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I can t get over the suspicion I m reading this in the wrong language.Simple, really I am I m reading it in English.The philosophy of language makes me dizzy the chicken egg relationship between cognition and verbal expression means that something is likely lost in translation thesophisticated or fantastical a thought becomes Even simple phrases have deeper meaning Take the concept I have to walk the dog Not too hard, is it Except in translating, do you use the pronoun I or is it implied in the verb If you leave the I out, are you implying something about importance of self What about walk and dog In English, walk tends to imply aleisurely pace In America, there is often an implication of economics and social status You have a dog You have free time to walk it Money to feed it You have a safe place to walk What s the equivalent expression of leisure and obligation Is the have to an ethical obligation or a social one Declaring or implying Somethingis contained in every word chosen a hint of characterization, a whiff of judgement, an implication.As I said, dizzy.I liked The Night Watch And yet I felt I missed some of the details, the emotional impact of the whole The concepts are deceptively simple Balance Sacrifice of the few for the many Sacrifice of the personal for the larger goal The bureaucrat forced into action Love.The rest of this review will be at Others They Walk Among Us Observing Set In Contemporary Moscow, Where Shape Shifters, Vampires, And Street Sorcerers Linger In The Shadows, Night Watch Is The First Book Of The Hyper Imaginative Fantasy Pentalogy From Best Selling Russian Author Sergei Lukyanenko This Epic Saga Chronicles The Eternal War Of The Others, An Ancient Race Of Humans With Supernatural Powers Who Must Swear Allegiance To Either The Dark Or The Light The Agents Of The Dark The Night Watch Oversee Nocturnal Activity, While The Agents Of The Light Keep Watch Over The Day For A Thousand Years Both Sides Have Maintained A Precarious Balance Of Power, But An Ancient Prophecy Has Decreed That A Supreme Other Will One Day Emerge, Threatening To Tip The Scales Now, That Day Has Arrived When A Mid Level Night Watch Agent Named Anton Stumbles Upon A Cursed Young Woman An Uninitiated Other With Magnificent Potential Both Sides Prepare For A Battle That Could Lay Waste To The Entire City, Possible The World With Language That Throbs Like Darkly Humorous Hard Rock Lyrics About Blood And Power, Freedom And Responsibility, Night Watch Is A Chilling, Cutting Edge Thriller, A Pulse Pounding Ride Of Fusion Fiction That Will Leave You Breathless For The Next Instalment So I was strolling through a thrift shop one day a few weeks ago and came across this book on a sale table I had never heard of it before but was intrigued by a blurb on the cover that said Brace yourself for Harry Potter in Gorky Park The Night Watch takes place mostly in and around Moscow The book is really broken down into three parts but all three focus on Anton who is an Other, working with the Night Watch Others can be shape shifters, magicians etc., the main point being that they are all Light Ones, who patrol the streets and keep an eye on the Dark Others vampires, werewolves, dark magicians etc in an effort to ensure that The Dark Ones adhere to the treaty established by the Light and the Dark many years ago following WWII Think Good versus Evil with the Light representing all that is good Anton has been with the Night Watch for five years, during which time he has seen very little if any field work, until now As the story progresses Anton will begin to question many of the actions taken by the Light and decisions made by his boss and mentor The root of his uncertainty is mostly about whether the end justifies the means He feels shackled by the restrictions placed upon members of the Light and finds himself wondering sometimes if he could dogood in the long run if he joined the Dark Of course to do so would result in him being trapped in the Twilight forever.DestinyWhile riding the metro Anton notices a black vortex hanging over the head of a young female passenger He gathers power from his amulet and attempts to knock it back, but the vortex soon returns Clearly this is the real deal, the product of a powerful Dark Magician Having once left the metro Anton saves a young boy who has been mesmerized by a team of vampires Arriving on the scene just in time Anton neutralizes the male vampire, while the girl, freshly initiated by her teammate, escapes By the time Anton is able to take stock of the situation even the young boy he has saved Egor has fled the scene Back at the office Anton learns from his boss that the young boy Egor is also most likely an Other One who promises to yield great power but who has not as yet chosen between the Dark and the Light Meanwhile the black vortex is growing at an accelerated rate and if the Light cannot locate the Dark Magician in control the results could be catastrophic not just for the young woman, but all of Moscow as well.Among His Own KindAnton must find a