This was my first foray into Ligotti's work, being the only one I could find in the aftermarket, though his work has long been recommended to me by se...moreThis was my first foray into Ligotti's work, being the only one I could find in the aftermarket, though his work has long been recommended to me by several people. On the whole, I found it enjoyable, though I don't think it quite lived up to the hype—however, it should be duly noted that this was not among the volumes being hyped.
This collection struck me as a very solid entry in the world of short weird fiction, much in the tradition of all the classic Weird Tales authors, though somewhat modernized. This particular collection, however, struck me as deliberately anachronistic: written in the 21st century, it reads like the early 1960s as they might have existed in areas that were still experiencing the late 1940s. This worked just fine, since the whole genre generally retains a patina of outdatedness, and did from its very inception, yet for whatever reason it threw me a bit.
Fans of dystopian literature should find much to enjoy here as well, as a number of the stories seems to be set in a particular milieu which implies a thinly-described land of bureaucratic nightmares redolent of Kafka, though with less a flavor of despair than of a low-grade, vaguely Lovecraftian malignancy. So, while this only gets three stars for "I like it," I will continue to seek the more highly lauded volumes in the hope that they better deserve the praise.(less)
Because this is evidently the most popular book of the series, and because my ejoyment of the series has been trending downward for several installmen...moreBecause this is evidently the most popular book of the series, and because my ejoyment of the series has been trending downward for several installments now, I was expecting to dislike this one. I am pleased to report that this is a rare case where popular and good intersect: this was definitely my favorite of the bunch so far, despite ramping up the explicitness of both the gore and the sex. In my opinion, the depth of characterization in this story was greatly improved over the somewhat soap-opera-meets-comic-book quality of several of the previous volumes.(less)
Got the Blake story covered in proper reading order, but the rest laregely felt like a waste of time. At least I know now to avoid the Mageverse mater...moreGot the Blake story covered in proper reading order, but the rest laregely felt like a waste of time. At least I know now to avoid the Mageverse material: I am SO NOT the target demographic, and found it utterly execrable. "Blood Lust" was much better, and I even managed not to see the twist until just before the reveal. I can see the appeal now of the Stackhouse material, but again I don;t think it's really for me. I leave it to others, as I will assuredly do with this book. Too bad GR closed the bookswap, or this would assuredly be on it.(less)
Extremely derivative, but that would be expected by anyone familiar with the Ravenloft series or setting. Seems like handy background material for any...moreExtremely derivative, but that would be expected by anyone familiar with the Ravenloft series or setting. Seems like handy background material for anyone getting set to run the game, though.(less)
A modern sci-fi variant on the central themes of the Faust myth, set largely in late 20th century England. This is not a retelling of the Faust of eit...moreA modern sci-fi variant on the central themes of the Faust myth, set largely in late 20th century England. This is not a retelling of the Faust of either Goethe or Marloweper se, but definitely and self-consciously touches on the same over-arching theme, if with significantly less of the politico-religious overtones of those earlier, and decidedly more classic, versions. Where it does have a somewhat political subtext in simply in the background detail of a presumably post-Thatcherite England, which could perhaps grate on arch-conservatives.(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)
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)