Night Watch - Sergei Lukyanenko

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Night Watch - Sergei Lukyanenko

Postby stormbringer_951 » Sat Oct 24, 2009 1:56 pm UTC

Anyone read these? It's a series of bestselling 4 Russian books (Night Watch, Day Watch, Twilight Watch, Final Watch) detailing the adventures of Anton Gorodetsky. He's an Other (a supernatural being, comprised of Light Magicians, Dark Magicians, Shapeshifters, Vampires, Werewolves, Witches ... you get the picture) serving in the Night Watch, which polices the Dark Ones (the designated bad guys) while the Dark Ones run a Day Watch which keeps an eye on the Light Ones. The books are complex, with several Xanatos Gambits on each side.

Anyone read these?
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Re: Night Watch - Sergei Lukyanenko

Postby clockworkmonk » Sat Oct 24, 2009 2:53 pm UTC

Yes, actually. Its one of my favorite series. I think what I enjoy is the subtle distinction between the two sides, and how the books slowly, over the series, removes the distinction, particularly in their perceptions of good and evil. I really just see the pretty awesome urban fantasy setting as a backdrop for the more ethical issues the book. That and I really enjoy the progression of Anton throughout the series.
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Re: Night Watch - Sergei Lukyanenko

Postby Jorpho » Sun Oct 25, 2009 10:57 pm UTC

Oh yes, fine stuff indeed. I still need to read the last one. (Wikipedia says there are assorted short stories, too.)
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Re: Night Watch - Sergei Lukyanenko

Postby mypsychoticself » Thu Oct 29, 2009 1:13 am UTC

I WANT TO READ THESE! Here is my problem: I could easily get these books in English, but I'm currently learning Russian. On the one hand, I'm not sure that my comprehension of Russian (especially colloquialisms) is quite good enough to read the books in Russian; on the other hand, I don't know that I want to read the books in English before I'm able to read the books in Russian.

Has anyone read the books in both languages? What do you think? How good is the English translation?
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Re: Night Watch - Sergei Lukyanenko

Postby HuggableHamster » Fri Oct 30, 2009 12:23 pm UTC

Ooh I didn't realise there was a 4th book. I really enjoyed reading this, as clockwork said I love the blurring of the lines, particularly at the start of the second book.
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Re: Night Watch - Sergei Lukyanenko

Postby harpyblues » Sun Nov 01, 2009 7:40 am UTC

Read these! They're great books, though they can get depressing pretty fast, especially if you're reading them one after another. It's probably the Moscow setting, or something. The movies were awful from what I heard though.
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Re: Night Watch - Sergei Lukyanenko

Postby Jesse » Sun Nov 01, 2009 12:32 pm UTC

The books are great in English, so you don't have to worry. And yeah, the Russian take on urban fantasy is amazing, with both sides kind of locked in a state of cold war.
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Re: Night Watch - Sergei Lukyanenko

Postby Jorpho » Sun Nov 01, 2009 3:21 pm UTC

I saw the first movie before I read the first book - not that it really spoils much in particular. But I found the book doesn't give half the impression of poverty, decay, and despair (perhaps those words are too strong?) conveyed by the movie. Perhaps the author originally assumed the reader would be familiar with the status of Moscow?
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Re: Night Watch - Sergei Lukyanenko

Postby Jorpho » Tue Nov 10, 2009 4:44 pm UTC

I'm reading that last book now. It's great - a bit too fluffy, perhaps, but full of action. Truly, a breath of fresh air after that other gigantic pile of crap. Reminds me a lot of Zelazny's Lord of Light and Chronicles of Amber, actually.

Sometimes I wish I knew more about all these obscure Russian references (among others) - it took me quite a while to figure out the reference to Gilles de Rais. Can anyone tell me what exactly a "chicken god"/"holey stone" is, and how it is formed? (One was also featured prominently in Coraline, actually.)
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Re: Night Watch - Sergei Lukyanenko

Postby Of Negligible Mass » Fri Nov 13, 2009 6:32 pm UTC

Did no one else find the books a little disappointing? I'd heard good things from several people about them, but I couldn't really love them in the end.

I don't think they translated very well to be honest. "The Chalk of Destiny"? Come on...
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Re: Night Watch - Sergei Lukyanenko

Postby Jorpho » Fri Nov 13, 2009 7:22 pm UTC

As MacGuffins go, I thought that was a pretty cool name, actually.

I've finished the fourth book and would have to say it's the best of the series, by a wide margin. I hope those short stories become available somehow.

