I have been an inveterate reader for thirty years and "The Night Watch" is the best "first novel in a series" I have read other than, and since, J.R.R..Show More » Martin's "A Game of Thrones" in the "Fire and Ice" series. I started listening to "The Night Watch" driving to the airport this past Wednesday. Then during a four hour flight the book continued to entertain. Before mid-night I was finished, but wanted more. I had already used my 5 credits for January but I gladly paid $24.95 for "The Day Watch".
We are told the story from the perspective of Anton, who is an agent of The Night Watch. Anton is a Light Magician, having a modest amount of power, but not a lot of experience. He is also an idealist(never forget this) and is not always careful in using his magic, which might lead him to an arrangement(or compromise) with a Dark Agent. The characters surrounding Anton are rich and colorful, and each with his own motivations as to why a certain area of magic was chosen as a strength to build upon.
The lines between good and evil begin to blur, slowly at first, as the story unfolds. The listener should pay close attention to the arguments from both sides, because each one has thought provoking assertions(and logic) as to why their way is the Right way.
Having finished Night Watch, I was eager to read Day Watch. At first, I was a bit disconnected from the book because it is not told from the point of ..Show More »view of the main character from Night Watch. That made it a bit more difficult for me to get excited about at first. As with Night Watch, Day Watch is broken into three stories. They are each separate stories, yet interconnected. The first story was where I had most of my difficulty with the narrative because it was told by a seemingly insignificant character from the first book. Nevertheless, it was a compelling tale and took the mythology of the watches to the next level. Of course, into the second story, the importance of the shift in narration becomes clear, and the second story grabbed--and held--my attention. It also introduces a "mirror," which is a different kind of "other" and plays an important role in the book series. By the final story of this book, we are formally introduced to the inquisition, which is a type of overseeing organization of both the Night Watch and of the Day Watch. It is in this third story where the two other stories are tied together--and it brings the entire book to a satisfying conclusion.
I was so taken in by the second book of the series that I simply couldn't wait to start the third book--and it didn't disappoint! While I believe that..Show More » the second book (Day Watch) was a little less interesting than the first book (Night Watch), this third book surpassed them both! As with the previous two books, this book is divided into three stories, but they are closely connected. Each story builds on the previous story (and on the series as a whole). While the science-fiction/fantasy of the stories is remarkable, I want to mention how deftly the author adds elements of humor (both Russian and universal) to the story. I literally laughed out loud in unexpected places of the story. I was also overwhelmingly thrilled with the subtle (and not-so-subtle) nod at Russian folktales. In particular, the witch Arina is likened to Baba Yaga on multiple occasions, and there are references to a hut on chicken legs. I would still give this book 5 stars without these references, yet they add an incredible amount of humor and charm to an already amazing story.
The last watch is a bit different from the other books in the series. It still has the same 3 part format, but each part feels much more like a conti..Show More »nuation than in the previous books, and the book also reads almost like a detective story. But none the less, it is still a great addition to the series because the characters are what really drive this series for me. I also felt that this one had a bit more action in it, which is a plus for me, as the second book in particular was a little slow for me. All in, a good end, which was left open for further adventures with the great night watch agent, a magician now beyond classification, Anton Gorodetskyi! Also, the narration was fantastic. Really helps to bring the characters to life.
This is the 5th book in the night watch series. If you are a fan you definitely want to spend a credit on this one. While not as epic in scope as the ..Show More »previous books, it is a solid read that is thoroughly enjoyable.
You can really tell the difference that this is a Russian author as opposed to the British and American authors I normally read. The book and series is quite dark in places, often with a strong streak of nihilism included. The endings in this series are usually not "happy" but are satisfying.
The world and characters are well developed to the point you almost feel like if you were in Russia you might run into them. The stories in this series are compared to chess matches between the higher powers with the protagonist trying to find his way through and survive. He never really knows what is going on for certain until the endgame. I really like that level of mystery.
The narrarator does a great job, but moves between Russian accents in conversation and a standard almost monotone English even though all the characters are Russian. This takes a bit of getting used to and leads to adding and dropping of accents at times. It doesn't impact the performance but it was noticable to me.
This novel could be read stand-alone but the reader will enjoy it much more and get a fuller experience by listening to the books in order. This one is definitely worth spending a credit on and I hope the author keeps the series going.