Is The New Watch really the End?

The New Watch

The New Watch

So, book five. I had very high hopes for Sergei Lukyanenko’s The New Watch. I love the first four and if this one could keep up with those, it was fairly certain I’d feel the same with this one. As it turns out, it did and I do! One thing I did appreciate was that the spelling for Gesar returned in this book, opposed to Geser as featured in The Last Watch. I’m not sure why it bothered me so much but it did.

So, let’s dive in.

A brand new mystery

We’re back with Anton Gorodetsky. He’s changed a fair bit since we first met in The Night Watch. He’s moved up the ranks in the Watch and gained a lot of power, which has undoubtedly helped his relationship with Sveta – or that’s what we’re led to believe. His daughter is growing up quickly and her power is unmatched.

Although we’ve been introduced to the idea of reading the future with probabilities and such, now we’re really get involved with Clairvoyants and Prophets. Both can spell big trouble for humans and Others and it opens up a whole new mystery about the nature of the Twilight – we’re even asked to question if it’s really alive!

Some more historical figures are revealed to us in this volume, expanding on the theory that most of the mythological and notable figures in our history were actually Others, explaining their talents in whatever field they were in. It’s an interesting idea and certainly gives our writer a lot to work with and plenty of people for Anton to meet. Zabulon doesn’t play a massive part in this story, much like the last, and that’s a shame. I do enjoy his meddling.

Arina also returns once more, even more powerful than before. I’m sensing a pattern here, with her. Ever since their first meeting in The Twilight Watch I had an idea that they were going to get into it and this might be their last chance if there really are only five books in the series (it’s no longer a trilogy with a sequel).

How important is destiny?

Ever hear the question “if a tree falls down but no one hears it does it make a sound” – or a variation of that – then you’ll be familiar with the question posed in The New Watch. It’s been altered a little and is now “if someone doesn’t hear a prophecy then will it still happen the way it is spoken?”

It’s an interesting idea and one Anton must get to grips with and make a decision on at various times through the book. There doesn’t seem to be a right or wrong answer so please tell me your theories on this.

It’s implied that the Twilight itself might be alive in some form and that it is at risk from Anton’s daughter, Nadia, nonetheless. It all comes down to the prophecies spoken and heard, making this a battle for survival. In that case, who is right and can anything be done to change destiny? Small changes have been made before, of course, thanks to the book of Destiny and Chalk from the original trilogy but what about on a grand scale? I’m not about to give away the answer.

So, is this really the end?

Honestly, I’m not sure. The ending could work, it does tie up a fair few things but leaves enough things to keep you thinking – and that is key. Think about all the TV shows, films and books you’ve read that tie everything up together. Do you find that you stop thinking about them until you’re reminded of them? I do but if there are things to think and wonder about, they stay with you longer, you go back to try and find out more and you’re more likely to talk about them. The New Watch does this well but I get the feeling that it’s not over.

The flip side is I haven’t found anything that might indicate a sixth book is coming (whether it’s final or not). Everything I can find suggests it’s just the five books but I’ve been talking to a few friends who are fans of this series and a couple have said they’ve read about a sixth so we’ll have to wait and see.

Either way, The New Watch is not one to miss. If you’re new to the series then get on it so you can enjoy some great books!

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Returning to The Night Watch Trilogy

Night Watch Trilogy

The Night Watch trilogy

It’s been quite a while since I first read The Night Watch – I can’t remember when, I just know that I was hooked. I stormed through it in a couple of days and the rest of the trilogy followed the same way. The Day Watch was probably my least favourite (but still fantastic) and The Twilight Watch had me re-reading different sections to try and make sense of what was going on – it happened very quickly!

Not the standard novel

While not always, I’m definitely used to reading a novel in a format I’m expecting. Chapters break it up, with further breaks at appropriate points. It’s one story from start to finish. Fine. Cool. The usual.

Not this time. The Night Watch, and every book that follows in this series is split into three parts. They still form a more complete story but there are bigger gaps in these breaks and the narrative of each is more focused. This gives each book more depth without having to drag its feet. In short, think three novella’s rather than one novel. However, they tie in well together.

This theme continues in The Day Watch and then The Twilight Watch. There is excellent growth for main and supporting characters, with some appearing and others returning at different times. The first story in The Day Watch deviates from the ‘norm’ in that it’s the only one to follow a different character – rather than Anton, our protagonist throughout the other eight stories we follow Alisa. This still ties in well and I won’t say more so I don’t spoil it for you.

Morality plays a key role

So, the basic premise: the world consists of humans and Others. These Others can use their powers to cast spells, transform and enter the Twilight, a second world that runs alongside our own. Time slows down and the energy is drained out of anyone who spends time there. Others are split into Light and Dark depending on their emotional state when they first enter the Twilight, as well as determining what they’ll become (a magician, shape shifter, witch, healer and such) and in a lot of ways, this is where the problems begin.

Anton is a relatively new Other compared to many other characters you’ll meet along the way. As such, he still believes himself to be mostly human and as a Light Other, he is concerned with protecting human beings as often as he can.

The older, stronger and wiser Others have lost this part of themselves. They are stuck in a war, a power struggle and endless games to tip the balance in their favour and they are prepared to use any means necessary to get their way. This includes influencing people’s decisions when they enter the Twilight and even prophecies from years before. We’ll touch more on prophecies later.

Anton encounters moral dilemmas in almost every story in the series and it’s how he decides to handle the problems that arise which determine who he is. Will he become an Other like his teacher and head of the Night Watch, Gesar and his rival Zabulon (head of the Day Watch) or keep a hold of his humanity? Maybe there’s a third option – that’s what Anton is looking for but he doesn’t always find it.

There are some great characters you’ll meet along the way such as Semyon, Olga, Alisa, Edgar, Arina and more although my favourite is Tiger Cub. One story sees Anton and his Night Watch colleagues visit her home and it sounds like paradise to me! Got a favourite?

Do let me know!

Are there some problems in the translation?

While these books have been translated well, there are instances where I feel it’s been too literal. I’m no expert on the Russian language – in fact, I have no idea about it – but some phrases just don’t read write and at times it reads fine but the message behind it is just a bit off.

I don’t think it really impacts the text too much but as a reader it would be nice to have those things fixed. I’m no expert on translations and contracts either (yet – one day, maybe!) but I’d have imagined some creative license could be taken with the author’s consent to solve some issues. You’ll also notice a lot of song lyrics and I do have to wonder how these translations hold up.

If you’ve looked into this, I’d love to know what you found.