I'm also wondering about these Uzbekistan "bread cakes" now.
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Re: Night Watch - Sergei Lukyanenko

Postby LavaLampMaster » Sun Dec 20, 2009 7:17 pm UTC

I started Night Watch the other night on my cousin's husband's advice, and I must say it hooked me. Like stated above, the premise is great, and the setting fits it perfectly. Also, I *used* to be fluent in Russian, and I can see a lot of places where it's clear the translator stumbled, finding them is fun in and of itself.

mypsychoticself: Get both languages, read the English version first, then the Russian. I did that with A Hundred Years of Solitude (after first having tried to do it first in Spanish). Although it would be a great exercise to really get into a book in a second language, it's also very difficult especially when the author uses a lot of figurative language. Start with short stories and poetry, really understanding them, before novels.
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Re: Night Watch - Sergei Lukyanenko

Postby Otis » Sat Jan 09, 2010 6:24 am UTC

I actually had to read this book for my sci fi and futurism class. My professor is fluent in Russian and goes back to the mother land once a year. He was able to pick apart some of the translation but I think he was just doing it to show off.

Also, as far as the "Chalk of Destiny" goes, it's pretty much Lukyanenko poking fun at other fantasy novels. My professor, who studies Russian literature and is a huge fan of the Night Watch series, said that Lukyanenko doesn't take his writing too seriously.
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Re: Night Watch - Sergei Lukyanenko

Postby Jar'O'Jam » Sun Jan 10, 2010 12:12 am UTC

I've read them all except the last book and I've really loved them. For the guy that complained about "the chalk of destiny", I'm afraid it's the original name :D
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Re: Night Watch - Sergei Lukyanenko

Postby Phoenix112358 » Wed Jan 13, 2010 12:29 pm UTC

My local library only has access to the first three translated versions. I've read the three and was absolutely hooked for all of them. Couldn't put it down for more than 12 hours. It was a fantastic read!
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Re: Night Watch - Sergei Lukyanenko

Postby Jorpho » Wed Jan 13, 2010 4:14 pm UTC

Really, the second one did have some painfully slow bits.
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Re: Night Watch - Sergei Lukyanenko

Postby Jorpho » Tue Jun 08, 2010 1:52 am UTC

I struck up a conversation with a cashier today who happened to have a copy of Day Watch next to her, and she suggested that Twilight Watch and Final Watch weren't actually by Sergei (despite what the covers say, evidently). No truth to that, is there?
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Re: Night Watch - Sergei Lukyanenko

Postby Jar'O'Jam » Tue Jun 08, 2010 1:45 pm UTC

Jorpho wrote:I struck up a conversation with a cashier today who happened to have a copy of Day Watch next to her, and she suggested that Twilight Watch and Final Watch weren't actually by Sergei (despite what the covers say, evidently). No truth to that, is there?

Yeah, I think that's some wild speculation or conspiracy theory.
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Re: Night Watch - Sergei Lukyanenko

Postby Jesse » Thu Jun 10, 2010 10:55 pm UTC

Jorpho wrote:I struck up a conversation with a cashier today who happened to have a copy of Day Watch next to her, and she suggested that Twilight Watch and Final Watch weren't actually by Sergei (despite what the covers say, evidently). No truth to that, is there?


I can honestly say that it doesn't matter to me, because they were really good.
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Re: Night Watch - Sergei Lukyanenko

Postby Zohar » Fri Jun 11, 2010 6:30 am UTC

I ordered the next two (only read Night Watch so far) but the bookstore hasn't called me.
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Re: Night Watch - Sergei Lukyanenko

Postby joek » Fri Jun 18, 2010 7:30 am UTC

Jar'O'Jam wrote:
Jorpho wrote:I struck up a conversation with a cashier today who happened to have a copy of Day Watch next to her, and she suggested that Twilight Watch and Final Watch weren't actually by Sergei (despite what the covers say, evidently). No truth to that, is there?

Yeah, I think that's some wild speculation or conspiracy theory.

They certainly read in the same style, at least in the English translations.
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Re: Night Watch - Sergei Lukyanenko

Postby Jorpho » Fri Jun 18, 2010 10:23 pm UTC

To be sure, Vladimir Vasilyev did write part of Day Watch (and indeed, you would never know it from looking at the covers of most editions).
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Re: Night Watch - Sergei Lukyanenko

Postby Skywatch » Tue Dec 20, 2011 8:15 pm UTC

Necro'ing this thread because I'm about to start reading the quartet again(for like the 4th time) while at the in-laws for the holidays. Wondering if anybody knows of anything similar that I could dive into. I saw a mention of Zelazny, so I might check that out.

I have a difficult time comparing the Night Watch series to anything else out there aside from if J. Letham had written Harry Potter.
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Re: Night Watch - Sergei Lukyanenko

Postby Jorpho » Wed Jan 04, 2012 4:15 am UTC

Whoops, missed that bump.

