On the front cover of Lukyanenko’s Nightwatch, the Telegraph describes it as the “J.K.Rowling of Russian literature”. The writing matches the crude comparison. I’ve seen the film, and it is nothing like the book.
On the one hand, the book was published in 1998. It talks of mobile phones as almost space-age gadgets, which seems inconceivable in today’s modern age. The main fixture is magic, not vampires. The book rather simplistically charts a struggle between good and evil, with the ‘light’ magicians on one side and the ‘dark’ magicians on the other, whilst trying to note that the world will ‘always balance out’ the good and evil. The vampires are always on the dark side, and need permits in order to feed on humans. They are involved in society, but their true nature is hidden. But this is still a step forward from the vampires of Anne Rice who could only come out at night.
The film, on the other hand, is cool, sophisticated, and doesn’t seem riddled with clunky storytelling. The book itself is separated into three different stories, each of which follow the same protagonist. It does spell out what ‘the twilight’ is, whereas the film could get confusing at points.
What is interesting to think about is why the vampire aspect of the series was played up far more in film than in the book. One would suspect because of the aesthetic appeal of the vampire. Blood and fang-penetration is far more visually appealing than wands…