Nut Ink. Mini reviews of texts old and new. No fuss. No plot spoilers. No adverts. Occasional competency.

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Night Watch (1998)

Author: Sergei Lukyanenko  |  Translator: Andrew Bromfield  |  Page Count: 489

'Many 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.'

Night Watch are the good guys; up to a point.  They have their own agenda, like any organisation, but on a day-to-day basis they’re responsible for policing the actions of their opposites, the Dark Others.  The Dark ones draw their power from the negative feelings of mankind; some even feed on mankind itself, but that requires special dispensation.  Balance is all important.  If the evil should outweigh the good, the world is screwed.  If the good should outweigh the evil, the world is screwed from the other side.  But knowing that doesn't stop either side from trying to achieve dominance.  Among the casualties will be us, the humans.

Both the Light and Dark Others, irrespective of rank, have access to a deeper level of reality known as the Twilight, a place that exists beneath the fragile top skin of our own world.  The Twilight has many uses but equally as many dangers.  It's not a place for sparkly vampires who like to sniff girls.

Much like the Twilight, the events in the novel take place on a number of layers: there’s the familiar world we know; the unfamiliar world of the Watches; and the fantastical world that we can imagine exists all around us, separate from but wholly dependent on the other two for its contrasts and sense of magical realism.

Anton Gorodetsky exists in all three of those worlds; he's our guide.  Anton is a Light Other, relatively new to field work.  He patrols the night, hoping to catch the Dark ones doing something they ought not be doing so that he, and his organisation by extension, can gain an advantage in the inevitable war.  He knows that even little things, if left unchecked, can develop into catastrophic things.

The urge to read faster almost overwhelmed me as I neared the end of the novel, as the layering increased even more, but I knew I had to keep pace or risk overlooking something crucial.  Only the best stories have that quality.

4½ divergences in the probability field out of 5

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