My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Sergei Lukyanenko is a science-fiction and fantasy author, writing in Russian, and is arguably the most popular contemporary Russian sci-fi writer. His works often feature intense action-packed plots, interwoven with the moral dilemma of keeping one’s humanity while being strong.
In Night Watch, set in modern Moscow, the “Others” live among us, 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?
This book was recommended by both daughters and Jeff Miller. Plus I liked the movie, though I realize the book is different in many ways. And now I can say I’m reading Russian novels. No need to say which Russian novels since people assume the big classics … right?
The book is three stories, linked by their setting and the fact that each is told by Anton, a Light Other who has is now getting field experience after having been a file clerk for several years. As he gets more experience, the reader learns more about the subtleties and intricacies of the world between light and dark. Each of the stories is thoroughly engrossing and although they build upon each other, they stand alone very well.
The first page of the book has two messages, which are puzzling and amusing as an introduction. However when I had finished the book I realized they also served to sum up how the author uses the different stories and characters:
This text has been approved for distribution as conducive to the cause of Light.The Night Watch
This text had been approved for distribution as conducive to the cause of Dark.The Day Watch
Final result: simply fantastic. The way the three stories all look at Light and Dark, treaties and compromises, and even what it means to be unyielding on one side or the other … is all not only a good story but food for thought about our own lives.