As far as "urban fantasy" goes, Diane Duane's Wizardry books are kind of in the same ballpark. She takes a rather singular approach to the genre, and the primary series is targeted towards younger readers, but there's definitely some areas of overlap.
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Re: Night Watch - Sergei Lukyanenko

Postby Jorpho » Thu Jan 09, 2014 4:45 am UTC

Well, well. So much for the "Final" Watch.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Watch_%28novel%29

There's something to look forward to in a few months.
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Re: Night Watch - Sergei Lukyanenko

Postby fuzzbucket » Wed Mar 19, 2014 11:34 am UTC

I saw a Russian TV adaptation of these, but my russian is pretty weak. I should get my hands on them!
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Re: Night Watch - Sergei Lukyanenko

Postby EMTP » Tue Jun 03, 2014 5:05 am UTC

Skywatch wrote:Necro'ing this thread because I'm about to start reading the quartet again(for like the 4th time) while at the in-laws for the holidays. Wondering if anybody knows of anything similar that I could dive into. I saw a mention of Zelazny, so I might check that out.

I have a difficult time comparing the Night Watch series to anything else out there aside from if J. Letham had written Harry Potter.


The Magicians and sequels by Lev Grossman. Fantasy for grown-ups, and the impulse to heroism not always working out.
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Re: Night Watch - Sergei Lukyanenko

Postby Zohar » Tue Jun 03, 2014 9:43 am UTC

I kind of disliked The Magicians. Wait that's not true - the first half was pretty entertaining, but the second half was much worse. And I couldn't get over how blatant the author was about doing Harry Potter and Narnia better.
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Re: Night Watch - Sergei Lukyanenko

Postby EMTP » Mon Jun 09, 2014 2:47 am UTC

Zohar wrote:I kind of disliked The Magicians. Wait that's not true - the first half was pretty entertaining, but the second half was much worse. And I couldn't get over how blatant the author was about doing Harry Potter and Narnia better.


The Magicians is not heroic fantasy, so if you're looking for that the denouement is going to be a disappointment.

I don't think Grossman is trying to do Potter better or Narnia better -- although I do think he does a much better magical college than Hogwarts. What he's doing, especially in the second half, is playing with and riffing on the concept of Narnia, the conceits, etc. The intention is closer to farce, although it's a sad farce. Like Don Quixote takes the concept of a real knight-errant and takes it to places dramatic, and foolish, and silly, and sad, Grossman takes the Narnia concept and puts his own sensibility to work. Cervantes isn't trying to write a better romance of chivalry, and Grossman isn't trying to write a better Narnia -- they are just putting those works of imagination through their own personal creative meatgrinders.
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Re: Night Watch - Sergei Lukyanenko

Postby Jorpho » Sat Aug 02, 2014 9:45 pm UTC

Jorpho wrote:Well, well. So much for the "Final" Watch.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Watch_%28novel%29

There's something to look forward to in a few months.
And, finished.

It's said that Lukyanenko wrote this book because he decided he still had things to say, and it is indeed pretty heavy on the exposition and philosophy. But the story never grinds to a halt, and the conclusion will keep you guessing until the very last page. Oddly, he leaves at least one prominent, dangling thread, despite having insisted that this will be It.

There are numerous references to the earlier books, some of which I'd slightly forgotten, but nothing insurmountable.

Some notes: at one point he lists off a bunch of "Remarkable Others", including Karl Cemius, Michel Lefroid, and Pan Chang. But I can't seem to figure out if these are actual historical figures. Any ideas..? (As I said above, it took me a while to find Gilles de Rais after he was mentioned in an earlier book.)

I'm pretty sure he makes a reference to Planescape: Torment at one point, which is kind of unexpected. (I really should finish playing that game before someone gives it away entirely.)

One thing I don't get is that Anton Gorodetsky is referred to as "Anton Sergeevich" once or twice, and I can't remember where that might have come from – I was kind of expecting there would be an alternate-universe suggestion thrown in sooner or later, but in the end there's no explanation. Does anyone remember?
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Re: Night Watch - Sergei Lukyanenko

Postby rat4000 » Mon Aug 04, 2014 10:30 pm UTC

His full name is Anton Sergeevich Gorodetsky (given name, patronymic, and family name). "Anton Sergeevich" is less formal than "Mr Gorodetsky" and somewhat more formal than "Anton" (which is in turn more formal than "Antoshka"). So someone giving a speech in his honor without knowing him personally will call him "Mr Gorodetsky", a boss will call him "Anton Sergeevich" (never "Anton") and a friend will call him "Anton Sergeevich", "Anton" and "Antoshka" pretty much interchangeably, but mostly use the last two.

Based on half a university course of Russian, as well as reading some Lukyanenko and much too little Dostoevsky.
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