While I really enjoyed The Night Watch trilogy, the way it ended confused me. I understood what was going on (eventually, after a couple of reads) and while it seemed to close up well and tie everything together, I had a feeling that we weren’t finished with Anton. Throughout the books, we gain a deeper understanding of the Twilight and the role of the Others. It’s not simply a case of telling us the next step of Anton’s life, there’s more to it than that. It’s what The Last Watch, the sequel to the trilogy, handles so well.
A familiar setting
While not the whole book, a good part of the story is set in a very familiar place for me; in Edinburgh. I was born there and I have family who still live there so I visit when I can – less so now I’m older and working – but I could definitely tell a lot of research and planning had gone into getting it right for readers. Some will never have been there and while I’m not saying I know Moscow like the back of my hand from these books, there are parts that I could look at and remind myself of the books with. I like that.
There are attractions like the Edinburgh Dungeons, Edinburgh Castle and even Waverley Station to name a few and the Fringe Festival is also taking place. That’s not completely unrelated but doesn’t play a massive part in what’s going on.
Some old faces
There’s the usual crowd in The Last Watch. Anton is our protagonist still and we’ll see Svetlana, Nadiyushka, Gesar (although it’s spelt Geser in this book. That confused me), Zabulon, Arina, Edgar, Semyon and even Egor.
We’ll meet new people too, of course as Anton doesn’t stay in one place too long and it’d be boring if this was purely a holiday! The head of Edinburgh’s Night Watch, Foma, is a new acquaintance and we’ll be meeting Galya again, a young werewolf girl who was first introduced in The Twilight Watch.
My favourite character also made an appearance again, which I really enjoyed even if it was only briefly.
A word on the films
Films don’t really come under my remit here but they’re worth mentioning. While I can and do watch them, they are vastly different from the books. The Night Watch and The Day Watch films are loosely (very loosely) based on The Night Watch book only. They’re worth watching so you can see how different but it annoys me for multiple reasons – that’s another story.
When references are made to events in other books, a note is placed at the bottom of the page so the reader can check up on it, which is great if it’s been a while. This happens in The Last Watch as Anton thinks about what might have happened in another situation or life. It’s a bit of a nod but for me, puts some distance between the films and the books. Needed distance.
Tell me if you agree!
A great spin on a classic myth
I don’t want to give too much away by going into a lot of detail but the Merlin myth is introduced to us in The Last Watch. I say introduced because it’s one of the stronger links made out of all four books – at least that I related to. It makes sense in a lot of ways for it to appear in this book given the setting and it provided a much deeper background to the world and history of the Others and the Twilight.
It was handled very well, treated as myth and history up until the end where the revelations are made. I found myself guessing what might come up throughout the book and while I got some small details right, I was actually way off with a lot of my ideas.
This was a really good way to end off the books, at least for now. I’d have been quite happy to have no more at this point – yes, there are more things I’d like to know but I like that. It keeps me going back for more, digging up clues I might have missed. The story came back on itself and I was content with that. However, there is more to come, as I found out earlier this year! Check back next week to find out what that is.