Twilight Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko

Twilight WatchNight Watch series book 3

A review by Nalini Haynes

★★★★★ five out of five stars

Night Watch and Day Watch are books one and two respectively, Twilight Watch is number three. All books use the same format: three episodic stories, each with a teaser-style prologue and all the stories form a series story arc.

Anton was a normal human until he discovered he had magical powers. Becoming an Other opened up a whole new world to him, one with vampires living upstairs, witches working for the competition and an enigmatic boss to die for, although Anton would rather live.

Gesar, Anton’s boss, called Anton in to work during his holidays or, more correctly, sent him to the country on business under the pretext of extending Anton’s holiday. Seventy miles from Moscow, Twilight Watch is in new territory while Anton becomes entangled with a witch whose artefacts can change the world. The witch shakes Anton to the core while he struggles with Light versus Dark politics.

Anton married Svetlana, the love of his life, in spite of feelings of resentment. Anton ‘knows’ Svetlana will leave him eventually because he’s a third-class magician and she’s a Great Enchantress. As they say on Facebook, ‘it’s complicated.’

They have a daughter, Nadya, who is as precocious and troublesome as are all toddlers with the added whammy that her magical potential makes her as volatile as nitro glycerin. I adore Nadya; she’s so utterly believable, Lukyanenko must have drawn on his experiences with real children.

Lukyanenko’s Night Watch series has an amazing sense of place throughout, with the character of real places influencing the people who influence the character of places. Characters are believable and varied: some are consummate political animals like Gesar and Zabulon (Day Watch head) while others wisely step out of the limelight like Svetlana. Anton’s philosophical and ethical struggles give incredible depth to the series although readers wanting ‘splodey stuff can skim past the angsty bits. I love this series so much the minion has started reading Night Watch (book 1); he says he loves Lukyanenko’s use of language and his characters. Highly recommended.

What do you think of the covers? I love them; the texture, the colors, the overall ambiance. They also stand out on a bookshelf.