Kat Kennedy's Reviews > Night Watch

Night Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko
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Oct 01, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: leaves-awesomeness-behind, kat-s-book-reviews, favorites
Read in January, 2010

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 or more of 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 little more than a COMPLETELY AWESOME computer program who doesn't appear to have any great destiny in front of him until he stumbles across a woman, Svetlana

Nightwatch 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 lot more T&A (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.
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Reading Progress

09/27 page 1
0.0% "Yes! Been waiting for months for the library to hand this mumma over!"
09/28 page 65
14.0% "In soviet Russia book reads you! Have I mentioned before that I absolutely love Russians? They're the best!" 2 comments
09/30 page 300
65.0% "*Sigh* so nihilistic and depressing yet I love it!" 2 comments
05/06 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-13 of 13) (13 new)

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Dominika oH OH OH. I'm waiting curiously for your review!


message 2: by new_user (new)

new_user Did you see the movie? Good stuff. :D


message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

So, you like my recommendation?


Kat Kennedy Yeah I really, really enjoyed this book!

New User - I haven't seen the movie yet. I'll have to give it a go!


message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

Glad you liked it! :)


message 6: by Tatiana (last edited Oct 02, 2010 05:05AM) (new)

Tatiana You make me feel embarrassed that I haven't read this book about my own people. I am not a very good Russian I guess:(


message 7: by Tatiana (new)

Tatiana And I had to google T&A too:o)


message 8: by Megan (new) - added it

Megan You know, I tend to stereotype Austrailians, because the ones I have met are all incredibly cheery, sun-loving, adrenaline junkies. So I have a hard time picturing a tan, smiling Aussie contemplating, "...life for the cruel, heartless, inevitable bastard that it is" while downing the vodka :)


Kat Kennedy Tatiana - FOR SHAME!!!!! :P I don't know if you'll like it, really. Who knows. Give it ago! Even if it is just out of national pride!

Megan - Yeah, some Australians are actually quite down-right morbid (not as bad as the Russians though) but our laissez-faire, apathetic nature means that usually we don't tend to dwell on some of the sadder philosophical wonderings that we're bound to have.

Our favourite saying other than, "She'll be right." could be, "What can you do?"

The answer is drink.

And we do that a lot!


Dominika You'll have some T&A (I had to google it too :>>) in Day Watch;p


message 11: by Hyeon (new)

Hyeon you reviews are so engrossing, it makes me smile and feels like I'm reading a fun short story.


message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

(I know I actually shouldn't say this But, I love THE THOSE drunk and lucky IRISH) :)


message 13: by [deleted user] (new)

Ohhh and I had to look up T and A (your probably one of the few who knew the meaning all along) :))


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