Maverick Other who has been killing Dark Others Unfortunately the Dark Others believe that it is Anton doing the killing and they are hunting him.All For My Own KindMoscow is experiencing an uncommon heat wave and many of the Night Watch have been sent away on vacation Anton is concerned about Svetlana the young woman from the metro Svetlana has joined the Night Watch and Anton worries that she is being developed way too fast He understands that Svetlana is destined to become a great Sorceress but at what cost Anton loves Svetlana but he pushes her away, flees the countryside and in an effort to find out just what his boss has planned for her, he enters an agreement with the leader of the Dark Ones I can admit that it took me a while to find my legs here I kept thinking I was missing something and that maybe that something had been lost in translation from its original Russian to English But no, that s not it Nobody takes the reader by the hand here and explains everything to them We are not privy to what Anton has figured out while ruminating about all things and must consequently wait until the final denouement is revealed.This is a highly original story that brings together a motley group characters to form the Night Watch Warning, they take some warming up to I understand that at least the first part of this story has been made into a movie and I am just not sure how I feel about that I worked so hard to establish visual representations of all these characters in my mind s eye that someone else s vision is sure to disappoint Did I mention that Anton has a partner, Olga, a powerful female Other who has been turned into an owl.Definitely Recommended Okay, I m still not sure what to think of this book, but let s try and ruthlessly cut the crap for once, shall we The Good The World is pretty cool and original and stuff.The thing is, I m not sure how much that has to do with the fact that the author is Russian and that the action takes place in Moscow Because, when you think about it, this book is really just another case of yawn typical, average Goodly Good vs Evilly Evil Urban Fantasy GGvEEUF Only that it s, um, you know, set in Russia and stuff Which is pretty refreshing and stuff Granted, Lukyanenko puts a nice twist to things by using the dualism of choose all that apply black white, light darkness, good evil to create a Grey Area Type World GATW His characters try and maintain the balance between Good and Evil, which inevitably leads them to do bad things for good reasons and, um, you know, good things for bad reasons Which is all very nice and stuff, until Lukyanenko starts philosophizing about it at length exoskeleton starts itching uncontrollably Buton that later Cool stuff galoreThe coolest among which is probably the MC s Polar owl sidekick I want one for Christmas, just so you know There then isremoralizationwant to know what this is Read the book You are quite welcome , magicians who are werewolves rather than werewolves who are magicians, global cataclysms yay , lots of interesting facts about Russian cognac, ordinary malevolence quotients how disappointing indeed , esoteric suicide, cameo appearances by yummy demons I want, pretty fishing funny body swaps, psychopaths on the side of Good, a most serendipitous line about Monday Starts on Saturday, highly specialized combat magicians, alternative newspaper reading, analytical sorceresses, and computer programmers who would rather die rather than be separated from their beloved MiniDisc Walkman I can so relate Sorry about that, talking about MiniDiscs makes me reminisce about the good ancient days of my youthful youth and stuff. It s all in the MatryoshkaLike them or not, there is always something a little different about Russian books An indescribable mix of nostalgia, humor, drama and reflection I have never come across in any other type of literature not even that of Papua New Guinea, as surprising as it may sound It sets a very distinctive tone and is bloody shrimping refreshing, methinks The Meh Short story formatNow I don t usually mind short stories and novellas I used to but now I am old and ancient and no longer have the patience to read longer books have seen the light , but this felt a bit, I don t know, odd and stuff Maybe because I thought that this was going to be one novel, not three separate stories Then again, the very same thing happened when I first met my ex boyfriend Geralt, and I never had a problem with it Okay, so I might have been too busy planning Geralt s kidnapping to overthink the short story thing back then Anyway, there s a general arc for the book so the stories don t feel Super Extra Disjointed SED or anything, but it still doesn t change the fact that I m not a Super Huge Fan SUF of this format for this particular book And stuff Slightly Pointless Boring Plot of MehNeed I sayDidn t think so Vamps begonePlease someone, anyone, BAN THE BLOODY SHRIMPING BLOODSUCKERS from all of Fantasy already I beg you Yes, theirgastronomic attitude to human beingsis delightful indeed, but apart from that They are boring and dull and lacklustre and uninteresting