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When Ben, a suburban family man, takes a business trip to rural Pennsylvania, he decides to spend the afternoon before his dinner meeting on a short hike....
Neil Gaiman has long been inspired by mythology in creating the fantastical realms of his fiction. Now he turns his attention to the source, presenting a rendition of the great northern tales....
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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?
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 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.
35 of 36 people found this review helpful
IN THE TWILIGHT
This book consists of three stories, with Anton as the main character in each. If all I had listened to would have been the first story Destiny, I would have given this five stars. Destiny is so good I almost gave the whole book five stars. To me this was the most intelligent fantasy I have ever listened to or read. This was one of the few times in my life, that I got it! This is an infinite chess game between good and evil and both sides are right and both sides are wrong. There is some action, but this is mostly a head game. You could compare this to Simon R. Green's, In The Night Side or China Mieville's The City, The City and maybe even Butcher's, Dresden's books, only this is better, more stimulating to the brain. Some have compared SL to King. Both use scary or fantastical elements to get a message across. King message is usually political, where as SL is more psychological. SL shows how doing good can lead to evil and vise versa. That good and evil is not a black and white issue. The second story, Among HIs Own Kind, is good, but not as good as Destiny. I would give the second story four stars.
AN EXPERIENCED KAMIKAZE
The third story, All for our Kind, is bad. Anton becomes a big whiney baby. Even the characters in the story complain about his whining. The plot does not develop until half way through the story and then it is not enough to save the story.
I would suggest buying the book, but only for the first two thirds. The first story is worth your credit. If you are not enjoying the third story, quit the book. Don't be one of those who have to finish every book they start. I used to be that way, until I realized that I was only punishing myself, which was stupid.
MY FRIEND AND ENEMY
I think I will try the next book in the series, even though it goes against my rules. If I don't give the first book five stars, I don't go on to the next. If he can repeat the genius of Destiny, it will be worth it.
Paul Michael is a very good narrator and if you listen closely, he sounds an awful lot like Rod Serling. Even if you don't agree, you have to agree his talent makes this book a better listen then a read.
16 of 16 people found this review helpful
Modern Moscow makes a terrific setting for an urban fantasy novel and Anton is a likable hero. Paul Michael is perfect for the role of a tough but sensitive Muscovite (and is now my second favorite audiobook reader). While the writing, the setting, the characters, and most of the plot are enjoyable, there are a couple of related problems that kept The Night Watch from being the completely engrossing story it had the potential to be. We get much of the story from Anton???s point of view and, while this made me really understand and like his character, it also means that we spend a huge amount of time listening to Anton trying to figure out what???s going on. He???ll brood for a while, then have an epiphany and give us an explanation (not always logical or believable) that he???s sure is right, but then suddenly he???ll be wrong and some other strange (illogical or unbelievable) explanation will be given, which may or may not be correct. I chuckled toward the end when Anton says: "I didn???t know. As always, I didn???t have enough information for analysis. I could have come up with thirty-three different explanations, all contradicting each other." And I think he does come up with 33 different explanations, all contradicting each other. It gets really confusing and it interrupts the action but, worse, when we find out what???s really going on, it???s not nearly as exciting as it could have been. Most of the plot climaxes just fizzle when we find out the truth. Related to this is the fact that I never quite believed in Sergei Lukyanenko???s world. In his interior monologues, Anton goes on at length about light and dark, destiny and fate ??? I???m not sure that it all made sense. I also didn???t understand some of the choices Anton made, especially at the end. Perhaps this will be cleared up in sequels. Still, I enjoyed spending time in Moscow with Anton and enemies, even if I was confused about the plot.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful
Don't believe the bad reviews! I've read the book, watched the movie, and listened to the audiobook....they are all fantasic. We actually get to understand the motivations of the characters--not just have the actions described. It makes for much more "complete" and "real" characters. I love these books...you will too! Oh---the narrator helps a lot. His russian accents help keep the story firmly in Russia.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
It is not a Vampire action story about blood, and guts, and gorgeous "undead". It is not even about the victory of good over evil. If you ever acquainted yourself with Russian literature, you will set your expectations just right.
It is a though-provoking book consisting of novellas, each with a separate storyline involving the same group of characters and revolving around the same theme. It is about searching in the "grey", which is, of course, a blend of black and white.
What is good? What is evil? Do we know for sure? Should we question rules and perceptions set thousands of years ago or is it always a matter of personal choice set here and now?
