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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written Cold War fantasy thriller
This is a gothic romantic thriller set in present day Moscow. The author uses the vehicle of a "Cold War" standoff between two opposing forces of supernaturally endowed beings (The Daywatch and The Nightwatch) to explore themes of the nature of good and evil. As the novel develops he introduces the idea of personal destiny and the conflict between predestination and...
Published on 18 Dec 2006 by Angus Bell

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Night Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko
The Night Watch is an Urban Fantasy translated from Russian.

Anton is an Other - an Other of the Light. A member of the Night Watch who are responsible for monitoring those of the Dark - the Day Watch. Anton is a low-grade magician. Usually he works in the analyst division of the Night Watch. When the story begins, he is in the middle of his field operative...
Published on 22 Aug 2012 by The Bookette


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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written Cold War fantasy thriller, 18 Dec 2006
By 
Angus Bell "spideypsych" (Guisborough) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Night Watch (Paperback)
This is a gothic romantic thriller set in present day Moscow. The author uses the vehicle of a "Cold War" standoff between two opposing forces of supernaturally endowed beings (The Daywatch and The Nightwatch) to explore themes of the nature of good and evil. As the novel develops he introduces the idea of personal destiny and the conflict between predestination and choice. This is all played out on a dramatic foreground of vampire hunts, shapeshifters, and magical battles. It has great power because the supernatural stuff is contrasted with gritty descriptions of urban decay in Russia. The characters are very well described using economic prose which suits the overall feel. It really comes alive in the imagination and is far far far better realised as a romantic concept than the film which is much darker and less humane by comparison. There are some very nice ideas in this book which is divided into three separate parts with related storylines and in my view a great ending.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Genre-crossing gem, 11 July 2006
This review is from: The Night Watch (Paperback)
On the streets of post-Soviet Moscow, an uneasy truce presides. The forces of Light and Dark, locked for centuries in eternal combat, watch over each other as they maintain the precarious status quo. During the day, the Light Ones are kept in check by the Day Watch, but at night, the Night Watch reigns. Part one of a trilogy, `The Night Watch' explores the complex dynamic of a Cold-War style standoff between Good and its ubiquitous opposite, Evil, through the actions and adventures of debutant field operative Anton. As he is directed, marionette-like, around the streets and undergrounds of Moscow, he debates the merits of goodness when preserving the peace means licensing the killing of innocent people, and the sacrificing of pawns to gain only a fleeting advantage in a power struggle that neither side can afford to lose.

Up front, this is a stylish fantasy / horror novel, written with wit and graceful economy. With a strong cast of "Others", Light or Dark beings with magical energies, it should appeal to fans of the Buffy series and the Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter books. However, it has all the twists of a Robert Ludlum thriller, with typical Cold-War subterfuge and misdirection and battling intelligence agencies, and all the philosophy (and more) of the Matrix movies without the wilfully patronizing tone in which they indulge. With a million copies sold in its original Russian, and not one but two movie adaptations already produced, its appeal straddles genre divides with impunity.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping and clever, 19 Oct 2007
By 
This review is from: The Night Watch (Paperback)
Maybe I'm easier to please than the other people that have reviewed the book on this site; but I really couldn't put it down. Translation issues have been raised, but in all honesty I think it's a very minor issue, it doesn't spoil the enjoyment of the book at all.

The stories are clever and the setting is intriguing. It's a very original take on an old subject matter and it leaves you wanting more. I read all three books in a couple of weeks and I recommend the whole trilogy to anyone that likes fantasy.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Impressive!, 25 Jun 2007
By 
Patrick St-Denis "editor of Pat's Fantasy Hot... (Laval, Quebec Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Night Watch (Paperback)
Having heard so many good things about Sergei Lukyanenko's Night Watch series last year, my curiosity was piqued in such a way that I couldn't not buy the first two volumes. And although my expectations were high for this book, I was truly impressed by The Night Watch. It's no wonder this urban fantasy trilogy made Lukyanenko the bestselling speculative fiction author in Russia. Hopefully reviews like these will help generate interest for this imaginative series.

Set in contemporary Moscow, The Night Watch introduces us to the eternal struggle between two factions of the Others, an ancient race of human beings possessing supernatural powers. All Others must swear allegiance to either the Dark or the Light. Agents of the Light -- the Night Watch -- and agents of the Dark -- the Day Watch -- oppose one another, yet they must maintain a precarious balance between Good and Evil due to the Treaty which is enforced by the mysterious Inquisition. When Anton, a seemingly unimportant member of the Night Watch, stumbles upon a cursed young woman named Svetlana on the train, events are set in motion that could have dire consequences. A battle between the Dark and the Light could lay waste to the entire world, unless Anton can find a way to prevent that catastrophe.

The simple fact that Russia and the former Soviet Union serve as a backdrop for this novel makes for a fascinating setting. It's different -- a veritable breath of fresh air in a genre that stagnates all too often.

The Night Watch is comprised of three different parts. Although they're related, the three parts read like distinct novellas, each with its own storylines. And yet, each part is a thread in a vaster tale.

Sergei Lukyanenko's writing style could be qualified as "minimalist." Nothing is overwritten, no words or sentences are wasted -- you won't find flowery prose in this book. The author's concise style makes for a brisk pace, and the novella-type format turns this novel into a real page-turner.

There is a good balance between first and third person narratives. The sections which showcase Anton are written in the first person, which allows the reader to appreciate how genuine and complex this character is. First person narratives can be tricky, but Lukyanenko does it well, and the transition between the various narratives is smooth throughout the novel.