and insipid and unexciting, and MUCH better used as hole punchers, if you ask me waves at Kate Daniels See My pal Nosfe himself finds this all so damn coma inducing he has to resort to playing with the lights to stay awake. The Bad Emotional Flatland, Inc.My favorite herd of enthusiastic as bricks ironing boards is facing tough competition again I don t know whether this was intentional on the author s part, but the MC comes across as so distant and aloof and detached and cold and stuff that I didn t give two shrimps about what happened to him I mean, if the character himself doesn t give a shrimp, why the fish should I And the same thing can be said about the whole cast They could have all just dropped Very Deadly Dead VDD , for all I didn t cared Blah blah blah to deathly deathYes, it is interesting to read the MC s never ending musings about Good and Evil and how to keep the balance between the two and woe is me should I do good for nefarious reasons oh my what to do help me vodka woe is me again Once Not twice Nor thrice Or throughout the bloody shrimping book You get to the last story and just feel like shaking the guy to oblivion, and telling him to either DO SOMETHING or DROP DEAD ALREADY Horrendous Translations R USOkay I have now read four books translated from Russian to English by The Person Who Translated This Book Said Person seems to translate 99% of all contemporary Russian books out there, for some reason And even though this one is not the worst by far , it is still Clunky as Fish CaF Everything feels off all the time Everything feels, I don t know, not right yes, that is a technical term Is it because Russian is a difficult language to translate I think not, because I ve read several Russian books in French in the past, and never felt this way Is it because Russian is a difficult language to translate to English in particular I think not, because both Antonina W Bouis and Olena Bormashenko do a pretty convincing job of it Get it Good Nefarious Last Words NLW this book could have been Slightly Very Good SVG Only that it wasn t A most disappointed crustacean is me Pretty cute for someone as nefarious as me, huhPre review nonsense Actual rating 3.321548 stars 3.1245688 stars 3.457952 stars 3.2456689 stars What to think of this book, I know not Summon the members of my back up think tank and have them viciously brainstorm over this I must Pretty wondrous bunch of vicious substitute grey cells, is it not Return I shall when come to a most perceptively acute conclusion they have Full review to magically appear post haste and stuff.P.S Yet another Super Extra Clunky Russian to English Translation SECRtET courtesy of the Person Who Shall Not Be Named this is A slightly little bit if bloody shrimping annoyed by this I might possibly be Maybe Perhaps. You know, I ve read this entire book and met quite a few Russians and I still don t understand them though I think, as a nation and hodge podge of ethnicities, they re one of my favourites Apart from the Irish, but who can t love those crazy, drunk, lucky bastards Okay, for legal purposes I am forced to clarify that they are not always crazy, drunk, lucky, illegitimate or a combination of one orof those characteristics This is an unfortunate stereotype propagated against the great people of Ireland Basically this book was a culmination of every Russian stereotype that I absolutely love Anton Gorodetsky is a fourth sometimes third level magician or Other working for the side of light in mostly present day Moscow He is littlethan a COMPLETELY AWESOME computer program who doesn t appear to have any great destiny in front of him until he stumbles across a woman, SvetlanaNightwatch takes you from the beginning of their romance, which has been given the poo poo from the bosses who see people s destiny s, towards the foretold climatic event that will tear them apart and this does so in three short stories that kind of all work together.But if that was the real story of Nightwatch then I d reasonably expect a lotTA Children do not, I repeat, DO NOT ask your parents what this means Just look it up on the internet and pretend that you knew it all along like the adults do because this is a long book.No, it s not really the story of true love between a computer programming magician and one of the most powerful sorceresses to have been discovered in the last century.It s a story about a Russian man trying to moralize the difference between good and evil and coming to the inevitable conclusion that it s all fucked anyway and the most you can do is drink your Vodka, love your woman and recognize that your employer government and religion is all going to screw you over big time at some point, probably now.it s so very, very delightfully nihilistic and the amateur, layman philosopher in me loves every bit of it.So the good parts of this novel is the ambiguous moral value, situational philosophising on right and wrong and the dualistic ethical outcomes of action vs inaction.Anton Gorodetsky is a fantastic character both parts maker of his own destiny and trapped in it powerless against the