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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on 18 December 2006
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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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 19 October 2007
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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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on 11 July 2006
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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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 24 August 2006
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 1 December 2010
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 26 August 2010
A great read. Love all things vampire and gothic but this book adds another dimension with a great story, interesting characters and combining vampires, witches and demons. The book is divided into three parts interlinked by the main character of Anton and told through his eyes.
Bought the book to read before watching the movies based on recommendations I read and they were both worth it. Although the main idea behind the book is in the movies, the films take a different, more dark and violent approach to the book and Night Watch the movie tells only part one of the books three parts. So even if you have seen the movie first the book gives more dimension, depth and understanding to the different worlds and especially the Twilight.
Highly recommend it and a different aspect to vampires and some interesting underlying themes. You dont have to be a fan of gothic or vampires as this book is a good fast pace suspence thriller at the core. Good ensemble of characters, good versus evil but in a supernatural way and set in the mysterious city of Moscow.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
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
on 16 November 2009
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 26 October 2010
I adore this book, and the others in the series. I haven't enjoyed a fantasy series so much for a long time. The author brings the characteristic qualities of Russian literature--a lightness of touch yet seriousness of theme, dry humour, rich imagery, vivid characters, great settings, philosophical reflection, melancholy mixed with joy and a refusal to see the world in black and white--to the genre, and it is vastly enriched by it. Full of inventiveness, unafraid to take risks with character or story, it's simply brilliant, and totally engrossing. Having just been to Russia, I enjoyed it all the more, but I think the books speak to any reader, regardless. As soon as I finished this book, I had to rush out and buy all the others in the series, which were just as good. I'm only sorry there are no more set in this world.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
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 training under the orders of the Boss. He is searching for a rogue member of the Dark - a vampire who is hunting prey. Whilst travelling on the Moscow Metro, Anton spots a girl with a Dark vortex hovering above her head. He attempts to disperse it but is unsuccessful. Torn between pursuing the vampire and helping the girl, Anton must decide which is his priority as a member of the Watch.

This isn't your standard good versus evil story. The Night Watch and The Day Watch signed a treaty which prevents them from acting in the extreme. The thing the separates them is that those of Light act selflessly. Those of the Dark act self-interestedly. They both can take power from the ordinary humans who live among them unaware of their existence. The Light chooses not to. The Dark enjoy it. One of the things that I liked about this novel was that being of the Light was a struggle. It was a constant battle with the conscience to act for the benefit of others rather than for one's own interest. This seems to me exactly what goodness is.

When I started reading The Night Watch I was entertained by the elements that stood out to me as fitting with the idea if Russia - the bitter cold, the vodka, even the vampires. But this novelty soon wore off and I found this book a frustrating read overall. It is told in three "stoires" but I didn't realise this until I got to the end of Story One. Suddenly, I was wondering if I was going to have to locate myself in the world all over again. That wasn't the case but I carried on reading feeling unsettled. The "stories" should have been called "parts". There were also turns of phrase which were really off-putting using things like double negatives and confusing me as to the meaning of a sentence. Could this have been a process of the translation? The translator perhaps trying to stay true to the Russian and thus losing the understanding of a British reader?

Other things that I had difficulty with were placing the age of the main character - I couldn't picture Anton at all. Yet I could visualise the scene and the secondary characters. The ending - I didn't actually understand what Anton did. The constant referring to the Boss with his forename and surname - that was irritating.

The plot of the book is complicated. It's meant to be. Think of a game of chess. Both the Light and the Dark are moving pawns, knights, rooks. They make moves seeing many steps ahead in the game. Now think of one of the pawns telling the story. This is The Night Watch. The main character is frustrated with his passive role. As I reader, I was too. I just didn't understand what was going on half the time. The Russian feel of the book was great. But the plot was confusing. The Night Watch was a disappointing read for me.
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