Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Night Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko


Title: The Night Watch

Author: Sergei Lukyanenko

Date Read: 12-Feb-2012

On TBR for: Way too long, from before I kept any sort of record

Format: Paperback

Source: Gift, I think. Either Bday or Xmas

Challenges: 2012 Outdo Yourself, Off the Shelf 2012

The Night Watch was sitting on my shelf for so long, despite having people telling me it was good, that I had to challenge myself to read it. And read it I did (finally).

First, what put me off this book mostly was the fact it had vampires. And this isn't my dislike for teenage vampire drama, but my relationship with this kind of creatures: it's a love-hate thing, where sometimes I really like them, but most of the times I can't see the fascination with them. I probably should have paid better attention to the back cover and the reviews, because the bloodsuckers are not really the focus of the story.

So, The Night Watch is set in Moscow, which is refreshing as most of the books I have read set in Russia are written by long dead authors, and are pretty depressing (not because they aren't good, it's just the mood of them). But this is a Russia (well, a world) where paranormal creatures and magic exist. Only the general population isn't really aware of them (so it could actually be our world). A world where saying something “Damn you” when someone gets in front of you in a line will actually damn them (even if just a little).

Meet Anton, our (reluctant) hero. He works for the Night Watch, which are actually the good guys, the guys of Light, that keep watch on the evil ones, the ones of Darkness, who operate mainly during the night. On a side note, the Dark ones have a Day Watch to make sure the good guys don't do too much good, upsetting the balance of things and breaking their long-struck deal.

Back to Anton, then. He is really just a programmer, he keeps telling that to his boss throughout the book, but he is required to do some field work as well, and so, like the good employee he is, he puts on his headphones (and his minidisk walkman, that was the height of technology when this book was written but now it just sounds really old – so much I was amazed they had cellphones) and goes on patrolling the streets (and the subway lines as well).

The book starts when he is in a test – he has to identify a threat and solve it. But this guy is good at what he does, and even better at what he normally doesn't do, and identifies two threats, takes care of the one he was supposed to deal with and then goes on to help with the other one.

And then adventures follow. And twists, and an owl appears! (I am not joking, there is sidekick owl in the first story). And you get thrown in this really rich world, where you, like Anton, doubt if the Night Watch boss is really a good guy and has your (Anton's) best interests in mind. You get to meet his co-workers, some with always a story to tell, some mysterious; and get a glimpse of his problems with relationships and his level of magic, and what it means to be good.

I am not sure what I was expecting of this book, but certainly it wasn't this. But I liked it, not just because of Anton, but the entire world and the way magic and goodness (or evilness) works. I'll be reading the next book in the series: Day Watch.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Other Reviews: Floresta de Livros

This Book on: LibraryThing | GoodReads | BookDepository UK | Book Depository US | The Night Watch| Amazon US| Wook | Wook