cover image Day Watch

Day Watch

Sergei Lukyanenko, , trans. from the Russian by Andrew Bromfield. . Miramax, $13.95 (453pp) ISBN 978-1-4013-6020-7

The morally ambiguous second volume in Lukyanenko's trilogy (after 2006's Night Watch , a major literary and cinematic success in Russia) portrays the epic supernatural struggle between good and evil from the point-of-view of the witch Alisa Donnikova. Lukyanenko imagines a parallel reality, where human history has been shaped by a centuries-old conflict between the Dark Ones and the Light Ones, magical beings whose existence is kept carefully hidden from humanity. After Alisa, a Dark One, loses her powers in a minor confrontation with some Light Ones, she heads to the Crimea to recuperate at a girls' camp, where she feeds on children's nightmares. There she falls in love with Igor, who turns out to be a Light magician. The plot centers on the ramifications of their romance and the theft of Fafnir's Talon, a powerful artifact whose provenance is linked to the legendary Ring of the Nibelungs. Though the artifact conceit is less well developed than that of the truth-telling instrument in Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials series, the fast-paced story augurs well for the last installment. (Mar.)