Written as a sequel to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, told from the POV of Victor's wife with similar framing to the original, this novel portrays both...moreWritten as a sequel to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, told from the POV of Victor's wife with similar framing to the original, this novel portrays both Frankensteins as early converts to Gnosticism and Alchemy. Quite a stretch, but it is labeled as "fiction" for a reason. Quite engaging if one is into that sort of thing.(less)
Surprisingly, the movie of the same name appears to be based mostly on just the first of three stories in this book. And there are enough differences...moreSurprisingly, the movie of the same name appears to be based mostly on just the first of three stories in this book. And there are enough differences between the two to keep one guessing about the outcome, to a degree. The second story picks up chronologically after the first, but bears no relationship to the film apart from the overlapping characters, though some elements appear in a sub-plot of the Day Watch film. The third has still less to do with the screen versions, and digs a little more into characterization while also getting more philosophical.
The whole thing is quite unlike any supernatural-fantasy I've read before—most of which today has develoved into mere "paranormal romance" which this decidedly is not despite the required unrequited love interest—and is therefore a very refreshing take on the genre. This despite the fact that there do appear to be bits in the background that are not to readily comprehensible to an audience that is not immediately familiar with modern Russia, Muscovite geography, or Stalinist history. It's good to have Wikipedia handy if you like catching the subtler references. For example, I was amused to learn—from an oblique reference I happened to look up—that the surname of the protagonist probably derives from the poet Серге́й Митрофа́нович Городе́цкий.(less)
Even after reading Night Watch, I was somewhat surprised just how little this book had to do with the Day Watch film. Of course, with the major chang...moreEven after reading Night Watch, I was somewhat surprised just how little this book had to do with the Day Watch film. Of course, with the major changes to the plot which the author himself made to the screenplay, it makes some sense that the film story had to go in a different direction than the books.
It also was surprising to recognize elements of the first film in this book, though perhaps it should not have been since this was published well before the screenplay was even started. But the context for one scene was so different that, once I recognized it, I actually laughed aloud. While I can see how some of the fans of the movies may find this terribly disappointing, wanting to "read the movie" as I initially did, I find it rather clever. As written, these books work well as books, but even I can tell they would not have worked as film, as is so often the case.
The Inquisition factors in much more strongly in the latter two of the three stories contained in this volume, which helps to keep the intrigues between the Watches entertainingly convoluted. The first story almost seems like a throw-away confection, but wait—it factors heavily into much of what follows, and the repercussions are felt even into Twilight Watch. The third story, meanwhile, gets a bit more philosophical, with somewhat less "action" (in the sense of "action film"). Also, as other reviews have noted, much more of this sequence is told from the point of view of Dark Ones, though we do still get plenty of time in Anton's head as well.
Lukyanenko has herein created a wonderful blend of supernatural—action—police-procedural, in a modern world with real depth. I'm sure I'll be sad to reach the end of the series.(less)