A book for free: The Night Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko

I will start keeping track of the books I read, with a review: if you like the book or think someone will like it, just send me enough for postage via paypal at valsarno at gmail dot com and I’ll send it to you, for free. Or perhaps if I’m feeling generous (and rich), I’ll even pay for postage.
This is the Amazon link for this book: The Night Watch
 (By they way, image comes from interesting link about London Book Fair and Russian Lit, too. I hope they don’t mind my using it).
This is the first of a series of books my friend Toby Deveson says are increasingly brilliant. I might mention this guy a lot: keep in mind the most amazing books I have ever read mostly came from his suggestions or deliberate book sending. I believe few things are/should be a most welcome gift than books, and I have enormously appreciated his effort to educate and drown me in the otherwise unaffordable (at various times) beauty of the written word, which is why I am inspired to continue his lovely habit.  
The Night Watch is a book about Others, people who have awareness of the underlying world of magic called the Twilight, and have the ability to manipulate these underlying energies either for good or for evil. Of course, as one would assume, the line between what we’d consider good and what we’d consider evil is very very fine and at times quite blurred, so the book revolves mostly around this speculation.
There is indeed a hell of a lot of speculation in this book: the main character Anton, a Light Other (meaning he is there to enforce the treaty that prevents good ones from doing too much good and bad ones from doing too much bad), speculates A LOT about whether one action is good or evil and about all the machinations and manipulations of his boss and older, wiser magicians, to ensure good  (supposedly, or hopefully) is done through the years. I must admit some of that speculating you want to skip over, and dear Anton comes across as a bit of a drag. Sometimes.
The other thing Anton does a lot is try to figure out where these manipulations and deceptions are actually occurring. This is an extremely frustrating aspect of it, possibly the principal aspect. The consideration that the evil side’s (The Day Watch) point of view is somewhat preferable because at least they are open (or you expect them to lie) is often put forward, presumably setting up the premise for the next book in the trilogy, the Day Watch (which I won’t link because I haven’t read it yet and don’t wish for spoilers).
Another source of frustration for both our main character (but not, oddly, for other Light ones?) and us readers is that they can do so much good… but they can’t. There is a treaty in force which actively stops both Light and Dark ones form acting out their natures… and the Night and Day Watch respectively  enforce that treaty policing each other. But fun does talk place anyway, don’t worry.
On the whole, if you manage to skim read or stomach all the speculating and the frustration of figuring out the machinations and not being able to trust other main characters, the actions and adventures are quite engaging. The ending is almost cheesy, but on the whole it did leave me wanting to read the next one in the series… tough not quite as urgently as, say, a Harry Potter (it was the back book cover that draws that comparison in the first place… JK Rowling… Russian Style. Ah, give me a break . If anything that sort of comment would have put me off buying it in the first place! A book that is sort of like another one but different is never very promising).

2 thoughts on “A book for free: The Night Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko

  1. Oh yes, I am going to try and do that at least for those books I remember most. I must get back to writing and the only way I can do that is keep writing and writing :)Thanks for your comment Tobs, all agreed!


  2. all your concerns and doubts are addressed and dealt with in the rest of the series…as the characters, and their doubts about their place and role in the world, become bedded into yours and indeed the writers psyche. Agree it feels like the authour (and therefore Anton and the reader) are finding their way around the twilight and all the implications, morally and physically, but by the second and especially the third and fourth book the style, voice and world have found their voice. It may seem a long time for a voice qand style to be found (it should be found by the first chapter of the first book) but it is a journey and in a way it is a priviledge to go on the journey with the authour rather than to read a review of the journey once it is complete. Almost like having Abbey Road as your favourite Beatles album without ever haviong listened to Please Please me or the other albums in between. Look forward to other reviews! Are you going to review retrospectively? Return to books read in the past?Toby


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