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The Night Watch

Watch, Book 1
Written by: Sergei Lukyanenko
Narrated by: Paul Michael
Length: 14 hrs and 45 mins

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Publisher's Summary

Set in modern day Moscow, Night Watch is a world as elaborate and imaginative as Tolkien or the best Asimov. Living among us are the "Others," an ancient race of humans with supernatural powers who swear allegiance to either the Dark or the Light. A thousand-year treaty has maintained the balance of power, and the two sides coexist in an uneasy truce. But an ancient prophecy decrees that one supreme "Other" will rise up and tip the balance, plunging the world into a catastrophic war between the Dark and the Light.

When a young boy with extraordinary powers emerges, fulfilling the first half of the prophecy, will the forces of the Light be able to keep the Dark from corrupting the boy and destroying the world?

©2006 Sergei Lukyanenko (P)2012 Audbile Ltd

What members say

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  • Brent
  • 18-06-13

Brilliant story, good narration.

The night watch series is one of my favourites and have read the novel 3-4 times. This time I decided to listen on audible. The story still stands out for me as excellent.

The narration was good, but some of the accents felt a bit off, but overall a good performance.

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kindle Customer
  • 07-03-13

The Night Watch: Watch, Book 1

Although I loved the films and would recommend them to any syfy movie lovers, yet again it is a case of the book being so much better than the films. For a start this book is split into three separate stories, two of which are barley referenced in the film and to do them justice each would need a film of its own. The character progression that you get throughout the books of both the dark and light characters, as they learn, grow and develop their beliefs really sets the stories apart. The series is written beautifully with wonderful imagery, imagination and plot. The machinations of both the dark and light others has every bit the excitement of John le Carré plots and the universe is just as realized despite the vampires, magicians and sorceresses that it is populated with. The narrator is, in my opinion, one of the best I have heard doing both male and female voices and varying accents equally well so that it is like listening to a play with a full cast. There is nothing that I would criticize.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Pauline
  • 04-03-12

A Very Good Listen

Should you be a ‘Marla Mason’ fan you are sure to like this book, but instead of the backdrop being America it is Moscow.
I have never visited Russia so the small amount of ‘place’ that is used meant nothing to me, but 'The Otherers' – witches, wizards, vampires, to name but a few – are placeless, they need no real scenery. Magic & sorcery abound as the night watches the day and vice versa, and the ordinary people are virtually unaware of the other city in their midst.
I'm moving right on to the next book in this series.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Bob
  • 27-12-15

Unexceptional

Any additional comments?

Angled around Vampires and what-nots, based in Russia and written by a Russian writer this novel had a certain freshness that I am sure many western readers would enjoy. I enjoyed many of the fringe characters some having interesting animal characteristics and one being an animal with character, the lead figure was thoughtful enough to carry the story although burdened with a certain John Grisham type of angst. This audiobook actually consists of three separate stories which all in someway interlink. The main issue I had with the stories is I didn't like the way any of them ended. I don't want to give any spoilers, so I won't but overall I just didn't think the endings represented good writing and I was left thinking that I would have just preferred it if the author had just written one longer novel for me to get my teeth into, if you pardon the pun.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sara
  • 15-05-12

Great take on vampires and good vs. evil

Highly recommended as it takes a really interesting angle on good vs. evil and the balance that must be maintained in the secret world that the normal person does not see. It is excellently written (or at least translated) and the narrator does a good job with it. I will be buying the next two books in the trilogy.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • F. Redwood
  • 03-03-12

A cracking supernatural yarn!

Set in Moscow, the work of the Others soon had me gripped. Told by Anton, his work as a 3rd grade magician patrolling the streets ensuring the balance between the Light and Dark Ones revealed a world of morals and rules followed by the creatures of the supernatural. With vampires, magicians, shape-shifters, sorcerers, monsters and inquisitors as well as the souls of those with their future as yet undecided, the plots between the two sides writhe almost palpably. At last, the three stories within this book bring all of the characters together for a final denouement with a twist in the tail.

