Review: Twilight Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko

Twilight Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko

Title: Twilight Watch
Series: Watch #3
Author: Sergei Lukyanenko
Translator: Andrew Bromfield
Published: June 13th 2007 by Miramax Books
Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy

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Night Watch and Day Watch, the first two books in this remarkable series, established Sergei Lukyanenko as a breathtakingly bold talent. Part fantasy, part vampire story, and part detective potboiler, this is the most successful science fiction series of all time in Russia and a true international sensation. In America, Fox Searchlight released the film adaptation of Night Watch to rapturous reviews, and adaptations of the next two books are in production.The world of Lukyanenko is 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.

In Dusk Watch, the Others face their greatest threat yet. A renegade Other, his identity as yet unknown, has absconded with a fabled spell-book of untold power and appears bent on attacking the entire earth. Now forces of the Light and the Dark — the Night Watch and the Day Watch — must cooperate to stop him. Anton, the hero from Night Watch, is back, but when the culprit turns out to be none other than his partner, the race against time becomes more urgent than ever. In a world where reality and magic commingle, and where different degrees of existence are layered one atop the other, nothing is ever quite what it seems.

I really love stories set in a different culture, it gives this fresh perspective and different take on the same mythologies.

For our hero, Anton Gorodetsky, life has been going well. He’s managed to marry the girl of his dreams, and they have an adorable toddler. He’s a 2nd Level Magician, a computer expert, well versed in history and philosophy and has come to understand that despite how much he wants to, he can’t save the entire world.

Unfortunately, he can’t even enjoy his much deserved vacation with a glass of vodka and some peace and quiet. You see, Anton works for the Night Watch, the organisation of Light Others who keep watch over their Dark brethren and make sure they don’t get up to too much trouble. Only now trouble has arisen and Anton needs to cut his vacation short and go undercover to stop the secret of the Others from being revealed to the entire world.

The more Anton learns, the more it seems like everyone is lying to him. He’s no stranger to being manipulated and pushed, but what he’s about to discover might just turn everything he’s ever known on its head.

What I liked most about this story, and the series as a whole, is how intricately plotted it all is. Leader of the Night Watch, Gesar, is one of the best schemers in literary history, and every single case they work is somehow tied up into a bigger picture. The books are all split in three parts, with each part a separate case and, as I said, each case slotting into the others to provide an overall story arc. In the first book, Night Watch, we learned a lot about the Light Ones. In the second book, Day Watch, we got a sneak peak into the world of the Dark Ones. In this book, through Anton’s disillusionment, we finally realize how very little separates the two sides.

I liked Anton, he is a truly good guy who just wants to help. To the point where he would let a drunk mechanic strip his car so the guy can feel accomplished and like he earned his next bottle.

While the themes of morality are heavily broached in this book, lets not forget that it’s also a lot of fun. Where else but in Russia can you fight off a vampire with a glass of vodka?


Sergei Lukyanenko (as his name appears on books and films in U.S. markets) is a science-fiction and fantasy author, writing in Russian, and is arguably the most popular contemporary Russian sci-fi writer. His works often feature intense action-packed plots, interwoven with the moral dilemma of keeping one’s humanity while being strong.

Lukyanenko is a prolific writer, releasing usually 1-2 books per year, as well as a number of a critical articles and short stories. Recently his works have been adapted into film productions, for which he wrote the screenplays. He lives in Moscow with his wife Sonia and two sons, Artemiy and Danil, keeps mice as pets and enjoys cooking.


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