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Night Watch Paperback – July 26, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Set in contemporary Moscow, Lukyanenko's fantastic American debut—the first in a series about an epic struggle between good and evil—charts the adventures of a race of supernaturally gifted Others, who serve either the Light or Dark Side. The Others slip in and out of an eerie parallel world where they coexist in an uneasy peace that a terrible revolution may soon disrupt. Philosophical Anton Gorodetsky, an earnest Night Watch agent, falls in love with 24-year-old Svetlana Nazarova, a troubled young doctor under a Dark Magician's curse. While Anton endeavors to undo the curse, he discovers Egor, a gifted boy unwilling to choose between his Light or Dark abilities. As humankind's fate hangs in the balance, Anton is forced to re-examine his allegiance, and Svetlana is drawn deeper into the exotic, vivid universe of dueling magicians, shape-shifters, witches and vampires. Potent as a shot of vodka, this compelling urban fantasy was adapted to a Russian blockbuster movie in 2004. (July)
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“Night Watch is an epic of extraordinary power.”
“Star Wars meets the Vampires in Moscow . . . it bursts with a sick, carnivorous glee in its fiendish games.”
—The New York Times
“The Night Watch is inventive, sardonic and imbued with a surprising sense that, for this author and his audience, much of this stuff is new-minted.” —The Independent (UK)
A “sceptical, intelligent thriller.”–Telegraph (UK)
“Fascinating. . . . [The] excellent translation by Andrew Bromfield keeps the pace moving. . . . One of the most original and readable supernatural fictions in some time.”–Scotland on Sunday
“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.”– Ron Charles, The Washington Post Book World
“Lukyanenko is great at rolling out new concepts for the reader to savour.”–The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)
“[As] potent as a shot of vodka. . . . [A] compelling urban fantasy.”–Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“This modern day mythical fantasy is Anne Rice on an epic scale, a hugely imagined world. A chiller thriller from cold of Russia, this one's been selling like hot cakes around the world.” —Sunday Sport
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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The first two stories were terrific. Anton uncovers these elaborate plots devised by the Boss. The third story didn't make much sense. Anton is suffering from terrible angst that doesn't really make sense. As usual he doesn't discover that everything he has gone through was orchestrated by the Boss.
The writing style is uniquely Russian. I loved it. I recommend this book.
This is the second translation of this work that I've read. This translation seems to make the story more a tiny bit less "Russian", but probably a lot more understandable for the average English reader.
All in all, I find the book to be fun, easy to read and enjoy. Also, the fact that it's translated from Russian, gives us some insight to modern Russian culture and use of language.
Night Watch takes you into a world of Others, those who can experience another level of existence and in some ways manipulate what the rest of us consider reality.
Lukyanenko writes a fast-paced, urban thriller that introduces his characters through three acts, each intertwining to give a fuller picture of the world of the Day Watch and the Night Watch, how they interact, their tense relationship with each other, and the relationship of all Others to the normal human population.
The story is dialogue heavy, making it a quick, pulpy read for those who want to immerse themselves in a dark, moody urban landscape where there is ostensibly a black and a white but everyone lives in the gray in the middle.
The low point, through no fault of the translator, is the translation, which is actually very smooth and flowing. I imagine that Andrew Bromfield, the translator, deserves every single one of his numerous translation awards. That being said, there are definitely times (in the dialogue especially) where you feel that you've just lost something that the author was trying to convey. On the other hand, there are times when the translator is able to paint beautiful word images (e.g. "One day you will hear the sound of time rustling as it slips through your fingers like sand"). But don't let the fact that you don't speak Russian make you turn away; to do that would be to miss out on a great book that is well translated.
All in all: I was greatly entertained. I've already purchased the second book and put my name on the list for the release of the third. If you 're looking for a thrilling romp through a new world with memorable characters and a fresh ambiguity to the classic hero tale, look no further. Buy it and enjoy.