Sergei Lukyanenko – The Last Watch

The Last Watch (2006) is supposedly a sequel to the Watch Cycle, an Urban Fantasy series written by Sergei Lukyanenko which takes place in Russia. As someone who has read this sequel immediately after the named cycle, this is partially true and partially not as the book continues from where we left off in the previous book, though some time has past, but as the main characters don’t age as normal humans do, this thus has little impact.

This sequel is less part of the trilogy because it very much has the smell of making some extra cash from a successful series. I can name several things to prove this statement. Even though the book consists of three stories as the previous one, this time they do not stand alone. The stories are just a division in parts. This book is one story. A bad choice of Lukyanenko is to leave the Russian setting and go foreign, which basically makes the original atmosphere disappear. Besides that Lukyanenko also picks up some known legends instead of creating his own. The book also lacks the rivalry and intrigues between the large powers. There is a bigger enemy and so all that special chemistry is gone. There is no need to look for character development, as it isn’t there. Events and situation remain rather superficial. The story is pretty straightforward and the plot has plenty of flaws and doesn’t convince.  Even with all this, Lukyanenko now and then manages to put in some original stuff and traces of what made the early books stand out.

Even as the plot is weak, the story is not boring. There are sufficient entertaining scenes to keep you reading, while you still want to find out the truth to the mystery. As those truths are slowly revealed it makes you reach the end, but the truths feel incomplete and lack conviction.

Stating all these comments, I’m making this quite a negative review. For a part I think it is justified as the quality of the stories have only gone downhill after the great first book. While that one had some promise to become a classic of Urban Fantasy, the last book won’t stand out among average mainstream Urban Fantasy. As I don’t read that much Urban Fantasy it is hard for me to give a decent comparison. I will just end with that I do not recommend this book unless you are a big Lukyanenko/Watch Cycle fan. As I inclined to say in the beginning: one should stop after the official Watch Trilogy. Even as The Last Watch is a continuation/sequel, it does not add something worthwhile, as well giving convincing answers to some of the remaining mysteries.

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