The first book in The Witcher series by Andrzej Sapkowski, originally in Polish but translated to English after the game became popular.It consists of six short stories framed by a seventh narration. While not an immediate part of "The Witcher Saga" (which spans books three through seven), it introduces most of its protagonists (Geralt, Yennifer, Dandelion) and foreshadows Ciri's origin story.
"The Voice of Reason": The Framing Device. While Geralt recuperates from injuries sustained during "The Witcher" at the Temple of Melitele, Head Priestess Nenneke makes him recount some of his adventures.
"The Witcher": A deconstruction of Save the Princess plots, where Geralt is hired by King Foltest of Temeria to break the curse on his daughter.
"A Grain of Truth": A gleeful deconstruction of "Beauty and the Beast". Investigating corpses he found by the side of a road, Geralt encounters a man transformed into a beast.
"A Question of Price": A critical look at the fairy tales like "Rumpelstiltskin", where a supernatural being asks for "what you don't expect to find back home". Sets up one of the key plotlines of the rest of the series with foreshadowing of Ciri's origin story.
Anachronic Order: "The Voice of Reason" is set immediately after the "The Witcher", which is chronologically the last adventure Geralt recalls. The rest seem to follow each other, though.
Anguished Declaration of Love: Eist Tuiseach to Queen Calanthe in "A Question of Price" after the latter is thrown against the wall by Princess Pavetta's runaway magical gift.
Brother-Sister Incest: King Foltest of Temeria infamously impregnated his sister Princess Adda, and due to a curse placed on them by a more appropriate suitor the daughter is born as a striga. The battle between Geralt and the striga was later used for the opening cinematic of CD Projekt RED's video game.
The Butcher: Geralt is named "The Butcher of Blaviken" in "The Lesser Evil". The truth is more complicated: He killed seven bandits in a Curb-Stomp Battle to stop them from massacring the town to draw out its town wizard, against whom the leader Renfri had a (probably justified) grudge.
Covers Always Lie: The American printing of the book by Orbit (shown above) features Geralt fighting a dragon. At no point in any of the vignettes does such a scene take place.
Establishing Character Moment: "The Witcher" really hammers in what being a witcher is all about, what methods they use, and what Crapsack World they operate in. The events in this short story were so iconic, the developers of the video game adaptation put them into the opening cutscene, even though it had only tangential connection to the main plot.
Early-Installment Weirdness: "The Witcher" short story again. Witchers are said to be novelty thing, not relic of the past. Visimir is called king of Novigrad. Magic closer resembles traditional folklore, not Magic A Is Magic A. The most notable difference is social position of the sorcerers - they are travelling pariahs not unlike witchers.
Everything's Better with Princesses: Averted with Princess Adda II in "The Witcher", who was the result of an incestuous affair between the King and his sister Adda I and spends the first fourteen years of her life as a striga, and again in "Lesser Evil", which features a sociopathic leader of a warband, who happens to be a princess by birth. Played straight in "A Question of Price", where Princess Pavetta of Cintra is a Living MacGuffinand a latent mage.
Living MacGuffin: Princess Pavetta of Cintra has various nobles vying for her hand, though the dowager Queen Calanthe wants her to marry into the royal family of Skellige for political reasons. Then the monstrous-formed Urcheon arrives to claim her hand in accordance with an oath given by Calanthe's dead husband. After Geralt and a druid stop the nobles from killing each other and Pavetta's latent magical gift from destroying the castle, Pavetta marries Urcheon, whose curse has been lifted by true love and now uses his birth name Duny, and Calanthe marries Eist Tuiseach, the king of Skellige who had confessed his love for her when she was injured during the fiasco.
Nonindicative Title: More like, deliberately misleading (both in original Polish and English translation). "The Last Wish" refers not to a Last Request but to the last remaining (out of three) wish a genie owed to Geralt.
The Power of Love: True love is noted by Geralt in "A Grain of Truth" to have great magical power after he is forced to kill the bruxa, who is genuinely in love with a human cursed into monstrous form, and whose love and blood lifts the curse. True love also lifts Urcheon/Duny's curse.
This is one of the arguments why Renfri is not some kind of mutant - the Black Sun prophecy claims "sixty women in crowns of gold, which will fill the rivers with blood". It's obviously not a proper prophecy: as Geralt points out, it doesn't rhyme.
You can figure it out:Geralt wished he and Yennefer have a child. That fits "binding their destinies" trick so the genie can't kill Yennefer once set free, and explains the appearance of Ciri in their lives.
Slashed Throat: In "The Witcher" Geralt narrowly survives having his neck ripped open by the still-partially-a-striga Princess Adda. He got lucky: The claw swipe in question missed anything really important, and he got medical attention soon after. He still spent a few months in a hospital.
Unreliable Expositor: In "The Lesser Evil" Geralt doesn't really believe either Renfri or the wizard is telling the whole story. The one claims she was driven to evil by the abuse she suffered at various hands, the other says Renfri is a mutant who was born Ax-Crazy.
Yandere: The Bruxa in "A Grain of Truth", who is in love with and violently protective of a human cursed into monstrous form.