larger movers and shakers that control his world He s smart, analytical and thoughtful.The plot twists, the world building and the other characters are all great, with one exception that I ll cover later This is not a boring read, in my opinion though it does wax lyrical at some points.I think the biggest let down is Svetlana in this series Not because of her decision or actions but because she is so very two dimensional She exists only to be Anton great love but Lukyanenko never manages to convince me that they truly love each other Mostly because his interest in their courtship is almost non existent and so much of it doesn t even appear in these three short stories In fact, the strongest emotion I ever get between them is hurt feelings and a vague understanding of each other They never make each other smile, they don t have any silly couple quirks and they don t even seem to enjoy each other s company.I ll never complain that Lukyanenko writes vapid female characters because Svetlana in her own rights is not weak Nor could you suggest Olga or Tiger Cub are weak characters It s just that outside of her purpose as the detonator for Anton moral uprising, she doesn t exist and fulfils little other niche.So, over all, I loved this book and I can t wait to read the others It s a worthwhile read even if it does give me a vague, nostalgic urge to break out the vodka, listen to Iron and Wine and consider life for the cruel, heartless, inevitable bastard that it is. I think I m a bit amazed.There s an awful lot I love about this novel and I had to put aside a lot of my well misinformed prejudices about what I think I like most about modern Urban Fantasy Let s be clear here this novel came out before most of the modern batches 1998 When it comes to similar themes of dark magic vs light and the exploration of an amazingly deep moral ambiguity between them, I actually prefer Benedict Jacka s UF novels when it comes to straight action, magic, and characters, but Night Watch takes things slightly farther with the honest questions.In both, anyone can be good or evil despite the categories, and there s a LOT of ground covered in both series, but Night Watch actually comes close to laying down a foundation of philosophical thought I can be summed up as balance if I wanted to be crude Let s not be surprised this is a modern Russian novel writing about modern Russia as a full out UF with vampires, magicians, alternate dimensional side realms, and a fight between the light and dark Add the police like drama and ramp up the focus of a morality of action versus the singularity of truth and the ambiguity of all the details will bring a hoard of devils home to us.Sometimes slow, very often broken up into what could be a series of novellas, this first book is nevertheless pretty brilliant.Where do dark magicians get their power Suffering Where do light magicians get theirs Joy Both diminish the source It s quite delightful.But if I m being very honest, this isof a 4.5 than a full 5 stars, but that s only due to my sheer enjoyment or lack that pulled down this otherwise sprawling philosophical twist to a traditional gritty UF Maybe my issue is in the translation Maybe it s my greater enjoyment coming from similar series to have treated the topic I do not know.Even so, I did enjoy this very much Especially the end. Final rating 3 5 starsWhy was is that the Light acted through lies, and the Darkness acted though the truth Why was is that our truth proved powerless, but lies were effective And why was the Darkness able to manage perfectly well with truth in order to do EvilI have no idea what to say about this I liked it and disliked it Both, equally I loved it because the idea is unique and there is a lot of thinking about consequences, life in general and lotBut i felt that the story was poorly executed Anyway, the book is separated in three stories First one is about Svetlana and boy Egor Svetlana is cursed by a black mage, and her curse may affect thousands of people, leading to their deaths which will probably end by earthquake, war, comet or anything on big scale while Egor is the Other Ini who needs to decide whether he is going to be in Night watch or Day watch Either good or evil Second is about a rogue Light Other Ini who is killing Dark Ini, and all of the blame is being placed on main character Anton Third is about Night Watch s party time and some thinking and such, with some kind of resolution in the end I guess my favorite stays the second oneMany years ago someone told me something that I flatly refused to accept And I still don t accept it now, despite all the times I ve seen it proved right The common good and the individual good rarely coincide Sure, I know, it s true.But some truths are probably worse than liesThe bad The problem is that every of these stories ends suddenly Next one starts almost immediately, and you have to wait a lot until you find out what happened to other characters from the previous story I found that quite irritating Sometimes i had no idea what was going on And there were a lot of stuff going on I just don t know And