You will find more questions than answers in this book. That is what Russians are all about. Always searching and not settling for ordinary and comfortable.
I loved it and will continue with the series.
PS: The narrator, Paul Michael, crosses genders and characters so seamlessly that you forget it is the same person speaking.
12 of 13 people found this review helpful
Any additional comments?
I really wasn't too impressed with this book for the first third. The story is told in three parts, with each beginning with a Prologue. This approach felt a little disjointed, but in that second third, I was getting comfortable with the characters and warming up to the story. By the last third, I was on the library's web site and on Audible.com looking for the next book in the series.<br/><br/>The comparison of Lukyanenko's world building to that of Tolkien, that I read in other reviews, was ludicrous. The world we see in the Watch series is modern day Moscow, with the hidden forces of good and evil unbeknownst to average citizens. There are magicians, vampires, demons and shape shifters all aligned with either good or evil (Night Watch and Day Watch). Our main character, Anton, works for the Night Watch, which represents the good forces. He is a magician, though only an average one who works at the Night Watch as their IT/clerical support person. In these stories, he has been pulled out of his comfortable clerical/analyst job to assist on this mission. It becomes evident that not all is as it seems and there are larger forces at work. <br/><br/>This book is much more intellectual than, say Harry Potter or Discovery of Witches, because the thorough exploration of good versus evil. There are more than a few parallels between East versus West and Socialism versus Democracy. <br/><br/>This is one that I really enjoyed the audio because of the fabulous job the narrator does with the accents and pronunciation of the Russian names.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Fascinating premise. It will probably age badly die to the vampire-heavy world the author creates. Havent been charged up the read the rest of the series yet. Be warned, the novel is more like three novellas witht he same characters. I was a little disappointed the novel wasn't more cohesive.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
What made the experience of listening to Night Watch the most enjoyable?
As an American who has lived in both New York City and Los Angeles, it was the novelty of the setting, Moscow, Russia, that was most immediately enjoyable. The setting is almost a character of its own in this series.
Which scene was your favorite?
When the Light incubus who specializes in "romance" cannot lift the spirits of the young woman who has cursed herself over her own guilt, Anton is sent in to try to help her although he has no idea what he's going to do. The scene that follows between Svetlana and Anton is one of the best in the book.
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
The Night Watch series doesn't go for emotional manipulation, instead it plants ideas and concepts in your head that will stay with you for a long time as you ponder them.
Any additional comments?
It is such pleasure to find a fantasy series of true quality. The only reason I rated the performance at three stars was that I felt it could have used more energy. The narrater is not monotonous by any means, but his voice is so smooth and gentle that he nearly put me to sleep while driving.
6 of 7 people found this review helpful
Any additional comments?
Where do I start on such a great story? I really knew nothing about it other than the movie of the same name from several years ago, but I gave it a shot.<br/><br/>I was not disappointed. Sergei Lukyanenko builds such an excellent cast of characters and an incredible world of vampires, wizards, witches and supernatural beings. I was so engrossed with this story that I found myself sitting and listening in the garage when I got home, I didn't want it to end! <br/><br/>Paul Michael is an excellent reader with a top-notch performance! When it ended, I promptly downloaded the next three books and am still awaiting the next chapter that was just released in the UK... but not the US.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
I had the opportunity to read this book in Russian a few years ago, and I loved it. Then, I purchased the DVD version of the movie (which is from only the first story in the book). While the movie is somewhat different from the story in the book, I still thought it was fantastic. I enjoyed it so much that I showed clips of it to the students in my Russian Folk Culture class. Perhaps it is my obsession with all things Russian, but I am continually drawn back to this book, so I read it again in English. The translation was very well done, and I greatly enjoyed reading the book again. The story is about a group of "others" who represent the forces of good (or light) in this world. They work at night (as part of the Night Watch) to defend humans against the evil (or dark)"others." The book and its characters have a very supernatural feel, yet those supernatural "others" seem so human and easy to relate to. This book is the first in a series of four (Night Watch, Day Watch, Twilight Watch, and Last Watch), soon to be five (New Watch--or so I've read). Night Watch is divided into three short stories about the members of the Night Watch (and one agent in particular--Anton Gordetsky). Each story is self-contained; however, they all interconnect. I would highly recommend this book (and series!) to anyone who likes science fiction and fantasy--especially those who want a significantly more adult tale than those offered by many of the popular young adult series.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful