Set in modern day Moscow, Night Watch is a world as elaborate and imaginative as Tolkien or the best Asimov. Living among us are the "Others", an ancient race of humans with supernatural powers who swear allegiance to either the Dark or the Light. A thousand-year treaty has maintained the balance of power, and the two sides coexist in an uneasy truce. But an ancient prophecy decrees that one supreme "Other" will rise up and tip the balance, plunging the world into a catastrophic war between the Dark and the Light.
When a young boy with extraordinary powers emerges, fulfilling the first half of the prophecy, will the forces of the Light be able to keep the Dark from corrupting the boy and destroying the world?
©2006 Sergei Lukyanenko (P)2010 Audible, Inc.
"Brace yourself for Harry Potter in Gorky Park.... The novel contains some captivating scenes and all kinds of marvelous, inventive detail: The vampires’ seduction of a teenage boy is bone-chilling; every time Lukyanenko described the Other-worldly Twilight, I felt lured into it; and the fantastical powers exercised by Anton and his colleagues range from delightful to awesome." (The Washington Post Book World)
"[As] potent as a shot of vodka.... [A] compelling urban fantasy." (Publishers Weekly)
"Night Watch is an epic of extraordinary power." (Quentin Tarantino)
The performance was a little shaky at first, not sure why, but by the end I was totally bought in. Helps if you've seen the movie, but the reading was still very good. Recommended.
I bought this book because a friend recommended it to me. The blurb sounds interesting, but it very soon turns into a soap opera style melodrama that uses a fantasy veil to hide behind. The author goes on long winded ramblings about the philosophical question of what is good and evil, but these rants are naive and more like something you would read on the back of a cereal box rather than a published novel. He puts these monologues into the mouths of his characters and that makes almost all conversations stilted, strange, and quite frankly, idiotic.
It is also supposed to be a moral tale, or a tale about morals, but moral seems to be glaringly missing from the whole thing. I came to the conclusion that the Night Watch itself is a kind of cult led by a charismatic boss who everyone follows blindly. This however is probably not the intention of the author as he seems to hold this boss in high regard and presents him like that to the reader. Here is a typical superman problem with the all knowing, all powerful character. He is just to perfect in every regard for the story and once you realize this you see that nothing in the story has any point and the actions of the protagonist are meaningless as they are all planned and plotted by the boss. In fact it is a totally pointless novel.
The worst thing!
That is not the worst thing, and how can it possibly get worse from here? Still the problem is with the boss and the author. So this all powerful, all seeing master magician with a cult of worshiping followers (the members of the Night Watch) shows most of the classic signs of being a raging sociopath. He uses people for his own ends, without regard for their well being or individuality, he justifies his actions with a "the ends justify the means" logic, he's manipulative and cunning, has a grandiose sense of himself and imposes that sense upon others, lacks any sense of regret or remorse about his actions etc.
This is not what the author wants the reader to realize, and he probably hasn't realized it himself, as he does not portray him in this way. This is perhaps a reflection of the author's Russian heritage as that country has off course been ruled by sociopaths for a very long time and still is to this day. Perhaps this is just the Russian ideal of the perfect leader?
So it's the whole ideology behind the book, the author's blindness on the nature of good and evil, despite his long winded and simplistic rhetoric on the matter, and the skewed ethical standpoint from which he writes a novel about the side of good, the magicians of the light who are, in my view, unethical jerks, that is the worst thing about the book. As the author does not realize this himself I can only come to the conclusion that not only has he a very superficial knowledge of ethics, his perception of good and evil might be extremely confused.
The performance of the narrator was fine, though I found his switching between Russian and American accents a bit strange.
It's rare to find a review that isn't governed by other thoughts of what a story should be like. So I'll try and talk just on what happened here. This isn't the first foreign book I've listened to. So the struggle of bringing myself to another country is gone. I don't think I would have ever gotten through this book had I read it. But the narrating was great and the story was interesting. And looking back at the completed story I really enjoyed it and look forward to getting into book two Daywatch.
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