Monday, August 20, 2012

Book review - The Night Watch

The Night Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko
The Night Watch

Review by Jacqui Slaney

I found this book completely by accident, using my normal book buying habit of thinking the cover looked good and the description was worth a further look. I was a bit more wary on this one, as it was the first in a series, but I thought it sounded worth the risk.

This is the description:

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...

The themes of Good and Evil are looked at extremely well in this book, with the owners of supernatural powers split between different sides. The Night Watch is for the Light and rule the night keeping watch on the Dark ones or the Day Watch who then monitor all works of the Night Watch. The author uses Cold War analogies to show how the streets of Moscow are split between the different forces and how ordinary humans are completely oblivious to what is going on around them.

 The book is separated into three parts, though the characters overlap with each part being a different story. Though each story is separate, the threads from them do lead you through to the next story.

The main character in the novel is Anton, who begins the book as a relatively unimportant member of the Night Watch, with few powers. When he comes across Svetlana who is apparently cursed, he sets events in motion, which could destroy the world.

The reader does come to like Anton after a shaky start who starts to question the role of the different Watch’s and the things that are allowed to happen to the ordinary people just to keep the uneasy peace between Night and Day.

The writing is plain and simple but the story flows, as the author lets a dry humour show throughout. The descriptions of the different scenes are very vivid and imaginative, and you will find yourself hooked by the story.  I think splitting the book into three helps with this as you have three distinct stories instead of one long tale. I think the only thing that slightly bugged me, was the frequent mention of the different music that Anton was listening to on his walkman.

There is interest and action throughout with shape shifters and vampires (Not sparkly kinds) and the journeys that the Watch members take though the different levels of Twilight, which cannot be seen by ‘normal’ humans. The mysterious Inquisition is good as are the characters of Gesar and Zabulon's, although all the characters used are well fleshed out.

Do not worry that you have to be interested in magic or vampires to like this book; you don’t, under all this there is suspense and intrigue that will keep you hooked.

9 Out of 10