Monday, June 10, 2013

The sun goes down the stars come out...

So, I discussed book 1 of Sergei Lukyanenko's Watch trilogy a while back.

Today, as I waited to clock in, I finished Day Watch, which is obviously Book 2.Obviously.

Much like the first one, the book is really 3 novellas wrapped around the machinations of the Night Watch and the Day Watch, groupings of "Others" who either fight for the light or for the dark. This volume is focused on the Day Watch, the Dark Others like vampires and witches, and their perspective on things.

For the most part, the Dark ones are very survival of the fittest. Make your own destiny. Serve no one.

They're kind of like the Shadows to the Light ones' Vorlons. Because, really, the Light ones aren't much better. (Seriously, by the end of the book, when all is revealed, I was annoyed with both Watches.)

The first story deals with the witch Alisa, who spent most of the last book screwing with the protagonist Anton. In this, Alisa manages to drain her powers during a group working to save a fellow witch from the Night Watch. As such, Zabulon, head of the Moscow Day Watch, sends her for some R&R at a summer camp. (I am not all that familiar with all things Russian, but it sounds like the camp started off as a camp for young Communists.) She falls in love with Igor, they rut like rabbits, then as she regains her powers, she realizes he's also feeding off the campers because he's a Light one in similar straits to her.

The second part deals with an Ukrainian Day Watch member coming to Moscow with no real memory of who he is, and what he's doing in Moscow. His story revolves around a stolen artifact that was being held by the very neutral Inquisition (the Inquisition is made up of both Dark and Light ones. Their job is to enforce the treaty and keep the balance.) Said artifact, Fafnir's Talon, is a pretty powerful Dark artifact that Vitaly, the Ukrainian, winds up in custody of after it lands in Moscow. His actions end up having some serious repercussions for the Night Watch.

In the third story, we focus in on the Estonian, Edgar, as he is sent to Prague for the Inquisition trial of both the thieves of the Talon in the second part and of Igor for his crimes in the first part. Anton (protagonist from the first book) is also in Prague for the same trial. The two wind up finding common cause over Czech beers (in the process making fun of American Budweiser and American airmen on leave from Kosovo. This book is set in 1999, and the third part takes place near Christmas.)  As the trial approaches, we finally figure out what Gesar (head of the Night Watch) and Zabulon have been plotting over the past two books.

Which annoyed me, since the author more or less builds up how tricky the two magicians are, then has the characters figure out it was exactly what they were discussing, rather than any number  of twists I was coming up with reading the discussions.

And really, the plot revealed, which is caught in Millennial fever, kind of annoyed me. Then again, the final resolution is from a framework well outside of where I am. I won't go into detail here, merely state that Jerry Jenkins and Tim LaHay would be proud. Sort of.

I'm also guessing that since I am not a Muskovite, nor am I part of Russian culture, there is probably quite a bit of allegory to post USSR life that I'm missing in the narrative. Much like Y Tu Mama Tambien, where I missed several commentary notes on Mwxican culture because I'm not part of it.

It's still a fun read. I'll eventually have to get the final book when my TBR pile shrinks a bit.