It took us a long time to see Ночной дозор (Night Watch). We finally did a month or so ago and we loved it. I got Beca a copy of the new English translation of the novel for Christmas…and promptly started reading it myself.
It's fantastic! There are a few burps in the translation, but those are easily forgiven and didn't keep me from enjoying the book. The book has much more of a police procedural feel to it than the movie did. In fact, the book feels like it would lend itself really well to an expensive television series: Law and Order: Special Magic Unit or CSI: Moscow. Because of this, there is lots of great detail about the organization and operation of the Night Watch (and the Day Watch).
I also was delighted when I realized that I had covered the entire story arc covered in the movie by the book's half-way mark. That meant another few hundred pages of new stuff!
Some other nice bits from the book:
- No mention of God or Satan, just Light and Dark. It's all about free will and humans' personal choices.
- Anton is a programmer with a desk job who gets thrown into "field work."
- More backstory on Anton's "owl" partner.
- Lots of great detail about Anton's fellow Night Watch agents.
- More explaination of the Twilight.
I must admit that reading Night Watch is making me miss the large contingent of Russian co-workers I had in San Francisco. It's also making me want to visit Moscow.
So, if you're looking to expand on your enjoyment of the movie, or if you found it interesting but superficial, the book should satisfy you. Or, if you're looking for something in a Russian, Buffy meets Harry Potter meets Barney Miller kind of novel.
Actually, there's a mostly successful "magic meets espionage" book called Operation Chaos by Poul Anderson that's about fighting WWII with magic. It's a bit dated, but there's some good stuff in there.
OK, I still have a few hundred pages of Night Watch to finish…and then off to Amazon UK to get Day Watch!