My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Sergei Lukyanenko is back to full form in the third of the books looking at the Light versus the Dark. Intriguingly this book begins with the joint statements:
This book is of no relevance to the cause of the Light. — The Night Watch
This book is of no relevance to the cause of the Darkness — The Day Watch
Those statements seem like a clever follow up to those of the first two books but the reader soon realizes that they have more significance than one would think. The three novellas that make up this book are fast-paced, interesting, and pose difficult questions to Anton, from whose perspective they are told.
In the first, he must investigate a tip that it is possible to change humans into Others. In the second there is an almost fairy tale set up with small children wandering in a forest who meet a lovely lady. The third turns into an unlikely alliance seeking a renegade on a train in what feels like a James Bond-esque thriller at times. All three stories are satisfying alone, but together they build to give new information about Others and humans, Light and Dark. And let us not forget the Inquisition who has a larger role than ever in these stories.
One of the things I enjoy most about these stories is that they show insight into Russian culture and attitudes. For example, Anton never buys anyone a Coca Cola, although he knows they would enjoy it. He buys the Russian cola because he feels there has been enough American takeover of culture. Kids and teenagers routinely go to stay at Young Pioneers camps in the country side which sound something akin to summer camp except that these were begun under the communist regime. Condos that didn’t have enough units sold were abandoned by the builders, leaving tenants to make regular payments despite not having a shower or other necessary amenities. Lukyanenko makes a definite statement about communism in this book thanks to analyzing the Others’ roles in government.
Most of all, of course, what I enjoy is the compelling story telling which keep me turning the pages until much too late at night. Highly recommended.