Fans of the TV show and video games alike might be puzzled to find out that the main Witcher novels are actually pretty light on monster hunting. Last Wish, however, is not. We get to see Geralt take on plenty of bad monsters and see how he uses his resourcefulness to conquer them. It’s kind of like watching a detective mystery or an episode of MacGyver – how is Geralt going to tackle this baddie this time?

The novels are more about Geralt’s role in the bigger world of political intrigue between kings, mages and so on.

Ultimately, The Last Wish will be an easy book for any fan of The Witcher franchise to read. And it’s no wonder that the show creators have changed a lot in the adaptation of “Blood of Elves” to the second season of The Witcher. So far, it’s proven to follow a lot more of the aspects of the stories that we love – good ol’ monster hunting, and the relationships between our favorite characters.

Every Witcher Book Ranked

1. The Last Wish

As stated above, The Last Wish is probably the best Witcher book from a writing/story perspective.

2. The Time of Contempt

The Time of Contempt is when things really get going. It’s where we discover who the real bad guy in the story is, where we see Geralt and Yennefer finally united (and getting along) before spending the rest of the series apart. It also has the first epic battle between Geralt and Vilgefortz.

3. Sword of Destiny

Another great one, “Sword of Destiny” also follows Geralt as he runs around fighting monsters. It also is the book where we start getting to know Ciri.

Like Last Wish, Sword of Destiny is told through a collection of short stories – something which seems the writer’s talents are greatly aided by.

4. Baptism by Fire

There’s something incredibly fun about this book. We get to know a lot of excellent characters, like Regis, and go for a good old fashioned romp through the world of The Witcher, get up to no good with our favorite band of heroes, and even get to fight a few battles along the way.

5. The Lady of the Lake

The Lady of the Lake has some really high moments. Like the battle with Vilgefortz – it reaches highs that the other books in the series can’t match. It also reached some pretty big lows, too. At times I found myself wondering “what’s even going on anymore?”. This book’s ending leaves plenty up to the imagination, however. So it’s easy to see why the Witcher video games were so effective in picking up where the books left off.

4. Tower of Swallows

You could pretty easily swap this book with the previous one on the list, and vice-versa. They really go hand in hand, with Swallows serving as the book to setup the main action to come in The Lady of the Lake. In fact, overall, it’s probably a better book. But I do love that fight between Geralt and Vilgefortz, so this goes third to last on my list.

5. The Blood of Elves

So even though this is the first book in the series, it’s far from the best. In fact, this book is hardly memorable at all, except for the chapters where Yennefer and Ciri get to know each other better. This is handled better in the books than it is in the show, the latter pitting distrust at the center of their relationship while the former building it around mutual respect and understanding.

There’s also surprisingly little Garalt in this book for it being “The Witcher".

6. Season of Storms

I’m going to be honest – I haven’t actually gotten around to reading this one yet. But I’m taking the general consensus that this is the worst book in the series from others who say so. More updates on that to come once I get around to finishing it.


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