Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Honourable Mentions – The Day Watch

The Day Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko (translated into English by Andrew Bromfield) is the sequel to The Night Watch. Like the first book it concerns the Others, witches, werewolves, magicians and vampires (to name but a few) who live a shadowy life beyond the eyes of the mortal world and who are split into Light and Dark (plus a third group, the Inquisition, who maintain the purity of the Treaty between the two sides).

Like he first book this is split into three stories which are interlinked and are also interlinked with the events of the first volume. The book concerns itself with the great machinations of the two sides and, whilst there is the occasional vampire character, there is not enough vampiric action to warrant a review here – concentrating very much on the magicians and witches.

We do, however, get a few snippets of vampiric lore. Vampires are invariably of the Dark Side and are treated as cannon fodder by the Day Watch (the police force belonging to the Dark). This is because their powers are low level, but we do discover that there are higher vampires, indeed a member of the Inquisition we meet is one, these are very different and powerful creatures. However we do not glean anything about their powers here.

We also discover a little about ‘the Call’, the mystical summoning that vampires use to lure victims: “I suddenly understood very clearly why vampires’ victims smile as they present their necks to be bitten. When the Call sounds, they’re happy. This is the sweet moment they have been waiting for all their lives, and compared with this, life is as empty and as grey as the world of the Twilight.”

When we see a victim of a vampiress it is described that the amount of blood drawn was small but, during the drinking, the life was completely drained. That vampiress is brought before the Tribunal of the Inquisition (as she had no licence to hunt) and when she is condemned to dematerialisation- in other words her stolen life force irrevocably withdrawn from her – she slumps dead to the floor. We are told that an older vampire would have crumbled to dust.

The book is an excellent read, as was the first, and to a degree I believe I enjoyed it more. Lukyanenko occasionally shows us the thoughts of a Dark Other and then a light Other and really draws an image where they actually believe the same thing, about life or the other side, and it is the fundamental base philosophy that stops them seeing eye to eye, even though they virtually agree.

Well worth seeking out, though only as part of the series.

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