it really bothered the hell out of me It was just poorly executed while it could have been good Writing I also found the writingtrickysometimes i just didn t understand what writer wanted to say, so i had to go few pages before and read it all again Characters Except for Anton, i thought all of the characters were seriously underdeveloped Except maybe Olga, but still Svetlana is especially underdeveloped And she is supposed to be one of the main characters The good Stories were quite interesting I liked them, especially the second one, it was amazing if it hadn t ended suddenly like other three Anton is cool character, i loved his thinking, i loved his voice The world building is interesting Even though it s about good side and bad side and so on, i just found it different No matter how much confused i was, i never found it boring The moral and philosophical value in the story.CharactersAntonis just awesome I loved him, i enjoyed reading the book only because of him He is also a programmer, and i love programmers 3 being one myself Anyway, he is also a magician, Night Watch and crazy as hell I loved how he questioned everything eventually, his struggles and decisions He is really analytical, he analyses everything before doing something that he would regretSvetlanareally felt underdeveloped I felt like she was there only to be love interest, and i have no idea how the hell it happened I mean, i get it that some time passed between the stories, but i just don t get their Anton Svetlana relationship or their love It didn t feel real She just felt two dimensional and that s a big let down She was also not interesting in any way at allOlgaI liked Olga, i loved her in just every sense To bad that she was not meant to be Anton s lover or something, because i think they would have been perfect for each other She is just so interestingEgori really liked He is sympathetic type of character and i just liked him a lot He is so cute 3 He is kind of like Anton, he thinks a lot about everything, he questions a lot about both sides and in the end he decides his fate There are of course a lotcharacters Some were interesting, some were not, but i definitely liked the characters from the Day watch OVERALLI really have no idea what to think about this one I liked it but i didn t My final decision is to not continue this series, because i just lost interest in it This review can be found on my blog infinity of time.blogspot.com also known as For the past month or so I have been regrettably absent from the nets that I like to call my digital home Real life demands have left me with precious little time to call my own and,frightening still, the books that have found their way into my hands have not been inspiring me to take to the webs and shout my opinions into the ether with my usual gusto Yes, I was in the grip of a mid winter malaise second to none where everything I read, saw, or listened to just seemed either like it was trying too hard to be something that it wasn t or was emotionally empty pap that entertained but left little behind in its passing This was true until I finally cracked the spine on Sergei Lukyanenko s fantastic Night Watch Finally, a book that was everything I wanted to read at that moment entertaining but thought provoking, engaging while still making me pause to appreciate a particularly good passage I knew I had been saving this series for a rainy day for a reason.On face this is a standard tale of good vs evil as performed by a motley collection of magicians, shape shifters, vampires and werewolves trying to preserve an ancient truce between the forces of Light and Darkness The keepers of this truce are the titular Night Watch, agents of the Light who watch over the night to make sure that the balance of power is maintained, and the Day Watch, agents of the Dark who oversee the sunlit hours Anton Gorodetsky is a mid grade Light Magician working as an analyst with the Night Watch, new to field work, who quickly becomes an important pawn in the latest scheme by the Day Watch to tilt the balance of power in their favor A familiar scenario but for the uniquely Russian ability to interject large amounts of ethical ambiguity and age old moral dilemmas see Kant Utilitarianism into a novel without it seeming heavy handed or needlessly digressive As Anton is drawn deeper into the secrets of the Watch, he is forced again and again to make extremely difficult decisions and manipulate events in ways that go against the core values of the Light but, as Gesar, the ancient magician who heads the Moscow offices of the Night Watch, likes to remind Anton it s all about the net effect As long as the amount of good created by an action outweighs the possible harm, the Night Watch is able to act with a free hand With as vague a definition as this, it is no wonder that the Light has been inadvertently responsible for some of the worst atrocities of the 20th Century and Anton comes to realize that the Day Watch does just as much to hold back the ambitions of the Light as his cadre stops the Dark Realizing that he is a bit player in a far larger