The Night Watch by Sergey Lukyanenko

The Night Watch book cover
Rating 8.0/10
This, for me, is a book of contradictions.

Walking the streets of Moscow, indistinguishable from the rest of its population, are the Others. Possessors of supernatural powers and capable of entering the Twilight, a shadowy parallel world existing in parallel to our own, each Other owes allegiance either to the Dark or the Light. The "Night Watch", first book in the "Night Watch" trilogy, follows Anton, a young Other owing allegiance to the Light. As a Night Watch agent he must patrol the streets and metro of the city, protecting ordinary people from the vampires and magicians of the Dark. When he comes across Svetlana, a young woman under a powerful curse, and saves an unfledged Other, Egor, from vampires, he becomes involved in events that threaten the uneasy truce, and the whole city...

All that stands between darkness and light is The Night Watch...

This, for me, is a book of contradictions. Light and Dark, and only a moment between the two. Good and Evil. Day and Night. I’ll save the biggest contradiction for later. This is a sprawling urban fantasy with rich world-building and a great sense of Moscow (well, I assume, I’ve never been there. I do feel that I know it better than I did though). The characters are vivid, although they become rather stretched as we go on, the pace is fast if a little disjointed, the prose, a few translation issues aside, smooth. The story takes place over a series of interlinked novellas, yet I never lost the thread of the story as a whole, and the style holds up this way of telling the story quite well. I loved the premise of the Twilight (no sparkly vampires, I promise! More like ‘bullet time’ in the Matrix, with added blue moss) and that the difference between Good and Evil could be as simple as having a bad day when you first discover you’re an Other….

Yet my final contradiction? This bear of little brain was confused. Quite a lot actually, about who was doing what to whom and most importantly why. It was like trying to predict the next five moves in a chess game when you have no idea that the little horsey thing can move like that. And yet...and yet I still enjoyed it. Maybe it helps that Anton is pretty damn confused through much of the book, but while I’m sure I missed a load of the subtleties of what the players were doing/trying to do to each other, I still found myself happily ploughing on. People with more cunning minds than mine will almost certainly enjoy it even more.

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from Netherlands

10-stars

I thought it a great book. The story was well thought out and planned in detail, and the flow of the mini stories was all connected was great because they never lost the story line.

9/10 from 2 reviews

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