Had I read this book last year as I intended, The Night Watch would certainly have ended up in my Top 10 of 2006. I can't wait to read both sequels, The Day Watch and The Twilight Watch.

Highly recommended. . . Sergei Lukyanenko is an author worth discovering!:-) And with the book out in paperback, anyone can afford it!

Check out my blog: [...]
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book to read anywhere, 24 Aug 2006
This review is from: The Night Watch (Paperback)
If your into reading books on the train, bus and other forms of public transport as well as in your own company, then this one is no exception to that! Though it may make you miss your stop because you can't pull yourself away from it, there is no reason why you couldn't read this book anywhere!

It's really well written, the level of detail is supremely good and the character/plot development is so detailed. You can really get into the characters and the plot is believable, and it will make you wish this reality existed!

It is devided into three sections with individual story lines. The first one covers Svetlana, a Russian woman with a curse vortex that is about to destroy the world. It ends in a lovely little fight between the Dark and the Light on the roof of a flat. The second is about a mysterious Light Magician killing Dark Ones illegally and how Anton needs to find out the killer. This results into the mention of Inqisition. The third part is about the job the Svetlana has to do and with re-writing destiny. Only fmale Light Magicians can do this.

Sergei Lukyanenko has visualised this reality very well and nothing seems to have been lost in translation. Reading about the Russian life style is also pretty interesting, and I love the mentions to the fact that the Others 'experimented' with Communism and World War II. It's a very good read and I can't wait to get the Day Watch.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Book 1 of 4: Moscow in danger, 2 Jun 2007
By 
Mao (Newcastle upon Tyne, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Night Watch (Hardcover)
This novel, "Night Watch", is the first in the series of four books (followed by "Day Watch", "Twilight Watch" and "Eternal Watch") and introduces two units of Light and Dark based in Moscow, Russia.

The (anti-)hero Anton is the main character of this story, described initially as a failure and being weak of will, unaware of his powers. The three parts of "Night Watch" follow his personal and professional development in the Night Watch of Moscow, from his attempt to ask a witch to do away with his unborn child to his acceptance within the ranks of the Night Watch and his commitment to the cause of Light.

Described as Russia's (belated) answer to Tolkien, Lukianenko has created a lively and absorbing narrative evolving around the forces of the Light and the Dark, who, embraced in an eternal battle for the minds and spirits of the human population, share the responsibility to monitor each other's activities to uphold an equilibrium agreed upon a thousand years ago in the "Great Contract". Both forces keep 'policing' units tasked to make sure the respective other side observes granted quota of influencing humans: at night, the wizards and seers of the Light (the Night Watch) will police the streets, whilst at day it is the vampires and warlocks of the Dark (the Day Watch) who monitor the Light's activities.

Lukianenko chooses to describe both sides, Light and Dark, as natural aspects of live - with both sides willing to go to considerable lenghts to assure their own status - otherwise he might as well have called both sides Good and Evil. A feature Lukianenko uses to infuse the narrative with mysticism and reasoning of power is the concept of the 'Twilight' zone and its several layers through which the forces of Light and Dark can move - unobserved by humans in the 'real world' - always endangered to be sucked into the void of un-being.

Each of the novels feature a pre-prolog stating this story's significance to the cause of the forces of Light and Dark, indicating both sides' actions. The narrative in "Night Watch" is described as being 'useful' to the cause of both.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars better than twilight trilogy, 1 Dec 2010
By 
F. G. A. Morrison "peeco82" (sheffield, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Night Watch (Paperback)
This is a trilogy based selection of books followed by a sequel.
Its about the 2 forces good and evil and a selection of people who enter the twilight to protect the general public from vampires.
You really get to know the ins and outs of the main character "Anton" and his side kick "Olga".
The book is split into 3 sub books where again it gives you a different perpective.
Brilliant fiction which makes you almost believe that this really did happen in the medieval times and today too.
Cant wait to read the others in the trilogy plus the sequel " The Last Watch"
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So much to think about, 4 April 2010
By 
M. Burrows "augustus' mum" (Southampton England) - See all my reviews
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Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Night Watch (Paperback)
I do not usually like/read fantasy or horror but was recommended The Nightwatch, read it, ordered all four titles from Amazon and now can't stop rereading them. Aside from the themes of New Russia, magic, romance, I love Gesar and Zabulon's intriguing, like Master Cold War spies.
So glad I read the books before I saw the film as I would never have read them - the film is so different.
The Nightwatch is now one of those books that I love to give to friends.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A highly recommended read, enter the twilight., 16 Nov 2009
By 
E. Cracknell "Edd" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Night Watch (Paperback)
Highly recommended, the best of watch series!
This is the first of the quadoligy (not a trilogy as often described). It tells the story Anton a lower grade light other who is pushed out into a battle of good and evil, light and dark. He is constantly fighting with his mind as he starts to see the blurred divide of the deeds of either side and his part in them. Sergei Lukyanenko is a fantastic writer, and I would love for more of his work to be translated.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good., 18 Oct 2006
By 
This review is from: The Night Watch (Paperback)
It is true that these three stories are well written. I certainly found it hard to put the book down. The characters are well fleshed out and the world of the Others is described in considerable detail.

My problem lies with the gaps between the stories. I felt that the first story didn't finish properly and the point at which the second story commenced left too large a gap. This wouldn't have been a problem if there had been some explanation later but I felt it was lacking in this respect. The gap between the second and third stories was much less of an issue.

Each story is gripping once you get into it and my commute home from work each day flew by as a result.
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The Night Watch
The Night Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko (Paperback - 5 July 2007)
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