Sergei Lukyanenko – The Day Watch

After the first book of the Watch Cycle, a Russian Urban Fantasy series written by Sergei Lukyanenko, I continue with the second volume. This is aptly named The Day Watch (1999). As the first book focused on the so-called good guys, the focus now lies on the bad guys. The police force of which the title has its name and which tries to the good guys trespassing the law governing the magical beings of Lukyanenko’s universe. This switch from the point of view obviously has the risk of having the reader restart, but as we have already been introduced to a few of their members in The Night Watch we start on familiar ground. As with that first book, Lukyanenko still doesn’t stick to a single point of view, which allows him allow the characters from the other side some time in the spotlight, with the difference that it’s not with the first person narrative.

Just with these constructs he manages to keep a hold on his refreshing take on Urban Fantasy like he did in the first book. Still there are differences. As with the first book the second book is divided into three stories. While the first two stories of the first book were action-packed pageturners, the second book starts with a similar slow pace as the third story of the first book. Maybe even slower. It’s a much more straightforward story which lacks the twists which we are used to. The second story however returns to the style of the action-packed stories and is really the peak of the second book. From this comment you can already guess that the third story is weaker. Like the third story of the first book this is again a completion story and not standing on its own. It is rather similar in setup, actually, but again simpler. The pace is slower with far more dialogue. The ending itself is only partially satisfying and still seems to leave some flaws.

Overall this second book is weaker than the first one, but it still has the flavour and constructs of the first book that make it rise above average Urban Fantasy. The peak is in the second story. The ending of the finalizing story doesn’t deliver as well. Lukyanenko also doesn’t manage to create as much character development as in the first book as each story switches points of view. There is some, but it is hardly more than average Urban Fantasy. However, we do get a refreshing take on Lukyanenko’s universe as most points of view are from the so-called dark side, allowing him to show that good and bad are not that easily distinguishable.

While the first book managed to really create a different kind of Urban Fantasy novel, Lukyanenko doesn’t manage to keep up to that level or rise even higher. Still, there is plenty around to give this book also a recommendation. This universe is worth to keep reading about.

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