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Title: Night Watch
Series: Night Watch
Author: Sergei Lukyanenko
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Battle Axes
Genre: Urban Fantasy
There is a War going on, between the Light and the Dark. Humans don’t know about this war until they become “Others”, people with extraordinary abilities who must then choose either the Light or the Dark.
Anton is one such Other and we follow him through several stories as he learns and grows in the bleakest place of all, Russia.
I was all over the place with this book. I thoroughly enjoyed it, hated it in places, was ready to call down the fires of heaven upon Lukyanenko several times and was completely and wonderfully morose through most of the book.
I was expecting one story. What I got was 3 or 4 and it worked well. Each story started out from the viewpoint of someone other than Anton and then chapter One would begin from Anton’s pov and it was 1st person. It was a jarring change but I found it to fit perfectly with the tone of the whole book.
One of the things that made me want to put this down was the utter and complete Dualistic nature of the Light and the Dark. Neither were evil or good, but simply Were. And Light always came off as the weaker [which it usually does in Dualism, see Terry Brooks Word & the Void as another example] and in fact Anton pretty much says so in the first story. That leads into how the Other leaders of the Light and Dark play games with humans, the opposite Side and their own members. Anton encounters this several times and it almost breaks him. I know it would have broken me.
Anton. What a fantastic character. Drinking vodka by the *whatever large units one drinks alcohol by*, falling in love, doing his best while not understanding half of what is going on and pondering. I love pondering even while sometimes hating it. Recently, during one of the Classic Club reads, I told someone that I felt like I had a Russian soul, ie, I wasn’t happy unless I was miserable. That sums up Anton and in many ways I felt like if I had to be a character, I would have to choose Anton.
This was a translated work so it was tough to tell if the rough edges were because of the author or the translator. This book was by no means a wonderful jewel of literature but it was an engrossing look into the Urban Fantasy landscape. And unlike a certain Wizard (filed under W in the telephone directory – That is Harry Dresden, future me, since you’ll probably forget), Anton’s complaining and misery didn’t wear on me. It was him and it fit like a glove.