show than he first thought, Anton tries as best he can to break out of the predictable paths that his superiors are relying on him to follow, which leads to a fair amount of madness in the streets of post Soviet Moscow.In Night Watch, Lukyanenko has crafted that rarest of gems a story that manages to both thrill and excite with non stop action and grand descriptions of magical powers while also forcing the reader to wonder what they would do in that situation If one had the ability to become an Other, would you return from the Twilight as an agent of the Light or an agent of the Dark Could you license vampires to feed upon the innocent even if it helps preserve a precarious peace Could you take it upon yourself to rewrite a person s destiny to push them closer toward the Light, or does that smack too much of compelling goodness a contradiction in terms if there ever was one These are the thoughts that the book left me with upon finishing and I could not help but turn immediately to the sequel for another serving of some of the best story telling I ve read all year. Night Watch is an amazing piece of Russian literature, definitelythan just your average run of the mill horror and full of creativity, imagination and depth behind the paranormal. I read Sergei Lukyanenko s Night Watch after having already seen the films based on it The movie Night Watch isor less a faithful adaptation of the first section of the book with a few embellishments The movie Day Watch is a much looser adaptation of the second and third sections.On the first page of the book, there are two messages One from the Night Watch that reads This text had been approved for distribution as conducive to the cause of Light The message from the Day Watch is identical except that it states that the text is conducive to the side of Darkness These two statements sum up the novel very well Lukyanenko imagines an all too familiar war between Light and Darkness and then turns it on its head The war is fought by Others who are different from humans in that they have magical powers But the war is long over in the present day Moscow in which the novel is set There is a treaty between Light and Darkness that both sides need to adhere to and it allows very little direct intervention from either side The most that either side can do is police the other side to make sure they do not break the treaty And so we have the Night Watch, Light others who police the night, and the Day Watch, Dark others who police the day.The story is told from the perspective of Anton, a computer programmer for the Night Watch who is getting his first taste of field work Anton makes an interesting narrator He s in a middle management sort of position in the Night Watch and you get the impression that he s an underachiever He s reluctant to go into field work and, through the course of the novel, we begin to see why Anton is a deeply introspective person who questions everything and, while he is fully on the side of Light, he has his questions about the Night Watch His desk job allows him to avoid these questions but, in the field, he needs to face them There is a family of Vampires, Dark others, in Anton s apartment complex that he is friendly with They are Dark, but they don t feed on humans and Anton likes them When Vampires do feed on humans, they get a license from the Night Watch Does this make the Light others responsible for the vampire s victim These are the questions that Anton asks himself and it makes the stark contrast between Light and Dark seem very gray.Each section of the novel follows a similar structure It begins with a threat to the balance between Light and Darkness Anton finds himself intimately involved and struggles to find the right way forward There is a moment at the end when an apocalypse seems imminent, but ultimately it is avoided The true, complex machinations of both Light and Darkness are revealed at the end, such that neither side comes off very well, and the stalemate continues Readers of traditional fantasy may find this frustrating, as the final showdown between Light and Darkness never materializes, but others will probably find Lukyanenko s worktrue to life.Anton s desire to do what is right never comes into question However, we experience his difficulty in determining the right thing to do The Night Watch always means well, but some of their schemes go horribly wrong Communism, we are told, was a plan of the Light others gone wrong And, in a remarkably even handed and subtle moment, we are told that the Nazis were the result of a Light other plan gone awry We are left to question, not our values, but how we can do anything in our lives without making concessions to the Darkness within us.If there is a problem with this book, it is that it becomes a little one note after a while A great deal of this book consists of conversations on morals and ethics between to characters or Anton s own internal musings Still, the novel transcends all of this at the end, and we are left to believe that the love between two individuals might beimportant than the battle between good and evil.