This is a highly entertaining modern fantasy novel that is written in an unique manner. The main protagonist is Anton Gorodetsky, a light magician, who is a member of the Night Watch and as such it is his job to solve problems that occur in the supernatural community. This book deal primarily with the concept of a book which will turn all humans into others, it looks at what would happen if this happens and the story is Anton’s search for this book.
This is the third book written in the Night Watch Series or Watch Series. Sergei Lukyanenko has written numerous short stories, book series and novels. All his books were originally written in Russian and several including this series have been translated to English as well as several other languages. This book is in the contemporary fantasy genre since it takes place in modern times but still involves supernatural beings known as Others. These “Others” include Witches, Magicians, Enchantress/Sorceress, Vampires, Werewolves, etc. The book is told in three different stories each one seemingly stand alone, yet tied to each other and in combination completing a larger story. These stories are told using the third person narrative, mostly from Anton’s point of view but also from the view of other characters in the book
The first story is where Anton is sent in disguise to solve a mystery around an Other who can supposedly make humans into Others. This is a huge problem because if used it would cause a disasterous shift in the balance between light and dark. In the second story Anton is on vacation, but while there he discovers something amiss, which he decides to investigate. When he is looking into this he meets an un-registered witch and then finds more clues pointing to the ability to change humans into others. Both stories once again show the manipulations of both Watches to try to swing the balance. The third story once again brings up the ability to turn humans into others with Anton as the catalyst of solving the problem. Which he does solve, but in a very interesting and thought provoking manner.
This book reveals some interesting facts about the Day Watch and the Night Watch, it takes a good hard look at good and evil as well as intent. This story also explains that Others are actually people that have no magic in them, but can siphon magic from humans who all have varying degrees of magic but to such a small degree that they can not really do much with it. Therefore an Other who has zero magic in them has the ability to be an extremely strong mage because they can siphon unlimited amounts from the humans around them. The book also brings up the issues surrounding the light and the dark, previously the light was shown as good, even though it was just as manipulative as the dark, but the light’s methods were always without malice. But now it is realized that the light is really no different that the dark, with the power coming from siphoning off of humans, how is that any different than a vampire sucking blood? Anton is now at a crossroads, feeling disillusioned with his work in the Night Watch, but once he talks with his boss he is at peace. He sees where the members of the Inquisition come from, they are either Light or Dark Watch members who no longer differentiate between the two, but who see the need for balance.
There were a couple very interesting developments in this book, it was a good read and I am looking forward to the next book in the series. This is a stand alone book that comes to a satisfying, if somewhat sad conclusion. The book also brings forth many interesting philosophical questions. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading contemporary fantasy with a likeable male protagonist. The best things about this series are the uniqueness of the story concept, plot structure and the characters.