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by Sergei Lukyanenko
Miramax, July 2006
464 pages
ISBN: 1401359795

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Sergei Lukyanenko's Moscow is different from the Moscow with which the reader might be familiar. His Moscow is a city where the Others exist. The Others is a group of beings, both Light and Dark, who can slip into a parallel world called the Twilight.

In the Twilight, things appear in shades of grey and only the Others can enter and leave it at will. That said, spending time in this parallel world takes a toll on the Others and can be deadly. These Others are vampires, witches, shape shifters and magicians. They co-exist under the Treaty that allows equal rights and actions. For example, if a Light Agent saves a person then a Dark Agent is allowed to kill someone and vice versa. For this reason, the Light Agents work the Night Watch and the Dark Agents work the Day Watch.

In this murky world is a Night Watch Agent, Anton Gorodetsky. Anton is philosophical about his position in the Night Watch. He does not always agree with the Treaty or its constraints, yet he rarely questions his superiors' decisions.

This changes when he meets two talented Others. These two have not picked sides but they have the power to change drastically the status quo. Svetlana is a young doctor under the curse of a Dark Magician. The curse hanging over her is strong enough to destroy the city. Alternatively if she can be converted to the Light Side, she must change Moscow and the role of the Others forever.

Egor is a young boy who is unwilling to choose between Light and Dark. He is incredibly talented and both sides attempt to recruit him. Anton must decide where his loyalties lie as Svetlana's and Egor's situations cause him to doubt his purpose and the role the Others play in society.

NIGHT WATCH is a combination of a supernatural thriller, a Star Wars movie and the multiple media forms of Harry Potter. While I usually do not enjoy books that borrow heavily from other works, I did enjoy NIGHT WATCH. While this book does have flaws, some of which stem from the book's spin-off nature, overall its strengths out-weigh these weaknesses.

Some of the descriptions regarding the Twilight are lyrical and thought-provoking. In addition, Anton's doubts and questions about his life and his future are doubts anyone can relate to. This universality should make NIGHT WAKE popular with the reading public.

NIGHT WATCH is the first book of a trilogy involving the Night Watch and Day Watch. Luckily it can be read on its own, as the story appears complete. Hopefully the rest of the series will be published in English as well.

Reviewed by Sarah Dudley, September 2006

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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