[By Nic Lindh on Thursday, 19 July 2007]
Night Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko is the first novel in a trilogy set in modern Moscow, and is also the basis for the excellent movie with the same name.
If you’ve seen the movie, the characters and settings are similar, but the plot is significantly different, and there are some curve balls in there.
If you haven’t seen the movie, the basic concept is that there are “Others” among us—magicians, werewolves, vampires, witches, etc. They are people, but can tap into something the book calls the Twilight, and the movie calls the Gloom, a sort of other reality. Sort of. The Others are divided among the light and dark, with the light Others wanting to help people, and the dark others wanting to use people, sometimes as with vampires quite literally.
But there are many shades of grey among the Others.
It sounds silly, and at heart it is, but Lukyanenko uses the concept to build engaging characters who deal with moral dilemmas in a distinctly non-Western way. A world-weary Russian mentality underlies the fantastic events and people of the novel, setting it apart from the pack.
It should be noted that the novel is actually made up of several interrelated short stories.
If you like fantasy in any of its forms, put Night Watch at the top of your reading list.
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