Book Review: ‘Night Watch’ by Sergei Lukyanenko

Posted: 2 February 2016 in Book reviews
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Synopsis

In Moscow there are two supernatural organisations: the Day Watch and the Night Watch. The Day Watch keeps tabs of the daytime activity of the light Others while the Night Watch observe the nighttime activities of the dark Others. Others are supernatural beings ranging from sorcerers and vampires to shape-shifters.

Anton is an agent for the Night Watch. While on assignment, he discovers Svetlana. Above her head is a vortex, a curse. Once he saves Egor from some rogue vampires, one was killed and the other got away, he informs his boss, Boris Ignatievitch, about her. Anton is assigned to search for Egor while the rest of the Watch searches for the rogue vampire and Svetlana. Anton is given a reanimated stuffed owl, Olga, as a partner. They find Egor and explain to him what the Others are. Reinforcements come and he is sent to handle Svetlana as her vortex has grown threateningly. He pretends to be a patient and is able to reduce the vortex. He goes back to Egor as the vampire has him hostage and wants Anton. A fight between the Day and Night Watches ensues. The Day Watch is defeated and Egor, and Anton, learns the truth, pushing him towards the dark.

Months later, a dark Other is killed by an unknown assailant, Maxim. He believes he is doing good, but doesn’t know about the treaty or that he is an Other. The Day Watch believe Anton had something to do with it and are hunting for him. Anton switches bodies with Olga (again in human form) to throw them off, which doesn’t work. They switch back and he searches for clues to the killer. He infiltrates the Day Watch’s headquarters and learns some things. He pieces everything together and heads to where he believes Maxim will strike next. He arrives just before Maxim can kill Egor. Egor is pushed even further to the dark when he, and Anton, learn that it all was a Night Watch operation.

Life calms down some and there is peace between the two factions. In the blistering heat, all but a couple agents are sent out of town on a mini vacation. While everyone is seemingly having a good time, Anton can’t quite relax. He knows something is up, but those who know can’t tell him. He knows it has something to do with Svetlana, who has progressed quite rapidly. What he does know is that Boris is planning on using Svetlana to do something Olga hadn’t been able to do ages ago. He does everything he can to find out where it will happen. As the time winds down, will he be able to prevent the inevitable?

My Thoughts

I discovered this book after learning about the movie. You can see Day Watch (the sequel) on Netflix. When I tried to find the first one, I discovered it was actually a book series. This was ages ago though. Finally got around to reading it.

First thing I want to say is don’t see the movie. It only focuses on the first part of the book and is horrible. I mean really bad. For such a good book this is disappointing. I will give you just a few inaccuracies. Anton never dies as he does in the film. Olga is only human for about 30 minutes in the story. Egor is not Anton’s son (unless that is revealed in the subsequent books). Anton doesn’t get his ass kicked by the vampires, nor is the scene in a building but in an alley. Zabulon only appears at the end, and Anton had no idea who he was. Naturally, I could go on and on about it, but I think you get the point. Movie sucks, book is good.

The story is really fascinating. This is one of the few dark fantasy books I’ve read. I’ve seen this book classified as a horror and to be honest I don’t agree with it. This book is not scary. There is nothing in it to cause fear, disgust, shock, or any emotion like that. There are elements of horror, like vampires and stuff, but it’s more like a dark fantasy. It is very engaging and exciting. There is a lull in the middle of the book, but it picks up again towards the end, finishing with a bang.

Anton is a great character. He doesn’t attempt to seem more powerful or better than he is. He isn’t a field agent and doesn’t pretend he’s great at it. He tries his best though. He has a very keen mind which makes him very formidable against both sides. He is loyal, but will also do what he perceives to be right. I really enjoyed watching him develop. The other characters were great as well. Boris, Olga, Svetlana, Egor, Ilya, Tiger Cub, Semyon. All the secondary characters each have their own individual voices and personalities. But you can still feel a complete separation between them and Anton, as if they are all on one level and he is on another. Wonderful characters.

The writing is superb as well. It is fluid and draws you in. It is filled with vivid description. I love how everything sort of ties together. I really don’t have much else to say about it. There is a typo in the book at one point. A couple lines were printed at the bottom of the page and then reprinted at the top of the next page. But otherwise everything was wonderful.

Yeah. Loved this book. Borrowed it from the library, but I will be getting a copy for myself eventually as I own the fourth book in the series. If you have ever had the inkling to give this book a chance, do it. I know you will like it. Enjoy 😉

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Buy at Barnes and Noble

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