Lukyanenko's imaginative portrayal of an invisible-to-mortals yet endless supernatural tussle between Dark and Light, playing out alongside the unsuspecting mortals, is captivating. From the laconic Anton, Svetlana the potentially powerful sorceress, Igor the young teen who vacillates between the pull of Dark and Light, to the Light "Boss" who relentlessly steers his charges towards a secrecy-shrouded goal, the listener is never entirely sure whether these are the good guys or not.
I can't wait to hear the second book!!

3 people found this helpful

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  • mat
  • 23-07-15

Wasn't what I was expecting, but I enjoyed it

What made the experience of listening to The Night Watch the most enjoyable?

it was fun and 'light'. Not gory, despite the content. I don't do 'gory' or tense. I work hard and like my reading to relax me and provide escapism. This book provided that.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

no, too long for that! But I did listen to it as often as I could. In car, in evenings. And I will listen to the sequel.

Any additional comments?

Spoiler alert... I wasn't expecting this to be a 'vampire' story from the description, more of a 'witchy' one. I was initially worried but in the end the 'vampires' were a minor part of the story and it was a fun mix of paranormal.

1 person found this helpful

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  • AudiobookDevotee
  • 17-02-20

Good story hurt by the rules it establishes.

This book is a bit weird. It often uses a chess analogy to describe the characters as pawns or rooks etc. but the book makes it quite clear that the two sides are locked in a stalemate. If one side casts a spell then the other side is allowed to cast an equivalent spell. If one side breaks a rule then the other side can similarly break a rule. Once you realise that you are effectively reading about a complex series of chess matches where both sides are playing to get a draw and have been drawing their matches for hundreds of years it becomes dull.

That’s not to say the narrative isn’t gripping. The start is really strong and sucks you in brilliantly, however, as the world builds over time the novel makes itself less and less interesting which is a shame.

I found the characters largely unsympathetic too. The main character is a bit weak, the boss is Dumbledore-ish with convoluted schemes that survive by plot armour, the baddies aren’t very complex and no-one switches sides. They don’t even get to pick a side it is just sort of ‘assigned’ to them. All in all, despite the story starting well by the end of it I really didn’t care who did what and had to force myself to power through to completion.

Having read a few reviews since finishing the book I have found out about the author’s rather unpleasant views and, once you learn what sort of person he is, things click into place that seem odd when reading. Sometimes they are spectacularly unsubtle with random characters saying words like “The Western countries have evolved as far as they can whereas Russia is still a young, vital country that could be a utopia.” Or how Communism was a good idea implemented badly. Or how if you want something stupid and trivial on TV it would have to be American. Just little digs all the time that are like when your grandparents whinge about ‘all the immigrants’ that eventually wind you up.

I won’t be reading any other books because I already know that the conclusion, per the rules of the universe, will be the maintenance of the status quo which isn’t something that fills me with excitement. On top of that I’m glad my money won’t be going to this guy in the future.

The narration was excellent.

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  • juozas kasiulis
  • 20-08-19

For night watch fans

I remember seeing a movie made with the same title so obviously, I was drawn to this particular audiobook. The story and characters were really good and the whole world believable. At least for me, it was easy to imagine everything what was going on. Really glad I listened to this audiobook.

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  • Fiona Mac
  • 12-03-19

Flat. Like the Earth isn’t.

This should have been a book I loved, it ticked all the right boxes, but frankly, it was just boring. I’ve gave up just after starting the second book (his female characters suffer from one of the worst cases of ‘written-by-a-man I have personally experienced. So dull; so two dimensional; so male-lensed). Actually ‘dull’ pretty much applies to all aspects of this book. It’s not bad. It’s just got no oomph! If there is an underlying device linking these stories, other than the character, then I haven’t got far enough through to find it. Maybe it’s the translation but life is too short and there are too many other books to be read. The narrator doesn’t help, though, again, it’s not that he’s bad. I feel that he gives a very believable portrayal of the character: mono-tonal.

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  • Tracey Aitchison
  • 26-01-18

an incredible insight into the Russian view

truly outstanding, the pose, the character development, the world-building and most of all the dream of communism. a beautiful look at what it means to be human, with a focus on what true power really costs.

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  • Janice
  • 11-08-15

please keep writing!

loved this series...fab narrator...movies are absolute rubbish in comparison as always ....seriously if you have only seen the movies the books are a must.

1 person found this helpful